Theresa May debates with Cabinet Office

There have been 132 exchanges between Theresa May and Cabinet Office

Mon 22nd February 2021 Covid-19: Road Map 3 interactions (150 words)
Wed 3rd February 2021 Oral Answers to Questions 3 interactions (126 words)
Wed 30th December 2020 European Union (Future Relationship) Bill 3 interactions (715 words)
Wed 4th November 2020 Public Health 3 interactions (699 words)
Mon 19th October 2020 EU Exit: Negotiations and the Joint Committee 3 interactions (126 words)
Tue 30th June 2020 Civil Service Appointments 3 interactions (89 words)
Wed 20th May 2020 Northern Ireland Protocol: UK Approach 3 interactions (47 words)
Wed 11th March 2020 Budget Resolutions 11 interactions (1,723 words)
Thu 19th December 2019 Debate on the Address 9 interactions (2,026 words)
Wed 30th October 2019 Grenfell Tower Inquiry 9 interactions (2,450 words)
Wed 24th July 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 85 interactions (4,797 words)
Wed 10th July 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 81 interactions (3,883 words)
Wed 3rd July 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 164 interactions (9,860 words)
Wed 26th June 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 79 interactions (3,525 words)
Mon 24th June 2019 European Council 87 interactions (4,462 words)
Wed 19th June 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 79 interactions (4,118 words)
Wed 12th June 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 74 interactions (3,915 words)
Wed 22nd May 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 197 interactions (12,062 words)
Wed 15th May 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 72 interactions (3,244 words)
Thu 11th April 2019 European Council 182 interactions (8,785 words)
Wed 10th April 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 64 interactions (3,209 words)
Wed 3rd April 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 95 interactions (4,592 words)
Wed 27th March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 69 interactions (3,577 words)
Mon 25th March 2019 European Council 197 interactions (8,640 words)
Wed 20th March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 80 interactions (3,949 words)
Wed 13th March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 66 interactions (3,088 words)
Tue 12th March 2019 European Union (Withdrawal) Act 106 interactions (6,811 words)
Wed 6th March 2019 Comptroller and Auditor General 4 interactions (317 words)
Tue 26th February 2019 Leaving the European Union 183 interactions (9,915 words)
Wed 20th February 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 68 interactions (3,486 words)
Wed 13th February 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 73 interactions (3,674 words)
Tue 12th February 2019 Leaving the EU 214 interactions (10,266 words)
Wed 30th January 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 82 interactions (4,155 words)
Tue 29th January 2019 European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 106 interactions (6,040 words)
Mon 21st January 2019 Leaving the EU 233 interactions (11,144 words)
Wed 16th January 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 68 interactions (3,607 words)
Wed 16th January 2019 No Confidence in Her Majesty’s Government 97 interactions (4,768 words)
Mon 14th January 2019 Leaving the EU 165 interactions (8,566 words)
Wed 9th January 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 76 interactions (3,691 words)
Wed 19th December 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 81 interactions (3,301 words)
Mon 17th December 2018 European Council 259 interactions (9,544 words)
Wed 12th December 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 80 interactions (3,025 words)
Mon 10th December 2018 Exiting the European Union 299 interactions (11,103 words)
Wed 5th December 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 82 interactions (3,863 words)
Tue 4th December 2018 European Union (Withdrawal) Act 98 interactions (7,291 words)
Mon 3rd December 2018 G20 Summit 87 interactions (4,782 words)
Wed 28th November 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 71 interactions (3,913 words)
Mon 26th November 2018 Leaving the EU 260 interactions (12,027 words)
Thu 22nd November 2018 Progress on EU Negotiations 238 interactions (11,623 words)
Wed 21st November 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 68 interactions (3,856 words)
Thu 15th November 2018 EU Exit Negotiations 285 interactions (13,618 words)
Wed 14th November 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 81 interactions (3,503 words)
Wed 14th November 2018 70th Birthday of the Prince of Wales 2 interactions (1,011 words)
Wed 31st October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 81 interactions (3,786 words)
Mon 22nd October 2018 October EU Council 207 interactions (8,778 words)
Wed 17th October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 77 interactions (3,099 words)
Mon 15th October 2018 EU Exit Negotiations 190 interactions (7,441 words)
Wed 10th October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 71 interactions (4,131 words)
Wed 12th September 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 69 interactions (3,195 words)
Wed 5th September 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 155 interactions (10,728 words)
Mon 16th July 2018 NATO Summit 101 interactions (5,044 words)
Mon 9th July 2018 Leaving the EU 207 interactions (9,300 words)
Wed 4th July 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 76 interactions (3,781 words)
Mon 2nd July 2018 June European Council 101 interactions (5,682 words)
Wed 27th June 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 83 interactions (3,423 words)
Mon 11th June 2018 G7 98 interactions (5,685 words)
Wed 6th June 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 80 interactions (3,453 words)
Wed 23rd May 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 70 interactions (3,336 words)
Wed 16th May 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 79 interactions (3,851 words)
Mon 14th May 2018 Tributes: Baroness Jowell 3 interactions (720 words)
Wed 9th May 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 70 interactions (3,112 words)
Wed 25th April 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 74 interactions (4,027 words)
Wed 18th April 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 77 interactions (3,525 words)
Tue 17th April 2018 Military Action Overseas: Parliamentary Approval 60 interactions (3,365 words)
Mon 16th April 2018 Syria 300 interactions (13,910 words)
Mon 16th April 2018 Syria 5 interactions (1,617 words)
Wed 28th March 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 78 interactions (3,964 words)
Mon 26th March 2018 European Council 136 interactions (6,541 words)
Mon 26th March 2018 National Security and Russia 32 interactions (3,514 words)
Wed 14th March 2018 Salisbury Incident 180 interactions (7,306 words)
Mon 12th March 2018 Salisbury Incident 115 interactions (5,382 words)
Wed 7th March 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 78 interactions (4,137 words)
Mon 5th March 2018 UK/EU Future Economic Partnership 180 interactions (8,262 words)
Wed 28th February 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 80 interactions (4,152 words)
Wed 21st February 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 80 interactions (3,395 words)
Wed 7th February 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 73 interactions (3,567 words)
Wed 17th January 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 75 interactions (3,937 words)
Wed 10th January 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 75 interactions (3,329 words)
Wed 20th December 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 96 interactions (3,974 words)
Mon 18th December 2017 European Council 169 interactions (7,283 words)
Wed 13th December 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 69 interactions (4,199 words)
Mon 11th December 2017 Brexit Negotiations 170 interactions (8,864 words)
Wed 6th December 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 76 interactions (3,615 words)
Wed 22nd November 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 60 interactions (3,019 words)
Wed 1st November 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 67 interactions (4,129 words)
Wed 25th October 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 79 interactions (3,724 words)
Mon 23rd October 2017 European Council 197 interactions (8,773 words)
Wed 18th October 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 85 interactions (3,624 words)
Wed 11th October 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 71 interactions (3,638 words)
Mon 9th October 2017 UK Plans for Leaving the EU 173 interactions (8,631 words)
Wed 6th September 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 69 interactions (3,614 words)
Wed 19th July 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 76 interactions (3,641 words)
Mon 10th July 2017 G20 109 interactions (5,950 words)
Wed 5th July 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 69 interactions (3,774 words)
Mon 26th June 2017 European Council 155 interactions (8,098 words)
Thu 22nd June 2017 Grenfell Tower 148 interactions (7,909 words)
Wed 21st June 2017 Debate on the Address 69 interactions (5,417 words)
Tue 13th June 2017 Election of Speaker 5 interactions (952 words)
Wed 26th April 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 83 interactions (4,394 words)
Wed 19th April 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 64 interactions (3,251 words)
Wed 19th April 2017 Early Parliamentary General Election 37 interactions (1,878 words)
Wed 29th March 2017 Article 50 257 interactions (13,139 words)
Thu 23rd March 2017 London Attack 111 interactions (5,898 words)
Wed 22nd March 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 65 interactions (3,127 words)
Tue 14th March 2017 European Council 150 interactions (7,186 words)
Wed 1st March 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 65 interactions (3,463 words)
Wed 8th February 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 79 interactions (3,423 words)
Mon 6th February 2017 Informal European Council 126 interactions (6,007 words)
Wed 1st February 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 73 interactions (3,123 words)
Wed 25th January 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 79 interactions (3,565 words)
Wed 18th January 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 74 interactions (3,498 words)
Mon 19th December 2016 European Council 2016 137 interactions (7,510 words)
Wed 14th December 2016 Oral Answers to Questions 71 interactions (3,760 words)
Wed 23rd November 2016 Oral Answers to Questions 68 interactions (2,979 words)
Wed 2nd November 2016 Oral Answers to Questions 66 interactions (3,297 words)
Mon 24th October 2016 European Council 148 interactions (8,265 words)
Wed 12th October 2016 Oral Answers to Questions 66 interactions (3,492 words)
Thu 15th September 2016 Committee on Standards in Public Life: Report (Written Statements) 3 interactions (341 words)
Wed 14th September 2016 Prime Minister 61 interactions (3,349 words)
Wed 7th September 2016 Oral Answers to Questions 187 interactions (11,435 words)
Mon 18th July 2016 UK's Nuclear Deterrent 49 interactions (4,193 words)
Mon 7th June 2010 Constitution and Home Affairs 13 interactions (1,918 words)

Covid-19: Road Map

Theresa May Excerpts
Monday 22nd February 2021

(2 days, 23 hours ago)

Commons Chamber

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

I am very grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for his overall support for the road map. Indeed, I also welcome his support for the vaccine roll-out. I am sure that many people will be glad to hear what he says. I cannot help but remind you, Mr Speaker, that he did vote to stay in the European Medicines Agency, which would have made a vaccine roll-out of this speed impossible.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman is right to say that it is a priority to get schools back safely. I am delighted that he agrees with that. I can certainly say that that plan for all schools to go back on 8 March is supported by the chief medical officer and the chief scientific adviser. It would be a good thing if he could perhaps persuade some of his friends in the unions to say so as well and to say that schools are safe

The right hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned the importance of self-isolation. We will continue to support those who are asked to self-isolate and, indeed, increase our package of support for them. As for the support for business and for the self-employed, which he rightly raised, we will continue to put our arms around businesses and livelihoods around the country, as we have done throughout the pandemic, and the Chancellor, who has been extremely creative in this respect, will be setting out the details in the Budget next week, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman would expect. Overall, I think we can safely say that we have had cautious support from the Leader of the Opposition today, but bitter experience has taught me that his support is very far from irreversible. Who knows what he will be saying next week, but I am glad of it today.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs Theresa May (Maidenhead) (Con)
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I refer the House to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. May I welcome my right hon. Friend’s statement today? I particularly welcome the return to school on 8 March, but there is another sector that is important for jobs in my constituency, fundamental to our economy and critical to global Britain—the aviation sector. He says that there will be a taskforce report by 12 April so that people can plan for the summer, but that will not allow people to plan. At every stage, the Government have taken weeks, following these reports, to provide certainty to the industry. The industry needs three months’ preparation from the point of certainty, so I ask him to look again at the timetable for the taskforce report and to bring it forward so that we can open up our international air travel and ensure that Britain is open for business.

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

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend. She is quite rightly a doughty campaigner for the aviation industry and all that it brings to our country. I can tell her that we will continue to support that industry throughout these difficult times, but I believe that setting a deadline of 12 April for the report of the newly formed, reconstituted travel taskforce will give people time to make their plans for the summer. If things go well, and if we can meet these “not before” dates, I believe there is every chance of an aviation recovery later this year.

Oral Answers to Questions

Theresa May Excerpts
Wednesday 3rd February 2021

(3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
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I certainly agree with the hon. Lady that it was most regrettable that the EU should seem to cast doubt on the Good Friday agreement and the principles of the peace process by seeming to call for a border across the island of Ireland. I can tell her that we will work to ensure that there are no such borders—we will respect the peace process—and, indeed, no barriers down the Irish sea, and that the principle of unfettered access across all parts of our United Kingdom is upheld.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs Theresa May (Maidenhead) (Con)
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I join the whole House in paying tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore, who was indeed an inspiration to all of us, a beacon of light at a time of darkness and a true gentleman.

I am sure my right hon. Friend is aware that my ten-minute rule Bill would increase the maximum penalty for death by dangerous driving to life imprisonment. The policy and the Bill have cross-party support. The policy has Government support; the Bill does not. The Government say they will introduce the policy in their sentencing Bill, of which we have as yet seen no sign. So, will the Government now give Government time to my Bill to ensure that this necessary change is put on the statute book as soon as possible?

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

I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend, and she is absolutely right to campaign for punishments that fit the crime; we are therefore bringing forward exactly those changes in our forthcoming sentencing Bill. Our proposals will, I believe, go as far as, if not even further than, those that she wants by raising the maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and they will tighten the law for those who cause serious injury by careless driving.

European Union (Future Relationship) Bill

(2nd reading: House of Commons)
Theresa May Excerpts
Wednesday 30th December 2020

(1 month, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am now introducing a four-minute limit for Back Benchers.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs Theresa May (Maidenhead) (Con)
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I welcome the deal and I will be supporting it today. I welcome the fact that the official Opposition will be supporting this deal, but I did listen with some incredulity to what the Leader of the Opposition said. He said he wanted a better deal. In early 2019, there was the opportunity of a better deal on the table, and he voted against it, so I will take no lectures from the Leader of the Opposition on this deal.

The Prime Minister has said that central to this deal are the tariff-free and quota-free trade arrangements, subject to rules of origin requirements. It would have been unforgivable for the European Union not to have allowed tariff-free and quota-free access, given that it signed up to that in the political declaration signed with my Government in November 2018.

One of the reasons for supporting this deal is the security arrangements that have been put in place, which are very important. Access to passenger name records and Prüm are important, but there is an issue of timeliness of access to those and other databases such as the European criminal records information system. I hope, in operational terms and in practice, we will see little change to the ability to investigate as a result of the good relationships that have been built up.

I think that the EU has made a mistake in not allowing us access to SIS II. I understand that it set as a principle that we could not have that access, but we should aim to try to find some resolution to that in the future, because it is an important database. It helps us in our fight against modern slavery and child abduction, and in identifying criminals across our borders.

One area in which I am disappointed by the deal is services. It is no longer the case that UK service providers will have an automatic right of access to provide services across the EU; they will have to abide by the individual rules of a state. I understand that a lawyer advising on UK law in the Czech Republic will have to be resident, but in Austria will have not to be resident. That is just an example of the difference in the rules.

The key area is financial services. In 2018, at Mansion House, I said that we wanted to work to get a financial services deal in the future treaty arrangement, and that that would be truly groundbreaking. It would have been but, sadly, it has not been achieved. We have a deal in trade that benefits the EU, but not a deal in services that would have benefited the UK. The treaty is clear that future negotiation on these points is possible, and I hope that the Government will go to that negotiation with alacrity and vigour, particularly on financial services.

Of course, a whole structure is set up under the treaty. One thing it does not do is to excise the EU from our lives, because a whole structure of committees is set up, some of which, like the partnership council, will be able to amend the arrangement and make determinations on its operation and interpretation without, as far as I can see, any formal reference to this Parliament.

Sovereignty has underpinned the negotiations since article 50 was triggered. Sovereignty does not mean isolationism; it does not mean that we never accept somebody else’s rules; it does not mean exceptionalism. It is important as we go forward that we recognise that we live in an interconnected world and that if the United Kingdom is going to play the role that I believe it should play in not just upholding but encouraging and promoting the rules-based international order, and in ensuring that we promote these interests and values and strengthen multilateral institutions such as the World Trade Organisation, we must never allow ourselves to think, as I fear that some in this House do, that sovereignty means isolationism.

I say to all Members across the House that today is the time, as I have said before, to put aside personal and party political interests, which sadly too many have followed in the past, to vote in the interests of the whole UK and to support this Bill.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) (SNP)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

It is a pleasure—[Interruption.]

Public Health

Theresa May Excerpts
Wednesday 4th November 2020

(3 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
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I say to Members that we are going to start with a four-minute limit, starting with Theresa May.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs Theresa May (Maidenhead) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

4 Nov 2020, 1:39 p.m.

May I first say that I do not envy my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the Government the decisions that they are having to take and the difficult position they find themselves in? This pandemic has challenged Governments across the world, and Ministers have been under relentless pressure in dealing with this issue. However, just as Ministers are making tough decisions, so is Parliament, and Parliament will make better decisions if it is fully and properly informed.

I want to comment on the circuit breaker idea. I looked at the SAGE paper of 21 September and what was absolutely clear was that this was not a two-to-three-week circuit breaker, full stop, end of story. It would have had to have been repeated, possibly again and again, and I doubt if any economy could have borne the irreparable damage that would have done, with the impact on lives that that would have had, which would have been significant.

Of course the Government introduced the tiered approach. I would echo the comment made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Forest of Dean (Mr Harper) that one of the issues with that approach is that we have not had a proper analysis of its impact. The evidence from Liverpool shows that the number of cases is falling. I raised this in a briefing the other day and was told that that was because fewer students were coming forward to be tested. But when we look at the figures, we see that the number of cases is actually falling across the age ranges. We need a proper assessment of how the tiered approach is working.

There are other examples of figures being used in a way that I think has been unhelpful to Parliament and to the public. Let me take the 4,000 figure. The decision to go for this lockdown appears to have been based—partly, mainly or to some extent—on the prediction that there would otherwise be 4,000 deaths a day. But if we look at the trajectory shown in that graph, we see that we would have reached 1,000 deaths a day by the end of October. The average number of deaths in the last week of October was 259, by my calculation. Each of those deaths is a sadness and our thoughts are with the families, but it is not 1,000 deaths a day, so the prediction was wrong before it was even used. This leads to a problem for the Government, because for many people it looks as though the figures are being chosen to support the policy, rather than the policy being based on the figures. We need these proper analyses; we need to know the details behind these models; and we need to be able to assess the validity of the models.

There is one set of data that has not been available throughout. There is a lack of data on the costs of the decisions being made: costs in non-covid treatment in the NHS, and in non-covid deaths; costs in domestic abuse; costs in mental health, with possibly more suicides; and of course costs to the economy, with jobs lost, livelihoods shattered, businesses failing and whole sectors damaged. What sort of airline industry will we have as we come out of this? What sort of hospitality sector will there be? How many small independent shops will be left? The Government must have made that assessment, so let us see it and make our own judgments.

I want to make one point about public worship, echoing the concerns of others. My concern is that the Government today making it illegal to conduct an act of public worship, for the best of intentions, sets a precedent that could be misused by a Government in future with the worst of intentions, and that has unintended consequences. The covid-secure remembrance service in Worcester cathedral will now be turned into a pre-recorded online service. Surely, the men and women who laid down their lives for our freedom deserve better than that.

The public and Parliament want to support the Government to take the right decisions, and to do that we need to have the right figures, the right data and the proper information.

Patrick Grady Portrait Patrick Grady (Glasgow North) (SNP)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Congratulations on your anniversary, Mr Speaker.

We in the SNP are not unused to the Prime Minister scuttling out before our spokesperson gets to their feet, but the fact that he could not wait four minutes to listen to his predecessor was, I think, extremely unfortunate. Like her, I want to acknowledge the personal tragedies and loss of life caused by the pandemic and extend our condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one this year.

I will be as brief as I can, because none of us wants to deny the 48 Tory Back Benchers lined up on the call list the opportunity to make their views known to their Government. Perhaps even more Members would be taking part if the Government had allowed them to continue to contribute virtually in this Chamber. Asking Members to travel hundreds of miles to Westminster while the public are being asked to stay at home looks increasingly untenable and puts too many staff of the House at risk. Perhaps it suits the Government not to hear from their own Back Benchers with constituencies or households in the high-risk category.

In any event, had the Standing Orders on English votes for English laws not been suspended during the pandemic, this motion would be subject to the double majority procedure, which would have had the effect of negating any votes cast by MPs representing Scottish constituencies. I can confirm that the SNP will not be taking part in any Division arising from the motion, which probably gives the Government some comfort in the Lobbies. That is because the development and implementation of public health policy is devolved across the United Kingdom, and it is right that the relevant legislatures should make decisions for their own areas and not interfere in the decisions of others. However, the Tory Government’s continued delays and obfuscation on the provision of economic support, especially for job retention and furlough, have effectively interfered with the ability of the devolved Administrations to make the decisions that they might have wanted to, so even if we are not voting on the motion before us, we have to use this opportunity to press the Government yet again.

The obfuscation is continuing—even at Prime Minister’s questions and in the Prime Minister’s responses to my hon. Friends who intervened on him. On Monday, to Members across the House from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Prime Minister kept saying that furlough was UK-wide. Then, conveniently, in response to the hon. Member for Moray (Douglas Ross), he said “of course” furlough would be available whenever the devolved Administrations need it. Today at Prime Minister’s questions, he said, “Well we have to wait for the Chancellor to make a statement tomorrow.”

The Prime Minister repeatedly says that the SNP will not take yes for an answer. We will take yes for an answer when it is put in writing to the Scottish Government and it is clear and unambiguous. This Tory Government must urgently engage with the devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and confirm that if any of those Governments move all or part of their territories into lockdown-level restrictions, with the closure of non-essential retail, hospitality and leisure, funding will be available on the current furlough terms for employers to retain staff at 80% of their wages.

The Scottish Government are also still waiting for clarity on Barnett consequentials as a result of increased spending for English local government, and there is still no clarity on whether the unlimited payments for business support in England will be made available on a similar demand-led basis for Scotland. That has to come in writing, on usual-channels terms, from the Chancellor before he gets up and makes his statement in the House tomorrow.

As I said to the Prime Minister in the Chamber on Monday, his furlough scheme is in place across the UK until December this year; the equivalent scheme in Germany is in place until December 2021. That is the kind of certainty that employers and employees alike are crying out for. That is the kind of certainty that businesses need in order to plan for and adapt to a health and economic crisis that will not go away any time soon.

That is why the Government must use this time wisely and well. They must use the period of heavier restrictions to work with the devolved Administrations to improve test and trace across the United Kingdom and to ensure that capacity and support gets to where it is needed in the four health services, and they have to put in place provision to support businesses and the economy in a way that will provide certainty for however long the crisis lasts.

I want to acknowledge, as the First Minister of Scotland has repeatedly, that lockdown is tough. There are hard times behind us and hard times ahead, and all of us in the SNP want to say thank you—thank you to our amazing NHS and social care workers and others on the frontline; thank you to the businesses owners who are being forced to close and to their employees, who are making huge sacrifices; and thank you to the excluded, who have had no support whatsoever from this Government and are still holding their heads high.

The rules being introduced in England today and the restrictions in place elsewhere in the UK are difficult, but they are necessary. They help us to protect ourselves, they undoubtedly help us to protect our loved ones and those around us, and they help wider communities. They definitely help to protect our NHS and, ultimately, they help to save lives. We thank everyone making sacrifices to follow these restrictions. Together, we will get through this.

EU Exit: Negotiations and the Joint Committee

Theresa May Excerpts
Monday 19th October 2020

(4 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Michael Gove Portrait Michael Gove
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I was merely pointing out, Mr Speaker, that we had an oven-ready deal, and from Labour we had an indigestible dog’s breakfast and a Leader of the Opposition who will not eat his words.

The hon. Lady asked about the various deadlines. Those are deadlines that the UK Government have set but that the EU has not met. In any negotiation, both sides have to honour their commitments. As I pointed out in my statement—and she did not, of course, acknowledge this—we were available to talk every day in the weeks preceding the European Council, and the European Union was not. But our firmness on this proposition is now bearing fruit. As we were exchanging thoughts across the Dispatch Box earlier, my colleague David Frost was in conversation with Michel Barnier. I now believe it is the case that Michel Barnier has agreed both to the intensification of talks and to working on legal texts—a reflection of the strength and resolution that our Prime Minister showed, in stark contrast with the approach that the Opposition have often enjoined us to take, of simply accepting what the EU wants at every stage.

The hon. Lady asked about preparation. It is absolutely right to say that we should talk to the automotive sector. That is why, as I pointed out in my statement, the Prime Minister has a business roundtable tomorrow with business representative organisations. She also asked about inland sites. I can confirm that we will have two inland sites at Ashford—Sevington and Waterbook—and one at Ebbsfleet, one at Thames Gateway, one at North Weald, one at Birmingham, one at Warrington, one at Holyhead, one in south Wales and another at White Cliffs in Dover. All those sites will bring extra jobs and investment to the UK as we forge a confident path ahead.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs Theresa May (Maidenhead) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

I thank my right hon. Friend for his statement. The Government appear resigned to the prospect of no deal, yet one area in which they should not be resigned to the prospect of no deal is security. I note that my right hon. Friend made no mention of security in his statement this afternoon, and the Prime Minister made no reference to security in his letter to parliamentarians on 16 October. Will my right hon. Friend confirm that, if the UK walks away with no deal, then our police and other law enforcement agencies will no longer have the necessary access to databases such as PNR—passenger name records—to be able to continue to identify and catch criminals and potential terrorists in order to keep us safe?

Michael Gove Portrait Michael Gove
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

My right hon. Friend makes a very important point about security. I would say three things. The first thing to say is that significant progress has been made in respect of security co-operation, but it is the case that the EU is insisting that, before we have access to systems such as the Schengen information system II, that we have to accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. We cannot accept that.

The second thing I would say is that there are many areas in which we can co-operate more effectively to safeguard our borders outside the European Union than we ever could inside. Through a variety of methods and arrangements open to us, open to Border Force and open to our security and intelligence services, we can intensify the security that we give to the British people. The third thing I would say to my right hon. Friend is that I agree with her. When it comes to everything—security and other matters—no deal is better than a bad deal.

Civil Service Appointments

Theresa May Excerpts
Tuesday 30th June 2020

(7 months, 4 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Let’s hear from a former Prime Minister: Theresa May.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs Theresa May (Maidenhead) (Con)
- Hansard - -

30 Jun 2020, midnight

Thank you, Mr Speaker. May I first pay tribute to Sir Mark Sedwill and thank him for his extraordinary public service over many years? I served on the National Security Council for nine years—six years as Home Secretary and three as Prime Minister. During that time, I listened to the expert independent advice from National Security Advisers.

On Saturday, my right hon. Friend said:

“We must be able to promote those with proven expertise”.

Why, then, is the new National Security Adviser a political appointee, with no proven expertise in national security?

Michael Gove Portrait Michael Gove
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Like my right hon. Friend, I, too, want to pay tribute again to Sir Mark. Having served in Cabinet when she was Prime Minister and Sir Mark was Cabinet Secretary, I appreciate just how much we all owe to him for his distinguished public service. I should also say that we have had previous National Security Advisers, all of them excellent, not all of whom were necessarily people who were steeped in the security world; some of them were distinguished diplomats in their own right. David Frost is a distinguished diplomat in his own right and it is entirely appropriate that the Prime Minister of the day should choose an adviser appropriate to the needs of the hour.

Northern Ireland Protocol: UK Approach

Theresa May Excerpts
Wednesday 20th May 2020

(9 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Michael Gove Portrait Michael Gove
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20 May 2020, 1:32 p.m.

I am grateful for the welcome that the hon. Lady gives to the approach that we are taking, and grateful also for her commitment and her party’s commitment to supporting the implementation of the protocol in a way that safeguards the gains of the Good Friday agreement.

The hon. Lady says that as a result of the implementation of the protocol there will inevitably be checks on not just animals but agri-food products, but, as she is aware, those checks already exist for live animals. Checks are already carried out in the port of Larne and the port of Belfast. We will of course exercise any new checks on agri-food products in a proportionate way, but in doing so we imagine that the proportion of goods that will need to be checked will be very minimal. Of course, because of the very, very high standards that we will maintain in this country on SPS—sanitary and phytosanitary—matters, people can have absolute confidence that the quality of goods that are being placed on the Northern Ireland market is of the highest level.

The hon. Lady asked about the cost of the checks. We will be working with HMRC in order to ensure that the checks are as light-touch as possible and integrated, for example, into the operation of VAT returns and other processes with which businesses are already familiar. We are confident that Northern Ireland’s businesses and HMRC can work collaboratively in the course of the remaining seven months before the transition period ends in order to have a system that is operational, light-touch, effective and unobtrusive.

The hon. Lady makes a point about tariffs. Of course, tariffs would apply only in the case of there being a zero-tariff, zero-quota free trade agreement with the European Union. The European Union is committed in the political declaration to securing such a zero-tariff, zero-quota arrangement, in which case the provisions in the protocol for the remittance of tariffs would not be required. I refer her to paragraph 27 of the Command Paper, which makes it clear that if it were the case that there were no agreement and that tariffs did have to be levied, the Government would

“make full use of the provisions in the Protocol giving us the powers to waive and/or reimburse tariffs on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, even where they are classified as ‘at risk’ of entering the EU market.”

So there would be no additional costs for businesses.

The approach that we have taken, as the hon. Lady knows, is designed to ensure the maximum level of security for the businesses of Northern Ireland. If the protocol is implemented in line with our approach, that means that they will have unfettered access to the rest of the UK’s internal market and also free access to the EU’s single market. That is a great prize and one that I believe all businesses in Northern Ireland would want us to help them to grasp.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs Theresa May (Maidenhead) (Con) [V]
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20 May 2020, 12:01 a.m.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his statement. Will he confirm that, as from 1 January 2021, Northern Ireland —that is, a part of the United Kingdom—will be required to abide by EU regulations on certain goods until at least 2024 and potentially indefinitely?

Michael Gove Portrait Michael Gove
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I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend for her question. Let me take this opportunity to pay tribute to her for her work during her time as Prime Minister to ensure that the position of Northern Ireland could be secured within the United Kingdom even as we left the European Union. It is the case that there will be EU regulations and aspects of the acquis that will apply in Northern Ireland until 2024, but of course she draws attention to a very important point. If the workings of the protocol are viewed by the people and parties of Northern Ireland as onerous, too much, intrusive and unacceptable, they have the opportunity to vote them down in 2024. That is why it is so important that we design an approach that can continue to command consent.

Budget Resolutions

Theresa May Excerpts
Wednesday 11th March 2020

(11 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Angela Eagle Portrait Ms Eagle
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11 Mar 2020, 3:11 p.m.

I certainly hope the banks will recognise the Government’s generosity to them on lending and buffers and will pass that on to the hon. Gentleman’s constituents, as well as mine.

Climate change and the commitment to reach net zero carbon by 2050 also pose a major challenge, and the effect of being unprepared has been tragically evident in the flooding experienced this winter. This Budget offered an opportunity to address the need to introduce transformative policies to get us on the path to net zero before it is too late, but I do not see an awful lot of detail. I welcome the increase in expenditure on flood defences, which would have been even better had it not been preceded by major cuts in expenditure on flood defences. I look forward to the Treasury’s net zero review, which needs to outline the path forward to net zero, but I am puzzled about agriculture being excluded from the announcement on red diesel. Agriculture is the major sector that uses red diesel, so that needs more detailed scrutiny.

The UK economy remains weak in the face of these formidable challenges. The Office for National Statistics has just revealed that the UK economy did not grow at all in the last quarter of 2019, and annual growth of 1.4% last year is one of the weakest on record. The OBR’s forecast for this year was put together before the larger effects of coronavirus were taken into account. Its forecast for expenditure, excluding those effects, is an anaemic 1.1%.

The OECD recently said it expects coronavirus to cut global growth in half. If that is true, it puts us down to about 0.6% for the year, which is one of the worst performances we could expect to see. Monday showed that, even now, the markets are pricing in a recession, so there are vulnerabilities in growth.

There are also vulnerabilities in the UK labour market, in which 3.7 million people are in insecure jobs and have not seen real wages rise in 12 years. Inequality is rising, and one in five workers are earning less than the real living wage. Child poverty is soaring and is set to reach 5 million by 2024 due to the ongoing cuts to benefits and family support, of which there was no mention whatsoever in the entirety of the Chancellor’s speech.

Nearly 1 million workers are on zero-hours contracts, and 2 million are not earning enough to qualify for statutory sick pay. Those in the gig economy and the self-employed are similarly vulnerable to a loss of income so, as far as they go, I welcome the Chancellor’s announcements on statutory sick pay and support for those who self-isolate, but I am extremely sceptical about his announcement that those who work on zero-hours contracts will apparently be expected to apply for employment and support allowance in order to be compensated for doing the right thing. That is likely to be highly inadequate, and we need to return to that issue. I suspect the answer will be statutory sick pay for all from day one.

The lack of rights at work is a barrier in the fight against coronavirus, and it prevents a desperately needed transformation in productivity and investment in skills. The fight against in-work poverty barely features in this Government’s thinking. Recent analysis by the Resolution Foundation has shown that the poorest fifth of the population have experienced a 7% fall in their disposable household income in the past two years, as a direct result of choices this Government have made, which were not reversed by the Chancellor. A decade of swingeing cuts has decimated public services. Public sector workers have had to do more with less, and be rewarded by suffering a real-terms fall in pay and conditions. The NHS has 17,000 fewer beds. There are 43,000 nursing vacancies and 10,000 doctor vacancies in the NHS that we are expecting to deal with the coronavirus crisis. There is a £6.3 billion shortfall in the resources needed for social care. We can welcome the first new investment in a decade, but we have to be clear that it barely begins to restore what has been taken away.

We also have to remember that infrastructure spending, although welcome, does not deal with the current expenditure squeeze, which is ongoing. My local authority, Wirral Council, has £635 less per household to spend than it did in 2010. Merseyside police has seen £136 million of cuts since 2010, so the £28 million extra pledged in the spending review is welcome, but £5 million of it has to come from council tax increases and it will not restore what has been lost. We see the same in area after area: the Government trying to take credit, as though they were a new Government entirely, and distancing themselves from the Governments of the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May) and her predecessor, who did all this cutting in the first place.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Today’s overspun announcements of a £600 billion investment programme are welcomed in the self-same Tory tabloids that denounced Labour’s manifesto plans to invest £500 billion as “ruinous Marxist nonsense.” Apparently, £100 billion extra is acceptable if it is the Tories doing it. Let’s face it: we have heard it all before. Let us wait to see what they deliver before we pat them on the back. We must never forget that the Government would not have to allocate £2.5 billion to fix 50 million potholes had they not neglected our roads system with their ruinous austerity policies in the first place.

The Conservative manifesto promised no increases to income tax, which was not mentioned today, national insurance or VAT, and the Chancellor’s fiscal rules, which he is apparently reviewing, give him only minimum headroom for any non-investment spending. His choice, therefore, is to find tax increases elsewhere or increase borrowing, which proves that the extreme cuts that have been inflicted on our society were not necessary in the first place and that the misery they have unleashed has been needlessly cruel. Starting to put right some of the damage they have done is welcome, but we will not forget the suffering and hardship they have caused, especially to the poorest in society. We will not forget the soaring levels of child poverty the Government have chosen to inflict, and the waste of potential and life opportunities that this indifference implies. We will not forget the attacks on the most vulnerable and the Government’s neglect of social care. We will continue to hold them to account for it at this and future Budgets.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs Theresa May (Maidenhead) (Con)
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11 Mar 2020, 1:46 p.m.

There is no doubt that, as my right hon. Friend the Chancellor and other speakers have acknowledged, this Budget has had to be delivered against the very difficult background of the coronavirus. We had already seen a slowing in world growth and expectations of that in the coming months, and we have now also seen the negative impacts for economies around the world of the coronavirus. These are not theoretical impacts; we have already seen, through things such as what happened to Flybe, that this is a real, day-to-day issue that has an effect on people’s lives and livelihoods.

Against that background, it must have been difficult to have crafted a Budget, and made the predictions for future Government spending and revenue, let alone dealt with the challenges of preparing and ensuring that we had the best possible background for a post-Brexit Britain, in order to establish that global Britain that we all want to see. Having said that, the Chancellor was absolutely right to deal with coronavirus, to set aside the sums of money as he has suggested and, in particular, to recognise the impact on not only individuals but on businesses and on particular sectors of the business community, such as the hospitality sector.

Heather Wheeler Portrait Mrs Heather Wheeler (South Derbyshire) (Con)
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11 Mar 2020, 3:14 p.m.

I wonder whether, like me, my right hon. Friend would like to congratulate the Chancellor, particularly on highlighting the hospitality sector—our fantastic pubs, B&Bs and leisure areas—where all this money will help the continuity of business, particularly in our semi-rural areas. South Derbyshire will benefit enormously from that.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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11 Mar 2020, 1:46 p.m.

I thank my hon. Friend for her intervention. She is right to refer to the hospitality sector and the various elements of business within it, and the impact that the positive measures that the Chancellor has introduced will have on South Derbyshire, as they will on my constituency and constituencies across the country.

This was a difficult Budget to deliver, but I commend the Chancellor for his determination to deliver on our manifesto commitments in it. I trust that in the discussions that were held prior to the delivery of the Budget, there was the necessary tension between No. 10 and the Treasury in developing it. Generally speaking, Prime Ministers want to spend money and Chancellors want to manage the public finances prudently—at least Conservative Chancellors want to do that, because that sound management of the public finances has always been one of the unique selling points of the Conservative party. In my time in politics, I have seen, more than once, a Labour Government come in, trash the economy and leave office with more people unemployed than when they came into office and then a Conservative Government having to come in, restore the economy, restore the public finances and save the day. Although spending a lot of money may be popular and may seem the natural thing to do, there is of course that necessity to have a realistic assessment of the longer-term impact of those decisions and of the longer-term consequences. It is also necessary to ensure that we have that restraint and caution that enables us to make the public finances continue to be strong into the future.

In talking about the public finances, I note that of course the only reason we are able to take the measures we are on coronavirus and the measures my hon. Friend the Member for South Derbyshire (Mrs Wheeler) has mentioned is the sound management of the public finances by the Conservative Governments, so that those finances are in a good position at the moment. We have fiscal rules so that we exercise that restraint on the temptation to take reckless decisions on public spending and borrowing. Every Conservative Member stood on a manifesto of certain fiscal rules, and as was mentioned by my right hon. Friend the Member for Central Devon (Mel Stride), the Treasury Committee Chairman, the Chancellor said that this Budget was being delivered within those fiscal rules.

The Chancellor also said that it was a Budget where the predictions and forecasts that have been put forward did not yet fully take account of the impact of coronavirus, and I noted that he said he was going to be reviewing the fiscal framework in which we operated. I merely say, as I have said, that prudent management of the public finances is one of the USPs—unique selling points— of the Conservative party, and it is essential that any Conservative Government maintain that prudent management, because there are two things that we, as Conservatives, know that the Labour party and others never accept. The first is that the Government do not have any money of their own; they are spending other people’s money, and we owe it to them to take only as much as we need and to spend it wisely. The second point is that it is not about the amount of money we spend; it is about how we spend the money available to us.

I would like to welcome some specific issues in the Budget. On climate change, the money put into carbon capture and storage is important. The technology will be important for our future and delivering on climate change, but it has all too often been swept to one side and not been given the attention it deserves.

In the details, I note that there is welcome funding for the prevention of domestic abuse, particularly to enable police and crime commissioners and others to support perpetrator programmes such as Drive, which from all accounts is having some success. There is also the money for domestic abuse courts, which will be an important development in helping to address something that people across the House want to be eradicated. I welcome, too, the specific sums for counter-terrorism and intelligence services.

Underpinning the Budget has been the concept of levelling up—what I describe as “a country that works for everyone”. I want to focus particularly on two aspects of that. First, I welcome the emphasis on science and R&D, which is important for our future. I would say this to the Treasury, though: although I am pleased that the increase in the R&D tax credit will take us further down the road to the 2.4% of GDP target, it needs to consider the definition of research and development spending. There is some evidence that the Treasury’s rules are currently too narrow to enable certain expenditure that could genuinely be described as research and development to be incorporated.

The Budget also puts significant emphasis on infra- structure spending. I welcome the money that will be made available for Bisham junction on the A404; I would like to have seen funding for a third bridge across the Thames as well, but that may be for another time. However, important though infrastructure is, it is not the only thing that delivers a country that works for everyone. What underpins delivering that and levelling up across the country is the industrial strategy. I noted that the Chancellor did not actually mention the words “industrial strategy” in his Budget; he is not the first Chancellor to have found it difficult to use them in a Budget speech, but the industrial strategy sets how we can ensure prosperity across the whole country.

Some would identify infrastructure spend as saying, “We are now spending as much money in this part of the country as we are in another part.” It is not about that; it is about ensuring that the environment is there to deliver the dynamic economy and prosperity that every part of our country deserves. What the industrial strategy does is focus on the other issues that matter—the importance of place, people and ideas. On place, the issue is about working at a local level, with local leaders and others, on delivering the increases in productivity. The city deals and growth deals have been an important element of all that, but that partnership working is very important.

Aaron Bell Portrait Aaron Bell (Newcastle-under-Lyme) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Will my right hon. Friend join me in welcoming the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement about investing £800 million into a model based on the US Advanced Research Projects Agency? That will make a huge difference to research and development.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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I thank my hon. Friend for intervening. That is important—one of the interesting and exciting aspects of where we are going as a Government is the emphasis on science and on recognising that, if we are to have the economy of the future, we have to generate and develop ideas that will deliver prosperity for the future.

On the subject of ideas, I should say that people are very important. The Augar review, published about a year ago, set out very clearly the need to invest in further education, so I welcome the investment in further education in the Budget.

I also want to touch on something referenced by the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Ian Blackford) in his rather lengthy speech; he spoke for longer than the Leader of the Opposition. He mentioned the shared prosperity fund, which is another part of ensuring that our country works for everyone. This is particularly important: the purpose of the shared prosperity fund is to reduce disparities between and within regions. That will not be done if the Government adopt a “devolve and forget” approach to the fund.

We must recognise the importance of the fund in maintaining the health of the UK economy as a whole. Yes, we need to work in partnership with the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government, but our approach needs to be holistic to ensure that the fund is indeed delivering on the need to reduce disparities within and between regions. I was sorry that the leader of the Scottish nationalists failed to welcome the £640 million extra going to the Scottish Government.

Colum Eastwood Portrait Colum Eastwood (Foyle) (SDLP)
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11 Mar 2020, 3:25 p.m.

I thank the right hon. Member for giving way. She spent an awful lot of time working to get the Northern Ireland Executive back up and running. The deal that was crafted by the British Government to do that contained many, many promises and many, many commitments. The Barnett consequential payment of £210 million that has been announced by the Chancellor today will go nowhere near dealing with the commitments contained in that agreement. That needs to be thought about, and we need some clarity from the Chancellor. Does she agree that it is just not enough to say that we will have all these commitments but we have no money to pay for them?

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard - -

Obviously, the hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that commitments were made in that agreement. I am sure the Government will look very closely at how they can deliver on those commitments. The figures that have been announced in the Budget are the Barnett consequentials of the decisions that the Government have taken, but I am sure that he will have an opportunity to raise that matter further. None the less, the Government will be looking closely at how to deliver on those commitments, because they were made in good faith and were about bringing the Northern Ireland Executive together.

Sammy Wilson Portrait Sammy Wilson (East Antrim) (DUP)
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11 Mar 2020, 3:25 p.m.

rose—

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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11 Mar 2020, 3:25 p.m.

I will not give way. If I allow the right hon. Gentleman to intervene, the time will be taken out of my time, so I apologise for not doing so.

I simply want to make this point: it is important that we take a holistic approach to the use of funds from the shared prosperity fund, so that we genuinely deliver that country that works for everyone. To conclude, I simply say that a country that works for everyone is within our grasp, so let us get on with it.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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11 Mar 2020, 3:26 p.m.

It is a pleasure to call Kim Johnson to make her maiden speech.

Debate on the Address

Theresa May Excerpts
Thursday 19th December 2019

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
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I call former Prime Minister Theresa May.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs Theresa May (Maidenhead) (Con)
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19 Dec 2019, 3:59 p.m.

Mr Speaker, may I first take this opportunity to congratulate you on your election as Speaker? I know that, in residing in that Chair, you will uphold the best traditions of the Speaker of the House of Commons. I also want to thank you for the work that you have done, and I know you will continue to do, in showing concern for the health and well-being, including the mental health, of Members of this House and staff across Parliament. Thank you for all that you have done here.

I have been in this House for over 22 years, and this is the largest number of Conservative Members of Parliament that I have seen. I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on leading our party to an overwhelming victory. One thing now is certain: the Lobby is going to be rather crowded. It will also be a rather welcome change to see all Conservative MPs going through the same Lobby. [Laughter.]

I hope my right hon. Friend will forgive me if I just reflect that this was the result that was supposed to happen in 2017. Of course, back then, people still thought the Labour party supported Brexit. Two years on, they saw that that was a sham, a pretence and a betrayal of millions of traditional Labour voters, and those voters have now elected Conservative Members of Parliament. This victory brings with it a huge responsibility, because they have put their trust in us and, as my right hon. Friend has said, we must work flat out to repay that trust—not just Ministers, but every single one of us. Of course, that means delivering Brexit. It means delivering our manifesto commitments on schools, the NHS and infrastructure, which is why the legislation and the commitments in the Queen’s Speech are so important. But it means more than that. It means building a country that truly works for everyone. That has always been the ambition of the Conservative party, because we are a party that is at its strongest when we appeal across the board to people regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, background, income or where they live. That is the true Conservative party.

We must deliver on Brexit and on our manifesto commitments, but we must go further. We must ensure that, in every decision we take in this House, we remember those communities that have lent us their vote. That means things like taking forward the modern industrial strategy, ensuring prosperity across the whole country, and I welcome the commitment in the Queen’s Speech to spend on science and on research and development.

It also means remembering those communities when we negotiate trade deals around the world, including with the European Union, because good trade deals will protect the jobs of those who have put their faith in us and, more than that, will bring good, new, better jobs to the UK. It is interesting to note that we have not yet had a reference in this debate to the fact that, under a Conservative Government, yet again, we have seen employment go up.

Geraint Davies Portrait Geraint Davies (Swansea West) (Lab/Co-op)
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19 Dec 2019, 4:01 p.m.

Will the right hon. Lady give way?

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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19 Dec 2019, 4:03 p.m.

No.

Good trade deals will protect the rights of workers and of those who have put their trust in us. I welcome the commitment in the Queen’s Speech to an employment Bill, which I trust will not only enshrine but enhance workers’ rights in this country. Good trade deals will also ensure that we maintain this country’s high standards in areas like the environment. The environment Bill will be a very important piece of legislation.

We need to deliver on all those issues, particularly for communities that have lent us their vote, because these are the communities that feel most left behind by globalisation. These are the communities that, all too often, have borne the brunt when rights and standards have not been protected. We have a very real job to do in delivering for those people who have put their trust in us.

Of course, as we deliver Brexit and look ahead to the end of next year, we have to deliver a trade deal with the European Union by the end of December 2020. There are those who say it cannot be done, but I do not believe that. I have every confidence that it can be done, but we must do more than that because, by the end of December 2020, we have to agree and ratify a new treaty on security with the European Union such that it will come into operation on 1 January 2021. Again, I have every confidence it can be done, because significant work has already been put into these issues. Elements of that were agreed with the EU in the political declaration. There is work to be done, but it can be done and it must be done to that timetable.

There is another matter that people across the UK will look to us to deliver on: the social injustices that still persist. I welcome the reference in the Queen’s Speech to the domestic abuse Bill, and I am grateful to the Prime Minister for the speed with which he responded to me when I pressed him on this matter earlier this week.

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

19 Dec 2019, 4:03 p.m.

I responded instantly.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard - -

19 Dec 2019, 4:07 p.m.

Indeed. That Bill has cross-party support and it will genuinely improve the lives of victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

I also welcome the reference to reforming the Mental Health Act, although, yet again, I am bound to say that I would have preferred a more full-blooded commitment to a new Mental Health Act. The review of the current Mental Health Act raised many issues about how we deal with and treat people with mental health problems. It is not just about resources; it is also about the attitude and the way in which people are treated. If we put those changes into place in a new Mental Health Act, we will bring genuine and significant improvements to people in this country who have mental health problems.

There are other social injustices we need to look at. Often, social injustice is underpinned by a feeling among the powerful that there are others in our society whom they can treat as second-class citizens. One of the worst examples and what really brought that home to me was the way in which the young girls and boys being sexually abused and groomed in Rotherham were treated by the authorities in that place. It was as if they were people who did not count. But they did count, and we must always remember that every member of our society, every resident of the UK, counts. It is that spirit of ensuring equality that lay behind the work done on social housing, and I note the commitment the Government have made to produce a social housing White Paper. It is important that we continue that work to ensure that the voice of those in social housing is heard.

Another injustice we need to tackle was highlighted by the race disparity audit—groundbreaking work by a Conservative Government that shone a light on injustice that too many experience and too few are willing to acknowledge. We cannot address all the issues raised and all the findings immediately, but we must ensure that the Government do not abandon the work on the race disparity audit. If we take action across the board, we will truly be creating one nation.

Speaking of one nation, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has, on a number of occasions, expressed his desire to unite the country. Of course, that will not happen if the United Kingdom is torn asunder by those who want to ignore the ties of family, of history, of shared endeavour, of shared purpose, that we have formed together over the years. My view is simple: breaking up the United Kingdom is to the benefit of no one and the detriment of all. I am grateful to him for the reference in the Queen’s Speech to the importance the Government attach to the integrity of the United Kingdom, and I look forward to the work that I know the Government will do to ensure that that is demonstrated.

Neil Gray Portrait Neil Gray (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

19 Dec 2019, 4:07 p.m.

The former Prime Minister has spent a lot of her speech talking about the debt that her party and her successor owe to those who lent her party their support, but she will know better than anyone that a true leader, a true statesman, acknowledges those who did not vote for them. In Scotland, the Scottish National party secured 45% of the vote. Nobody denies the current Prime Minister’s right to govern on 43% of the vote, so how can she turn round to the people of Scotland and say that we cannot have our say on our own future, after the general election results that we just had in Scotland?

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard - -

19 Dec 2019, 4:08 p.m.

As the hon. Gentleman will have heard from my excellent hon. Friend the Member for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine (Andrew Bowie), 55% of people in Scotland voted for parties that support the Union of the United Kingdom. At the end of his speech, the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Ian Blackford) made a great plea about how an independent Scotland would be in the European Union. We all know that an independent Scotland will not be in the European Union—it will not be allowed to be in the European Union. So what the Scottish nationalists are saying to people in Scotland is simply not true.

The Queen’s Speech refers to the UK’s place and influence in the world. I note that there is to be a full review of international policy, no doubt building on a number of reviews that have taken place and work done in recent years. It is important that we look at this issue now. Of course, global Britain has never gone away; we have always been a global Britain. In recent years, we have continued to play an important role in international fora on matters such as climate change; we have played a key role in dealing with terrorism, modern slavery and people smuggling; and we have enhanced our presence in key areas east of Suez and in the Asia-Pacific region. We brought together action across the world when we found that a chemical weapon had been used on the streets of the UK by Russia.

At the same time, we have seen the international fora and the rules-based international order on which we have depended for decades coming under significant threat. At the same time as we have seen the atmosphere and discourse of politics in the UK become more acrimonious. Across the world we have seen a change, too. We have seen an emphasis on absolutism and confrontation rather than compromise. We have a decision to take as to where we sit in that: whether we side with the absolutists or continue to be a country that believes it is right that big countries come together internationally and restrain their own demands in order to seek agreement for the greater good of all.

We have also seen from some an interest in stepping back from a defence of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We have to decide whether to look inward or to continue to play a role in defending those values; I believe we should, because that is what global Britain is all about. It is important that we continue to uphold those values around the world. Of course, that may bring into the spotlight our relationship with the United States of America. It is a special relationship that we must nurture and preserve. It is in the interests not only of us and the United States but of the world that that special relationship is maintained. But it is not a one-way relationship. We do not just accept every position that the US takes; we consider our own interests and, when we disagree with the US, we tell them clearly that we disagree with them.

Over the past three years, we have seen this House focusing so much on Brexit and focusing so much internally, but we now have an opportunity: we can set that to one side and move on to being the global Britain that the Prime Minister has spoken about and that every Conservative Member on the Government Benches espouses. We can be a Britain that takes its place in the world; a Britain that recognises the need to reform the international rules-based order, playing not just a role but a leading role in that reform; and a United Kingdom that stands up for the values that we share—the values of democracy, the rule of law and human rights. A United Kingdom standing proud in the world. I believe the world needs the United Kingdom to take that role. I know that, under my right hon. Friend, we will do just that.

Meg Hillier Portrait Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch) (Lab/Co-op)
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19 Dec 2019, 4:13 p.m.

It is a pleasure to welcome you back to the Chair of the House, Mr Speaker, and it is a pleasure to follow the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), because despite our political disagreements she and I agree on what she said about everybody counting and the Government’s being there for everybody. I thank the people of Hackney South and Shoreditch who re-elected me for the fifth time to stand up for them all—not just for the 73% of them who voted for me, but for the others who did not. I will stop at nothing to stand up for them in this House.

The Queen’s Speech is quite incredible. It talks about investment in education, the NHS and public services, but this Government have slashed spending over the past nine and a half years. The promise of more funding for schools comes now, but only after nine years of funding cuts that have led to an 8% per pupil funding decrease over the past decade. The Government talk about more police, but who was it who cut their numbers in the first place? The Prime Minister has been keen to talk about the past as though it were a different country; were he in his place, I would remind him that he has been not just the Prime Minister for a few hundred days but an MP and the Mayor of London. He cannot dodge responsibility.

I will of course welcome things in the Queen’s Speech that will deliver for the people of my constituency. It feels a bit bitter to hear talk about investment in broadband from the same Government who rigged the most recent broadband competition, particularly for rural broadband, so that only one bidder could win, but it is important that we invest in infrastructure in our country. Even in my constituency—even in Shoreditch—where we have the best tech businesses beating like a heartbeat for Britain, we have too poor a broadband service. I will join the Government in supporting investment in broadband if they will deliver in my constituency and across the country.

I cannot stand here today without highlighting the real challenges for the people of Hackney South and Shoreditch. As the former Prime Minister said, everybody counts. In my constituency, that includes half of our children who live in poverty after housing costs are taken into account. In my constituency, or across Hackney, 30% of deaths are still premature, and the leading cause of that is cancer, so investment in our health service for early diagnosis and treatment is absolutely vital. One fifth of adults, which is above average, still smoke in my constituency, compared with around 14% of the London population.

With a ratio of nearly one in 10, Hackney has the highest rate of diagnosed depression of any London borough. I would welcome a review of mental health support, but, as the former Prime Minister said, I think that we may need to be more radical than that, so I will be watching what happens closely. Hackney as a borough is the 11th most deprived of the 326 English local authorities. Although some people talk about our being achingly cool—they think of the hipsters with their beers and of our bread makers and our beer makers and so on—a very high percentage of my constituents are in great need, with more than a third living in financial poverty, earning 60% of median earnings after housing costs are taken into account.

I wanted this Queen’s Speech to say a lot more about housing. In my borough, it takes 17 times a person’s salary to buy a home. That compares with the London average of 13.8 times, which is pretty high, and the England and Wales average of eight times the amount, which is also high. It means that home ownership is out of the reach of so very many. In my constituency, there are more private renters than homeowners. Half of all households are represented in social housing, which is more than the other two combined.

A real stain on one of the richest countries in Europe and in the world is the fact that more than 3,000 families are living in temporary accommodation. Just in the past few weeks, a man wrote to me begging for help because for two and a half years he has lived with his eight-year-old son in one room in a hostel. We have a fantastic Labour elected mayor in Hackney, who is doing his utmost to resolve this housing crisis, which is costly to the individuals concerned, costly to our communities and costly to the taxpayer. Without more from this Government, it will be difficult—if not impossible—to deliver for those 3,000 families who need help, and for those children who will be living without a permanent roof over their heads and who will be celebrating Christmas in one room in a hostel or in short-term, inadequate temporary accommodation.

I would not want to suggest that this poverty is also a poverty of ambition, because boy, do my constituents want to get on in life. None the less, without those basic building blocks of primarily secure long-term, affordable housing, and swift and easy access to proper healthcare, to secure and properly paid jobs and to skills development, they will never get there. Some in my constituency earn enough money to work a four-day week, but many, many more work three or four jobs on poverty wages on zero-hours contracts just to pay the rent. There is also the invidious bedroom tax policy, which does not work. On one estate, the Wenlock Barn estate in Hoxton, 74 families are hit by this policy and they do not have an option to move to a different property. It is a cloud cuckoo policy, and if the Prime Minister is anywhere near honest about his desire to be a one nation Conservative, it is one that he would abolish right now.

All Governments should be creating a ladder of opportunity for the people of this country. This Government, or the Governments before them, have ripped away the lower rungs of that ladder, so it is a very long reach for too many of my constituents. I want to see some commitment from this Government that they will help my constituents.

Let me move on the specifics of the Queen’s Speech. Her Majesty talked about the Government continuing to “lead the way” in tackling climate change. It has been my great sorrow, in one of my responsibilities as the former Chair of the Public Accounts Committee—a role I hope to resume in this Parliament—to have pored over the detail of the Government’s policy on climate change. And what do we see? There was carbon capture and storage: three expensive competitions, wasting millions of pounds achieving absolutely nothing. There was the much vaunted green deal, with the noble aim of greening our homes, because, let’s face it, more domestic emissions come from housing than from aviation. But that scheme was scrapped as a total failure—predictably—and cost the taxpayer the equivalent of £17,000 per loan granted.

Grenfell Tower Inquiry

Theresa May Excerpts
Wednesday 30th October 2019

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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30 Oct 2019, 2:25 p.m.

That is a first, Mr Speaker: someone rises to intervene but does not actually do it. I thank my hon. Friend; he represents a community with mixed housing so also has to deal with these issues.

There are serious questions to be asked about what the Government have done, about what has been happening with the funding of the London fire service and, of course, about the performance of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The night of 14 June will never, ever be forgotten. I have never forgotten talking in my office that evening to my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington (Emma Dent Coad)—who has been and is a wonderful representative for the people there—about what it was like being an MP. She had been an MP for only for a few days. I said, “It’s great, but it’s hard work and you need to get into it slowly.” She went home and had probably the greatest test of her life two hours later. The way she has spoken up for her community and what she has done is something we should all be very proud of.

The shameful fact is that feet have been dragged. The exact same cladding is on similar high-rise blocks; sprinklers have not been fitted; and thousands of people in this country will go to bed tonight, and tomorrow night, not feeling safe. I pay tribute to the firefighters and, most of all, I pay tribute to the dignity and solemnity of the survivors and the bereaved, who continue to campaign for justice so that no one else has to suffer like them.

I welcome Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s report and look forward to the second part of the inquiry. I want us to have a properly funded fire service in all parts of the country. I thank Grenfell United and all the survivors for everything they have done to try to bring people together and keep communities together. I welcome the fact that the Prime Minister has said that an appropriate memorial will be constructed near or on the Grenfell site, but the real memorial will be a properly funded fire service. The real memorial will be safety for people in every tower block throughout the country. Currently, 60,000 people are unsure of their own safety, and there are many more tower blocks with other kinds of composite materials that are just as dangerous. We need very tough regulation to ensure that all our people can sleep safely and soundly in their beds at night, rather than having in their minds the image of that burning monstrosity of a fire, which took the lives of so many wonderful, wholly innocent people.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs Theresa May (Maidenhead) (Con)
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30 Oct 2019, 2:28 p.m.

I thank the Government for scheduling this debate, which gives the House the very earliest opportunity to debate the recommendations from Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s report on part 1 of the public inquiry into what happened at Grenfell Tower. I thank the Prime Minister for his commitment to make time for further debate on this issue when Members from all parties will have had an opportunity to look more fully at the report and its recommendations.

Today’s debate gives us an opportunity to recognise, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition did, the appalling nature of the tragedy that took place at Grenfell Tower in June 2017. I thank my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister for the tone that he took in his speech and the understanding that he showed. This was a horrific loss of life and, of course, it was a tragedy that should never have happened. I pay tribute to the survivors and to the families and friends of those who died for the dignity and fortitude that they have shown in circumstances that none of us would ever want to face. They have shown not just dignity and fortitude, but commitment and dedication in their struggle for the justice they want for all those who lost their lives and also for those who lost everything they possessed and the home that they had built up.

I also thank and pay tribute to the survivors who gave evidence to the public inquiry. Reliving those horrific times cannot have been easy, but without their evidence it would not have been possible for Sir Martin Moore-Bick to produce his report. I also thank him for his thoroughness and for the considerate and thoughtful way in which he has produced this report. It is detailed, and aspects of it are shocking.

The public inquiry was set up not only to get to the truth of what happened on that night, but, crucially, to understand why it happened. As has already been mentioned by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and by others in interventions, there are many questions as yet unanswered because they lie in phase 2 of the inquiry. Crucially, they are issues around building regulations, the cladding, the enforcement of regulations, and why cladding that was non-compliant with the regulations was put up—and it was agreed it be put up—on this building. It is significant that Sir Martin Moore-Bick found himself able to say clearly that the cladding was non-compliant. That was an important aspect and finding of phase 1 of the inquiry, although greater detail in relation to those matters will be gone into in phase 2 of the inquiry.

Sandy Martin
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30 Oct 2019, 2:32 p.m.

I thank the right hon. Lady for giving way. Does she not accept that, while phase 2 will need to deal with these more difficult issues, there are hundreds and hundreds of families still living in conditions that are completely unacceptable because actions have not been taken? These actions could be taken prior to phase 2 coming forward. For instance, in St Francis Tower in my own constituency, people are living in a building, which is, quite frankly, no longer fit for habitation because the cladding has been removed and there are now gaps around all the windows.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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30 Oct 2019, 2:33 p.m.

I say to the hon. Gentleman that, of course, the Government have put in place support both for local authorities and for the private sector to take action in relation to cladding. Following a question that was asked earlier not just about ACM cladding but about other cladding, I can say that the Department has also been ensuring that tests are undertaken on other cladding on these buildings. We also initiated Dame Judith Hackitt’s report and are clear that the recommendations of that report have been accepted by the Government.

I said that the issues around cladding, building regulations and so forth will need to be addressed in phase 2, but so, too, will the question of the role of Government and the role of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Karen Lee
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30 Oct 2019, 2:33 p.m.

Does the right hon. Lady agree that it just cannot be right that the survivors and bereaved of Grenfell are not properly permanently rehoused?

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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30 Oct 2019, 2:34 p.m.

I recognise that since this terrible tragedy took place, significant efforts have been made to ensure that the survivors—those who have lost so much—have been provided with accommodation that is suitable for their needs. I know that in the early stages many people felt that that work did not go as quickly as it should have done. I recognise, too, that in the struggle that the survivors have been facing to ensure that justice can be done, that the truth can be uncovered, and, crucially, that responsibility for what happened is identified, they have felt that the response of Government at national and local level has not always been as swift or as full as they wished it to be. Every effort will be made, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said, to continue the work to support the families of those who suffered this terrible experience in this appalling tragedy. There are other aspects of support that need to be provided in the longer term as well, not least the question of providing mental health support for people who have been affected by this tragedy.

Of course, today we can only look at phase 1 of the inquiry, because that is the report that is before us. One thing that comes through from phase 1 and will be clear to anybody who has met or has had any discussions with members of the Grenfell community is the care that they feel for each other—not just care within families, but care for friends and neighbours, too, and, indeed, for their whole community. The Grenfell community has a lot to teach all of us about the true meaning of community.

It was that care for each other that led to their raising their concerns and fears, over a period of time, about the safety of the building in which they lived. Concerns were brought home to me at a very early stage—when I first met survivors from Grenfell Tower—that they had been raising these issues about the safety of their building over a period of time, and yet those issues, their voices and those concerns had gone unheeded and had been ignored. I want to go on to reference some of the shocking aspects of this report, but I think that one of the most shocking features that has come out of consideration of what happened at Grenfell Tower is that those people had been genuinely raising matters about safety and yet felt that those matters were just completely ignored—and in some cases they were indeed just completely ignored. That was what led to the work to look at social housing across the country. I am grateful that a number of Housing Ministers undertook that work.

I see my right hon. Friend the Member for Reading West (Alok Sharma), the first Housing Minister who started that work, in his place on the Treasury Bench. That work was due to lead to a social housing Green Paper. I was pleased to hear my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister reference a social housing White Paper. We are now about to go into an election. There is purdah, but I urge the Government, as soon as possible after Parliament is reconvened, to publish that White Paper, because change is needed to ensure that those who are living in social housing are able to have their voices heard so they can have the confidence that, when they raise issues, those issues will be acted on, and if they are not, they can seek redress in order to ensure that their concerns are being heard.

There are other shocking aspects of this report on which I wish to touch briefly. Some of them relate to the conclusions on the London Fire Brigade. Our emergency services do an amazing job, day in and day out, and there is absolutely no doubt that, on that fateful night, individual firefighters gave totally of themselves. They bravely went into a building with a fire whose like, as they said to me afterwards, they had never seen before, yet they bravely put themselves in danger to try to rescue others. None the less, it is also clear from Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s report that there were questions over the command structure, training and communications in London Fire Brigade, which all need to be addressed.

When there is an emergency, we are used to seeing—indeed we expect to see—our emergency services working seamlessly, both in teams within an individual service but also in services working together. Sadly, on that fateful night, that was not the case. Now these were the most challenging of circumstances. None of us should take away from the fact that people were dealing with something that they had not seen the like of before and were having to respond with instant and split-second decisions. But there is absolutely no doubt from the report that the lack of communication and of the passing on of crucial information had an impact on the response. Sir Martin Moore-Bick states in the report:

“The chaotic nature of the communication links meant that neither the control room nor the command units nor the incident commander could know whether rescue attempts had been made in response to calls, or if they had, what had been the outcomes.”

That seamless working together is important within teams but also across the services. It is very important that when our emergency services attend an emergency, they are able to work together in the best possible way to deal with it.

When I was Home Secretary, I oversaw the work on the joint emergency services interoperability principles, or JESIP. The whole purpose of that work was to ensure that there was a way of our emergency services working together that enabled them to provide the service we wanted them to provide. And yet on this night, a major incident was declared by each of the services at different times, but they did not communicate that to each other. Sir Martin Moore-Bick makes that point when he says:

“One of the consequences of the declaration of a Major Incident by the emergency services is that there should be a multi-agency conversation between the control room leads. This was a requirement of the joint operating requirements established under the Joint Doctrine…That was also a requirement of the Procedure Manual…The evidence that such a conversation…took place is at best unclear.”

This need to communicate is very important and it is absolutely right that Sir Martin Moore-Bick has raised it as an issue that needs to be addressed in his recommendations.

I want to comment on what in many ways must be the most heartbreaking aspect of the report for the survivors: the use of the doctrine “stay put”. I can quite understand why there was a doctrine of staying put. The experience was that a fire in a flat within a tower block would normally remain in that flat and would be able to be dealt with in that flat—compartmentalisation or containment within a flat. But of course that did not happen in this circumstance; something else happened because of the cladding on the outside of the building.

The doctrine of “stay put” had been developed for good reasons, based on the normal experiences of firefighters. The problem was not the fact that that was the doctrine in such circumstances; the problem was that there was no flexibility to know how to deal with and respond to different circumstances. As we see in the report, at a point in time—the Prime Minister referenced that point—a decision was taken to evacuate rather than to continue to operate the “stay put” doctrine, but even at that time the messages that were getting through were not clear and the messages being given by the control room were not as clear as they should have been. One of the issues here is making sure that there is training to ensure that those who are making decisions on the ground know that they have the flexibility to make a different decision, but also know when and how to exercise that flexibility.

This doctrine did have an impact. On the Friday after the fire I was visiting survivors in hospital, where I met one family, the father of which told me that he, his wife and child had been told to stay put in their flat and that others had been brought into their flat as a place of safety. There came a point when this father took the decision that they could no longer stay in the flat, so he said what he was going to do and took himself, his wife and his child out of their flat. They survived. The others did not. So this doctrine did have an impact that night.

The worst thing that could happen now would be to lurch to having everyone say, “We can’t have ‘stay put’ at all”, because there will be circumstances in which “stay put” is still the right advice to give. But what is important is that flexibility is provided, and that training is given so that individuals know when and how they can exercise that flexibility and change the advice.

Andy Slaughter Portrait Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith) (Lab)
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If there is to be this change—a flexibility, under which there may be a full evacuation from time to time—would the right hon. Lady agree that it would be essential for buildings to have sprinkler systems, at least in communal areas, more than one means of escape and a central alarm system, and that Grenfell Tower would have benefited from those measures? Would she support those provisions being introduced in new buildings and retrofitted?

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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30 Oct 2019, 2:45 p.m.

I have been asked about sprinklers on a number of occasions. Of course, the response to the Lakanal House fire was not that sprinklers should be fitted in all high tower blocks, but that the landlord should look at that issue. Sir Martin Moore-Bick is going to address the issue of sprinklers in part 2 of the inquiry, and he references that and makes the point that I have just made about the Lakanal House fire in this report. On the issue of the means of escape, there was a central stairway in Grenfell Tower, and I think firefighters have raised the question of the means of escape in that regard. This is another issue that part 2 of the inquiry is likely to look at, as it is looking at the requirements and regulations necessary for the future.

There are issues about the cladding itself and about the responsibility for why the fire was able to happen because of the circumstances of the building. I set up the inquiry to get to the truth, and Sir Martin Moore- Bick has shown that he is capable of and determined to get to the truth. His report so far has been clear and uncompromising, and I have every expectation that his report on part 2 of the inquiry will also be clear and uncompromising, whoever or whatever it needs to address.

I welcome the Government’s commitments, set out by the Prime Minister, to accept the recommendations, but change requires a willingness to change. I refer to paragraph 28.55 in volume 4 of the report, where Sir Martin Moore-Bick references the evidence of the Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade and says that he feels that it

“only serves to demonstrate that the LFB is an institution at risk of not learning the lessons of the Grenfell Tower fire.”

For the families and friends of those who lost their lives, the pain of that loss will never go away. But for their sake, and in memory of all who lost their lives, the lessons must be learned.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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Colleagues will see that many hon. and right hon. Members wish to speak in this debate. Time is limited so I will impose a five-minute time limit after the speech from the Scottish National party Front Bench, and that time limit may have to be reduced.

Oral Answers to Questions

Theresa May Excerpts
Wednesday 24th July 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Ruth Cadbury Portrait Ruth Cadbury (Brentford and Isleworth) (Lab)
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Q1. If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 24 July. [912144]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister (Mrs Theresa May)
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24 Jul 2019, 12:01 p.m.

This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. Following my duties in this House, this afternoon I shall have an audience of Her Majesty the Queen. I shall then continue with my duties in this House from the Back Benches, where I will continue to be the Member of Parliament for Maidenhead.

Ruth Cadbury Portrait Ruth Cadbury
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24 Jul 2019, 12:01 p.m.

I profoundly disagree with many of the decisions that the Prime Minister has made and many of the things she says, but I recognise that she does have a respect for public service and for the future of our country, so how does she feel about handing over to a man who, among many things, is happy to demonise Muslims, is prepared to chuck our loyal public servants and diplomats under a bus, and promises to sell our country out to Donald Trump and his friends?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:02 p.m.

I am pleased to hand over to an incoming leader of the Conservative party and Prime Minister who I worked with when he was in my Cabinet, and who is committed, as a Conservative who stood on a Conservative manifesto in 2017, to delivering on the vote of the British people in 2016 and to delivering a bright future for this country.

Bob Blackman Portrait Bob Blackman (Harrow East) (Con)
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Q5. I rise to thank my right hon. Friend not only for her loyal service as Prime Minister over the past three years, but for her 33 years of public service, which is a record to be proud of. I also thank her for her personal support in helping me get my private Member’s Bill—now the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017—on to the statute book. Does she agree that it is far better to prevent people becoming homeless, to use the taxation system to combat obesity, and to prevent people smoking in the first place? Does she agree that prevention is far better than cure? [912148]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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First of all, I thank my hon. Friend for all his work on the Homelessness Reduction Act, which, crucially, we are seeing actually having an impact—that is so important for the people who are benefiting from the work he did. I know that he has been doing a lot of work as part of the all-party parliamentary group on smoking and health. I agree that we need to start viewing health as an asset to protect throughout our lives. That is why we have taken bold action on smoking and childhood obesity. I am proud that we have delivered not only the biggest ever cash boost in the history of the national health service, but a long-term plan that, as he said, will focus on prevention—as well as on cancer care and mental health—trying to ensure that people do not get ill in the first place. Preventing smoking and obesity are key parts of better lives for people in the future.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab)
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24 Jul 2019, 12:04 p.m.

Today marks the final day in office for the Prime Minister, and I pay tribute to her sense of public duty. Public service should always be recognised. Being an MP, a Minister or indeed a Prime Minister is an honour that brings with it huge responsibility and huge pressures personally and, I am sure the Prime Minister and probably the whole House would agree, on those very closest to us, who are often not able to answer back for the criticisms made against them. I hope she has a marginally more relaxing time on the Back Benches. Perhaps, like the Chancellor, she will even help me oppose the reckless plans of her successor. [Interruption.] If I may continue—[Interruption.] I am glad the Government party is in such good heart today, for tomorrow it won’t be.

In the past three years, child poverty has gone up, pensioner poverty has gone up, in-work poverty has gone up, violent crime has gone up, NHS waiting times have gone up, school class sizes have gone up, homelessness has gone up and food bank use has gone up. Does the Prime Minister have any regrets about any of the things I have just said?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:07 p.m.

It is very good to see the Conservative party in good heart; it is more than I can say for the Labour party. But let me just say something to the right hon. Gentleman about my record over the past three years and how I measure it. It is in the opportunity for every child who is now in a better school. It is in the comfort for every person who now has a job for the first time in their life. It is in the hope of every disadvantaged young person now able to go to university. It is in the joy of every couple who can now move into their own home. At its heart, politics is not about exchanges across the Dispatch Box. Nor is it about eloquent speeches or media headlines. Politics is about the difference we make every day to the lives of people up and down this country. They are our reason for being here, and we should never forget it.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

24 Jul 2019, 12:07 p.m.

Yes, politics is about real life and politics is about what people suffer in their ordinary lives. I did not mention that per-pupil school funding has gone down, police numbers are down and GP numbers are falling. In the 2017 Conservative manifesto, the Prime Minister promised that no school would have its budget cut, that she would protect TV licences for the over-75s and that she would halve rough sleeping. Which of those pledges is the Prime Minister most sorry not to have achieved?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

24 Jul 2019, 12:08 p.m.

I am pleased to hear that the right hon. Gentleman spent some time reading the Conservative party manifesto from 2017—he has not been known for always reading the documents he stands up and talks about. Had he read the manifesto properly, he would know that we made a pledge on rough sleeping: to halve it by 2022 and to stop rough sleeping by 2027. I am pleased to say that in the past year we have seen rough sleeping going down. In particular, rough sleeping is going down in those areas where this Government have been taking action.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I do not quite know where the Prime Minister gets her figures from on rough sleeping. All I know is that I travel around this country, just like other Members of this House, and I talk to people who have had a disaster in their lives and end up rough sleeping. We are the fifth richest country in the world. It is surely wrong that anyone should end up sleeping on the streets of this country. We can and should do something about it.

I have often disagreed with the Prime Minister and have many criticisms of her policies, but I welcome the reduction in the stake on fixed odds betting terminals, the adoption of the children’s funeral fund and the scrapping of employment tribunal fees. Which of those policies is the Prime Minister most proud of?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:10 p.m.

I am proud of all the policies that we have introduced that have been improving people’s lives. I am proud of the fact that through the balanced management of the economy that we have done, we now see more people in work in this country than ever before. I am proud of the fact that there are more children in good and outstanding schools. I am proud of the fact that the attainment gap between the disadvantaged and the advantaged has been narrowed under this Government. And I am proud of the fact that we are putting the biggest cash boost in its history into our national health service. We are ensuring that the national health service—the most beloved institution in this country—will be there for people into the future. This is a Conservative Government—my Government—delivering on the things that matter to people in their day-to-day lives.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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24 Jul 2019, 12:10 p.m.

The Prime Minister may have noticed that none of those things that I mentioned were actually in the Conservative party manifesto in 2017, but every one of them was a Labour pledge in 2017. On Brexit, the Prime Minister’s own red lines ruled out any sensible compromise deal. Only after she had missed her own deadline to leave did the Prime Minister even begin to shift her position, but by then, she no longer had the authority to deliver. Her successor has no mandate at all. Does she have confidence that the right hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson) will succeed where she has not?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

I worked tirelessly to get a good deal for the UK, and I also worked hard to get that deal through this Parliament. I voted for the deal. What did the right hon. Gentleman do? He voted against a deal. He voted to make no deal more likely, and when there was a prospect of reaching consensus across this House, the right hon. Gentleman walked away from the talks. At every stage, his only interest has been playing party politics, and frankly, he should be ashamed of himself.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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We have had three years of bungled negotiations, and we now have the spectacle of a Prime Minister coming into office with no electoral mandate looking for a Brexit deal that has been ruled out by the European Union, or in the case of a no deal, ruled out by the majority in this House and by anyone who understands the dangers to the British economy of a no deal. The next Prime Minister thought the Isle of Man was in the European Union and that the European Union made rules about kippers that, in fact, were made by the Government that he was part of. He also said that the UK could secure tariff-free trade through article 24 of the general agreement on tariffs and trade, despite the International Trade Secretary, the Attorney General and the Governor of the Bank of England all confirming that that is not possible.

At the start of 2018, the—[Interruption.] It’s coming, don’t worry. At the start of 2018, the Prime Minister herself set up a new unit to counter fake news, charged with “combating disinformation”. How successful does she think that has been?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I have to say to the right hon. Gentleman that I fear that our success has not been what we wanted it to be from the amount of fake news and fake information that he uses at that Dispatch Box.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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24 Jul 2019, 12:14 p.m.

Maybe the Prime Minister can have a word with her successor on the way out, but let me conclude—[Interruption.] For today. Let me conclude by welcoming some of the Prime Minister’s notable U-turns over the last couple of years. The cruel dementia tax was scrapped. Plans to bring back grammar schools were ditched. The threat to the pensions triple lock was abandoned. The withdrawal of the winter fuel payments was dumped. The pledge to bring back foxhunting was dropped, and the Government binned their plan to end universal free school meals for five to seven-year-olds. The Prime Minister has dumped her own manifesto. Given that her successor has no mandate from the people—no mandate on which to move into office—does she not agree that the best thing that the right hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip could do later on today when he takes office is to call a general election and let the people decide their future?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:14 p.m.

My first answer to the right hon. Gentleman is no. If he wants to talk about people ducking manifesto commitments and commitments made during general election campaigns, might I remind him that the Labour party and he said that they would abolish student debt? After the election, he rowed back on that promise. What else did he say during the general election campaign? He said he was committed to Trident. What did he say afterwards? He said, no, he was not committed to Trident at all. He has broken promise after promise to the people of this country.

As this is the last time that the right hon. Gentleman and I will have this exchange across these Dispatch Boxes—[Hon. Member: “Are you going to answer the question?”] I was going to say that it is a strength of our British democracy that the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have these exchanges across the Dispatch Boxes every week, two swords’ lengths apart, and that no quarter is sought and none is given. That is as it should be in our adversarial parliamentary democracy. But he and I are very different people and very different politicians and we approach the issues the country faces in different ways. I have spent all but one of my years in the House on the Front Bench trying to implement the policies I believe in, while he has spent most of his time on the Back Benches campaigning for what he believes in, often against his own party, but what we have in common is a commitment to our constituencies. I saw that after the terrorist attack in Finsbury Park mosque in his constituency. Perhaps then I could finish by saying this: as a party leader who has accepted when her time is up, might I suggest that perhaps the time is now for him to do the same? [Hon. Members: “More!”]

Mr Speaker
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24 Jul 2019, 12:19 p.m.

I call Glyn Davies.

Break in Debate

Glyn Davies (Montgomeryshire) (Con)
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Q7. I first met the Prime Minister when she came campaigning with me in Berriew in the difficult and dark days of the late 1990s, and she has been a great friend of Wales ever since. Only recently, her Government approved the end of the M4 tolls and several other great measures for Wales. Will she encourage her successor to introduce a Bill to extend the general election franchise to all British citizens living overseas, where there is a wide Welsh diaspora? [912150]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:18 p.m.

I thank my hon. Friend for his remarks and for highlighting the work the Government have done in Wales. I would add that over 95,000 people in Wales had a pay rise this year as a result of the national living wage and that employment in Wales has risen by 167,000 since 2010. Conservatives have indeed been delivering for Wales. I know the concern about the franchise for overseas voters and I am sure that my successor will wish to look at that.

I discovered a new part of my hon. Friend’s past recently. I believe he was once the bodyguard to the legendary Hollywood actress Lauren Bacall. [Interruption.] I think his red face tells us all.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) (SNP)
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24 Jul 2019, 12:19 p.m.

Prime Minister, it is fair to say that we have had our differences—it has not often been a meeting of minds— but, with her standing down today, the time for holding her to account has passed. The burdens of office are considerable, the loneliness of leadership can be stark. At times we have clashed on points of political difference, but equally we have stood together when it has been right to do so—over Salisbury and other threats to the UK’s national security. She rightly made sure that Opposition leaders were informed at key moments in national security. In particular, her chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, always sought to make sure that I was kept informed of important developments. Prime Minister, I wish you and Philip all the best for the future.

As the Prime Minister departs, is she confident that the office of Prime Minister can be upheld by her flagrant successor?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:20 p.m.

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his remarks. He is absolutely right: he and I have a difference of opinion on some key issues, but I have been grateful for the position that the SNP has taken on key issues of national security, when it has stood alongside the Government as we have faced the actions of our enemy. I understand the right hon. Gentleman’s point about keeping Opposition leaders in touch with things that have happened. I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Gavin Barwell, who was a first-class Member of this House, a first-class Minister, and has been an absolutely first-class chief of staff.

In answer to the right hon. Gentleman’s question: yes, I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson) on winning the Conservative leadership election. He will take over as Prime Minister and I look forward to a first-class Conservative Government under his leadership, delivering for the whole of the United Kingdom.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
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24 Jul 2019, 12:21 p.m.

The Prime Minister-elect has no mandate in Scotland. He has no mandate from the people. The Government he is busy forming have no mandate in Scotland. Scotland deserves better. A snap YouGov poll shows that 60% of people in Scotland are dismayed and disappointed by the new Prime Minister.

Those of us on the SNP Benches have tabled an early-day motion, with friends from parties across this House, rejecting the idea of this House being shut down before November. Following Parliament’s overwhelming message in last week’s vote, may I invite the Prime Minister, in one of her first actions as a Back-Bench MP, to sign our early-day motion and join efforts to stop the suspension of Parliament under any circumstances?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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As I said in answer to the right hon. Gentleman’s first question, I accept that he and I have differences on a number of issues. We both have a passion for delivering for the people of Scotland. I want to do that with Scotland as part of the United Kingdom; he wants to take Scotland out of the United Kingdom. We have a mandate from the people to form a Government of this country. That is how we run things in the parliamentary democracy that we have in this country. We also have a mandate from the people to deliver on the result of the 2016 referendum. If the right hon. Gentleman is so interested in delivering on mandates from the British people, he should have voted on the deal to take us out of the EU.

Pauline Latham Portrait Mrs Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire) (Con)
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Q9. The Derwent valley cycle way is an aspirational project running through my constituency. It would create an off-road cycle way between Derby and Baslow, providing an alternative commuting route, encouraging tourism, encouraging cycling among the young, and improving the health of the local population. Does the Prime Minister agree that more funding should be made available to support this and other, similar projects? [912152]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I recognise the importance of increasing cycling and walking. It is important for people’s health and the local environment. Schemes such as the Derwent valley cycle way provide significant benefit to the local economy as well as to health and the environment. We have doubled our spending on cycling and walking in England, and our local cycling and walking infrastructure plan enables local authorities to take a strategic approach to planning improvements and to integrate them into wider plans for transport and economic development. I am sure the issue will continue to be supported by Conservatives in government.

Chi Onwurah Portrait Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central) (Lab)
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Q2. In Newcastle, the Prime Minister’s departure invokes neither the despair of a Rafa Benitez nor yet the joy of a Mike Ashley, and she may take comfort from that, but as she considers her choices—House of Lords, dignified retirement, working with her successor—may I ask her to work to bring dignity and choice to others? She is a WASPI woman; will she dedicate her prime ministerial retirement to justice for all WASPI women? [912145]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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We have put £1 billion extra into the pension system, recognising concerns that were expressed by women about the changes to pensions. The hon. Lady references what I am going to be doing in the future, but I thought I had already made that very clear: I will be continuing in this House as the Member of Parliament for Maidenhead.

Michael Fabricant Portrait Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con)
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Q14. What assessment she has made of the economic performance of the region governed by the West Midlands Combined Authority since that authority's formation; and if she will make a statement. [912157]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:25 p.m.

I am sure my hon. Friend will want to join me in saying how pleased I am with the economic growth that we have seen in the West Midlands Combined Authority area. Output has increased by 27% over five years; productivity increased at twice the national rate last year; and employment has increased since 2011. The record of the West Midlands Combined Authority shows precisely what a local, visible, innovative leadership can do and how it can be the key to building a strong economy and a fairer society.

Michael Fabricant Portrait Michael Fabricant
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24 Jul 2019, 12:26 p.m.

With the Prime Minister’s active encouragement the Mayor of the West Midlands was elected in May 2017, and she has supported him and the region ever since. Over £2 billion has been given to the region by the Prime Minister in the form of grants and guarantees for transport and so many other worthwhile projects, so on behalf of the people of the west midlands may I thank her and may I also ask that she continues in Parliament as a strong advocate for local devolution?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I remember the conversation I had with Andy Street when I was encouraging him to stand for the mayoralty of the west midlands, and I am very pleased that he did. He has been delivering for the people of the west midlands ever since his election. I also thank my hon. Friend for highlighting the excellent work that we have done for the west midlands: Government working with that combined authority shows the benefits of the very local devolution that my hon. Friend has referred to. This is a very good example of what that innovative and visionary leadership can do at a local level in improving the lives of people.

Kevin Brennan Portrait Kevin  Brennan  (Cardiff West)  (Lab)
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Q3.   Outgoing American Presidents get to pardon anybody they want. If the Prime Minister could, would she pardon her successor for sabotaging her premiership purely for his own personal ambitions? [912146]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:27 p.m.

My successor will continue to deliver the Conservative policies that have improved the lives of people up and down this country since we were elected into a coalition Government in 2010. There is a long list of improvements that have taken place in people’s lives, and I look forward, on the Back Benches, to giving my full support to the next Prime Minister as he takes us forward, delivering on Brexit and continuing to deliver on those Conservative policies.

Lord McLoughlin Portrait Sir Patrick McLoughlin (Derbyshire Dales) (Con)
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May I thank my right hon. Friend for the way in which he has conducted herself as Prime Minister of this country, for the dignified way in which she has approached the job and her responsibilities? May I ask her to reflect on the fact that when we both first joined the Government in 2010, for every £4 the Government were spending we were borrowing £1, yet as she leaves office today for every £34 the Government spend we are borrowing £1? She has left an economy that is in a much more stable position than when it was inherited. To do that she has had to make some very difficult choices, and choices we may not have wanted to make, but we have got the economy on a sound footing, and I thank her for that.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:28 p.m.

I thank my right hon. Friend for pointing out that fact about Government borrowing and for highlighting the work we have done for the economy, delivering that balanced approach. I would like to thank my right hon. Friend the Chancellor for the work he has done in delivering that. What does that mean? It means borrowing at its lowest level for 17 years; it means the lowest unemployment since the 1970s, wages growing at their fastest for a decade and debt falling. That is what my Government have delivered: more jobs, healthier finances and an economy fit for the future.

Yasmin Qureshi Portrait Yasmin Qureshi (Bolton South East) (Lab)
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Q4. The Education Committee published its report on Friday stating that the Government should urgently address underfunding in further education by increasing the amount from £4,000 per student to £4,760. Does the Prime Minister agree that raising the rate will benefit the excellent Bolton sixth-form college in my constituency, as well as many other colleges that are also under severe financial pressure, some of which are actually going under? [912147]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:30 p.m.

Obviously, I always look at Select Committee reports with care. I commissioned the Augar review of post-18 education funding, and that review has been very clear that more money needs to go into further education and into sixth forms. I want to see that happening. Indeed, I think that, just as my Government have given a priority to the national health service in looking at funding for the future, the next Government should give priority to education so that we can see that money going into further education and sixth forms and ensure that for every young person there is an avenue through education and training that suits them and their talents and gives them the best opportunities for their future.

Helen Grant Portrait Mrs Helen Grant (Maidstone and The Weald) (Con)
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24 Jul 2019, 12:31 p.m.

The Prime Minister has always been a great champion of victims of domestic violence, as Prime Minister and as Home Secretary, and she has directed many millions of pounds into improving those support services during her time in office, but does she agree that there is still much more work to be done on prevention and early intervention, and on tackling the ongoing scepticism that still greets many victims when they report violence?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:32 p.m.

I thank my hon. Friend for raising an important issue. I also thank her for the work for victims of domestic violence that she did in her legal practice prior to coming into this House. This is a very important issue, and I am proud of the Domestic Abuse Bill that has been introduced in this House. I look forward to the debates on the Bill as it goes through Parliament. My hon. Friend is absolutely right to say that we need to continue to focus on prevention and continue to raise awareness. We must ensure that domestic violence is seen for what it is. These are criminal acts that are being perpetrated and they should not be brushed under the carpet. People should not just say, “Oh, it’s something that happens behind closed doors” or “It’s just a domestic”. We need to take domestic violence very seriously. We need to ensure that we are taking appropriate action in relation to the perpetrators, and that victims are given support and feel confident and are able to come forward at the earliest opportunity to report what has happened to them.

John McNally Portrait John  Mc Nally  (Falkirk)  (SNP)
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Q8.   My constituent is the wife of Captain Dean Sprouting, who was a brave, experienced and decorated soldier with the UK military for 29 years. In January 2018, he was killed while serving in Iraq, and it is believed that he was killed by a forklift driven by US soldiers. Eighteen months later, Captain Sprouting’s family have still not had an answer as to how he came to his death. His death has not been fully investigated, and those driving the truck have not been brought to justice. Can the Prime Minister ensure that there will be a continuing investigation into the cause of his death? [912151]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:33 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman has raised an issue of great concern, and I am sure it will be of concern to Members across the House and of course to the family of his constituent. I will ensure that the Ministry of Defence provides a response to him on this issue.

Alistair Burt (North East Bedfordshire) (Con)
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24 Jul 2019, 12:34 p.m.

I thank my right hon. Friend for her work in supporting and overseeing the global health programme that the United Kingdom delivers overseas, particularly in regard to vaccination and most notably the polio eradication vaccination, for which she has been internationally recognised. The programme has saved and safeguarded millions of children’s lives across the world. Does she agree that the need to combat misinformation about vaccination is now as important as it ever has been? Will she, in her memo to her successor, note the importance of this programme and the continuing need for a self-standing Department for International Development?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I thank my right hon. Friend for his reference to the work on polio, which enables me to commend the work of my constituent, Judith Diment, with Rotary International in its work against polio. It is important that we combat the disinformation about vaccinations and ensure that people are willing to have those vaccinations, which will change their lives and ensure that they can lead healthy lives, rather than succumbing to diseases and conditions that can have an impact on their lives. I can also say to him that I am proud of the fact that we have a Department for International Development, and proud of the fact that we have legislated for 0.7% of gross national income to be spent on development aid overseas. That is an important element of global Britain and an important element of our standing in the world.

Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) (LD)
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Q10. Last Friday, I had the honour of witnessing the presentation of the légion d’honneur to Helene Aldwinckle, who is a constituent, for her work at Bletchley Park as a codebreaker in world war two. She played a critical role in defeating the most disgusting fascist ideology. Will the Prime Minister, on her last appearance at the Dispatch Box, join me in saying that all politicians should remember the common goals that united people such as Helene and must never resort to, nor fail to call out, nationalistic rhetoric which paints others as enemies, victimises minorities, or espouses racism, because if they do, they are neither fit to be a President nor a Prime Minister? [912153]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:36 p.m.

As I have said on several occasions, it behoves all of us as politicians—indeed, everyone in public life—to be careful about the language we use and to ensure that we give a clear a message that there is no place in our society for racism or hate crime. We should all act to ensure that we deliver on those sentiments. I thank Helene for her work at Bletchley Park and thank all those who worked there. Unsung for some considerable time, they played a crucial part in our ability to defeat fascism in the second world war. We should be very proud of their work, and I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving the House the opportunity to celebrate it.

Mr Keith Simpson (Broadland) (Con)
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24 Jul 2019, 12:37 p.m.

I begin by commending the Prime Minister for her stamina and courage in her term of office—whatever our views on Brexit and other issues—and also commend the support that she has received from her husband Philip. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”] For many of us, our husbands, wives and partners are the unsung heroes. May I now ask her a specific question? She is going to the palace this afternoon, and we assume that she is going to recommend that the right hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson) succeed her as Prime Minister, but will she tell the House one piece of real, hard advice that she would like to give him on being Prime Minister?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:37 p.m.

Can I—[Interruption.] A number of my right hon. and hon. Friends are suggesting from a sedentary position that my advice should be to read my right hon. Friend’s summer reading list. However, he has also given me an opportunity to do something that I suspect many on my side may not thank me for, but I am taking a lead from you, Mister Speaker, in saying that I am pleased to be able to see my husband in the Gallery today.

Lord Coaker Portrait Vernon Coaker (Gedling) (Lab)
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Q11. I obviously disagree with the Prime Minister on many aspects of policy and the work that she has done over the past few years, both as Prime Minister and as Home Secretary, but it would be wrong not to commend her for the phenomenal work she has done to bring forward the issue of modern slavery and to tackle human trafficking, so I congratulate her on that. However, we still face many issues and challenges. Last year, as part of Government policy, we locked up 507 potential victims of modern slavery as immigration offenders. That cannot be right, and surely we need a change of public policy to treat them as victims, not criminals. [912154]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I thank the hon. Gentleman for his remarks and also for his work on modern slavery, because he and I have spoken about it on a number of occasions over the years, and he has also been a great champion. We passed the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which took action in relation to individuals who could find themselves on the receiving end of criminal charges effectively because they had been forced to act in a certain way because of modern slavery. We have been looking at how we deal with victims and the referral mechanism, It is important that we have had an independent review of the 2015 Act, which proposed a number of recommendations for improving how victims are treated, and we will be taking most of those recommendations on board.

Dame Caroline Spelman (Meriden) (Con)
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24 Jul 2019, 12:39 p.m.

Further to the mention of modern-day slavery by the hon. Member for Gedling (Vernon Coaker), it is right to record that my right hon. Friend has long and distinguished service in this House, both in government and in opposition, and her commitment to public service has been outstanding. Her vision and her determination to bring forward legislation against modern-day slavery led the world, and I hope she will continue her fight against slavery with us from the Back Benches so that we stamp out this evil scourge together.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I look forward to joining my right hon. Friend on the Back Benches and continuing to campaign on this issue. I also pay tribute to her for the work that she has done on this issue. She is right: it is an absolute scourge. We must continue to fight it, and we must continue to raise awareness of it, because there are too many people today in this country—not trafficked into this country, but British citizens—who find themselves taken into effective slavery. We must raise awareness of this, and we must constantly work to combat it and to end it.

Mr Paul Sweeney (Glasgow North East) (Lab/Co-op)
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Q12. The Prime Minister has often spoken about the need for an industrial strategy during her time in office, but the St Rollox railway works in Springburn, affectionately known as the Caley, will be closed by its asset-stripping German owner Mutares on Friday, ending 163 years of engineering excellence and the jobs of 200 skilled workers. The Scottish and UK Governments have both failed to intervene to save this strategic site since the closure was announced late last year, while the workforce have been left devastated. Even though the Prime Minister is losing her own job today, it is not too late for her to act now and to instruct the Government to do everything they can to find a way to save these vital jobs and this historic railway works. Will she at least commit to doing that? [912155]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:41 p.m.

I recognise the concern that the hon. Gentleman is showing for his constituency, and the worry and concern that there is for those people who are employed in the business that he has referred to. Of course, whenever we see closures of factories and closures of industrial sites, the Government do act to ensure that support is available for those who find themselves losing their jobs, should that be the case.

However, the hon. Gentleman says that I talked of having a modern industrial strategy. We have a modern industrial strategy. It is a modern industrial strategy that is essentially setting the background and the framework that will enable the economy of the United Kingdom to be the economy for the 21st century.

Charles Walker Portrait Mr Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con)
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24 Jul 2019, 12:43 p.m.

You are in no doubt, Mr Speaker, that I think the Prime Minister is a thoroughly good egg, and it has been an absolute privilege to serve her on the Back Benches.

This Prime Minister’s commitment to mental health has been simply fantastic; it was fantastic when she was the Home Secretary, and it has been fantastic in her time as Prime Minister. We have had the Stevenson/Farmer review of workplace mental health; Sir Simon Wessely’s review into the Mental Health Act 1983; her commitment to reducing the tragedy of suicide, with her putting her office behind that; and the introduction of places of safety for people experiencing a mental health crisis. We have been filling the Prime Minister’s diary up with future commitments as she authors the next chapter of her political life, but can she find space for a few more paragraphs on mental health?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

24 Jul 2019, 12:43 p.m.

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. I also thank him and my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham (Dame Cheryl Gillan) for the dignified way in which they conducted the Conservative party leadership election. He has been an advocate for the Government doing more on mental health during his time in this House, and he has championed the need for us to do more on mental health. I want to continue to ensure that we do indeed take that forward. We have set the record in putting that record funding into mental health and in having those essential reviews—Stevenson/Farmer and Sir Simon Wessely’s review. We now need to ensure that we implement the proposals and that we take this forward. If we do so, we will make a significant improvement in the lives of those people with mental health problems.

Clive Betts Portrait Mr Clive Betts (Sheffield South East) (Lab)
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Q13. Professor John Snowden of Royal Hallamshire Hospital has just received a top NHS award for pioneering work on stem cell transplantation for multiple sclerosis sufferers. I declare a personal interest: John Snowden and his excellent team were responsible for my transplant last year for multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer. Will the right hon. Lady give an assurance, as she steps down as Prime Minister but remains an MP, that she will not support any form of Brexit that prevents John Snowden from continuing to work with his EU colleagues on the board of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, which will continue to advance this treatment for patients with myeloma, MS, leukaemia and other conditions? [912156]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

I commend the individual to whom the hon. Gentleman referred for the work that he has been doing. I am not aware of the organisation that the hon. Gentleman referred to, of which the consultant that he mentioned is a member, but I do want a relationship between the United Kingdom and European Union in the future that enables our scientists and academics to continue to work with those in the EU, and around the rest of the world, to do the pioneering work that—as the hon. Gentleman said, speaking from his own experience—is changing people’s lives for the better.

Mr Speaker
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Ah yes, a singular denizen of the House: Sir John Hayes.

John Hayes Portrait Sir John Hayes (South Holland and The Deepings) (Con)
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The Prime Minister and I first encountered the

“bumping pitch and…blinding light”

of parliamentary life together in 1997, and since then, over many tests, have endured some defeats and enjoyed many victories. As she reflects on her innings on the Front Bench, will she count among her greatest achievements the falling number of workless households, which has succoured personal responsibility, secured family stability and nurtured communal pride? Will she continue that work and, in doing so, unite the whole House in that mission?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

I thank my right hon. Friend for that, and also thank him for all the work that we did together when he was a Home Office Minister. He worked very hard to ensure that what I believe is an extremely important and pioneering piece of legislation, the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, went through this House. I am very happy to welcome the fact that we now have that low number of workless households in this country. We all know that children brought up in a household where there is work are more likely to do better at school, and more likely to succeed further in their life. Reducing the number of workless households is an important aim, and one that I would have hoped could be accepted and championed across this whole House.

Lord Austin of Dudley Portrait Ian Austin (Dudley North) (Ind)
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Q15. May I start by associating myself completely with the final answer that the Prime Minister gave to the Leader of the Opposition about his need to consider his future? It is absolutely clear to me that the vast majority of Labour MPs agree with her. Hundreds of people have come to my community meetings in the last few weeks. They are worried about antisocial behaviour, car crime, burglaries and violent crime. They want more police on the streets and more criminals locked up, so will the Prime Minister urge her successor to make sure that West Midlands police gets all the support it needs to keep people in Dudley safe? [912158]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

First, I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on his appointment as trade envoy to Israel. He has done a lot of work on antisemitism, and should be congratulated on it. We have been ensuring that we put more money into police forces: around £1 billion extra is available to police forces this year, and many police forces around the country are recruiting more officers. On the theme with which the hon. Gentleman started his question, I imagine that to him and to others it is a matter of great sadness that the Leader of the Opposition took the Labour party through voting against extra money for the police, and against extra powers for the police.

Victoria Prentis Portrait Victoria Prentis (Banbury) (Con)
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Some 31 people were killed in Idlib yesterday, and many tens of thousands of people were displaced—again. I thank the Prime Minister for her personal commitment to Syria, and to international development more widely. I would like her to join me in reassuring the people of Syria that all of us here will continue to remember them.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:49 p.m.

First, I commend my hon. Friend’s work in setting up Singing for Syrians, which has been raising funds for people in Syria, and the commitment that she has shown to the people of Syria. We remain, and the Conservative Government will remain, committed to working for a political solution in Syria that can provide the stability and security that the people of Syria deserve.

Lord Dodds of Duncairn Portrait Nigel Dodds (Belfast North) (DUP)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

24 Jul 2019, 12:51 p.m.

I join others in thanking the Prime Minister for her years of public service as Home Secretary and as the Prime Minister, for the thoroughly decent, dedicated, honourable way she has carried out all her our duties, and for the very courteous and proper way she has dealt with us as a party. Working together, we have ensured that there actually is a Conservative and Unionist Government of the United Kingdom, which will please many in the House. I will also please Labour Members by saying that we have ensured that there is no early general election.

Now that the Prime Minister has more time on her hands with her dear husband, Philip, I urge her to come to Northern Ireland and avail herself of the many walking opportunities there. She will have seen the wonderful Open championship this weekend in Royal Portrush, which was a credit to Northern Ireland and to the United Kingdom. The warm hospitality of the people of Northern Ireland was on show, and it is open to her as well.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:51 p.m.

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for the discussions we have had and the support he has continued to give to the Conservative and Unionist party so that there is a Conservative and Unionist Government in this country. I thank him for the warm invitation to Northern Ireland he has given to me and Philip. I have enjoyed my visits to Northern Ireland. I congratulate all those in Northern Ireland who were involved in putting on the Open championship at Portrush. There was a slight issue with the weather, which may have favoured those who came close to the top of the championship, but it was an excellent championship, and many people will have seen the delights and benefits of Northern Ireland when they attended that event.

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset) (Con)
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24 Jul 2019, 12:52 p.m.

As somebody who has not invariably seen eye-to-eye with the Prime Minister, may I thank her for her remarkable public service, for showing that highest of virtues, a sense of duty and, on top of that, for being willing to deal with enormous courtesy with people who must on occasions have been annoying to her? On behalf of many people, I thank the Prime Minister.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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Can I say—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

24 Jul 2019, 12:52 p.m.

Order. Fortunately, because the hon. Gentleman’s voice carries, I was able to hear his question, but I am at least as interested to hear the answer

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I thank my hon. Friend for his remarks. This place is about debate, argument and discussion about the issues that we all believe in so passionately and that matter to us all. Those debates and discussions are best held when they are held with respect and courtesy. I thank my hon. Friend for the courtesy that he has shown to me in our discussions together. I look forward to probably continuing some of those discussions when I join him on the Back Benches.

Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD)
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24 Jul 2019, 12:53 p.m.

When I think of girls growing up in East Dunbartonshire, I know it is inspiring for them to see women in positions of power, whether that is as First Minister of Scotland or as Prime Minister of our United Kingdom. What advice does the Prime Minister have for women throughout the country on how to deal with those men who think they could do a better job but are not prepared to do the actual work?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:55 p.m.

My advice to all women is to be true to yourself, persevere, keep going and be true to the vision that you are working for. I congratulate the hon. Lady on her election as leader of her party. I am pleased that we have a Member representing a Scottish constituency who is a leader of a United Kingdom party. That goes to show that we are one United Kingdom, and MPs from the four nations of our Union sit in this House on the basis of equality. I also congratulate the hon. Lady on becoming the first woman to lead her party. As I stand down, I am pleased to be able to hand the baton on to another female leader of a political party.

As I look around the Chamber, I have to say that we almost have a full set. My party has had two women leaders, the Liberal Democrats now have a woman leader, and the SNP has a woman leader, as does the DUP, Plaid and the Greens. Even—[Interruption.] Wait for it. Even the independent TIGger group, Change UK, or whatever they are calling themselves this week, are now on to their second woman leader. There is only one party in this House letting the side down: the Labour party.

Helen Whately Portrait Helen Whately (Faversham and Mid Kent) (Con)
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24 Jul 2019, 12:56 p.m.

I thank my right hon. Friend for all she has done for women in Parliament and in this country, from co-founding Women2Win to tackling domestic abuse and modern slavery and legislating to make our society more equal. Will she urge her successor to build on her work and make Britain the best place in the world to be a woman?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:56 p.m.

I am very happy to urge that commitment for the future. I thank my hon. Friend for raising that issue. I am very pleased that under my Government, we have seen the gender pay gap at a record low, female employment at a record high and a record percentage of women on executive boards. With our women’s empowerment road map, we are now looking at how we can empower women in this country from school to retirement. I want women in this country to feel that there are no limits to how far they can go and what they can do with their lives.

Yvette Cooper Portrait Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) (Lab)
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We have disagreed on many things over the years, but the Prime Minister knows that I have long respected her resilience, commitment to public duty and seriousness, as well as her work on national security. I assure her that there is much to be done from the Back Benches. She knows that I once said to her that I believed she was not the kind of person who would take this country into a chaotic no-deal scenario, not least because of the advice she had had on the risks to our national security. I am fearful about her successor, so can she reassure me that she really thinks, in her heart, that her successor will take those national security warnings as seriously as she has? If he does not, in October, will she speak out?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 12:58 p.m.

First, I have every confidence that my successor will take all the issues that he needs to look at in making these decisions and others across Government as seriously as they need to be taken. I also say to her—I am sorry, but I will say this—that she is absolutely right that I have always said that I believe it is better for this country to leave with a good deal, and I believe we negotiated a good deal. I voted three times in this House for a good deal. I spoke to the right hon. Lady about this issue. If she was so concerned about the security aspect of no deal, she should have voted for the deal.

Cheryl Gillan Portrait Dame Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham) (Con)
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In every aspect of her public life, the Prime Minister has put her heart and soul into giving people the best chance in life. Without understanding, autistic people and their families, who number 2.8 million in the UK, are all at risk of being isolated and developing mental health problems. In thanking the Prime Minister for all the work she has done in furthering the debate surrounding mental health and removing the stigma, may I ask her whether, after she has left the Front Bench to spend more meaningful time with her husband Philip, she will join the all-party parliamentary group on autism and become a champion and advocate for autistic people throughout the country?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I thank my right hon. Friend for her question and for the groundbreaking work she did on the Autism Act 2009. That legislation helped to raise people’s awareness of the issues experienced by those on the autistic spectrum and greatly increased our understanding of what we need to do to enable people with autism to lead fulfilling lives. There are many issues in which I want to take an interest when I am on the Back Benches and this, along with mental health more widely, is something that I will want to continue to look at. I have committed to taking the autism training that the all-party group has made available for Members of Parliament.

Mr Speaker
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24 Jul 2019, 1 p.m.

Finally, I call the Mother of the House, Harriet Harman.

Harriet Harman Portrait Ms Harriet Harman (Camberwell and Peckham) (Lab)
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24 Jul 2019, 1:01 p.m.

It is always a historic moment when a Prime Minister leaves office, especially when the country faces such difficult times ahead, as we do, but the right hon. Lady’s departure marks another milestone, because although we are on to our 77th Prime Minister now, she is only the second woman ever to have held that office. She made tackling human trafficking and the horrors of domestic violence a priority at the heart of her Government, and in that respect her legacy is secure, because everyone in this House backs that work and we will all be committed to taking it forward.

Even the Prime Minister’s harshest critics must recognise her integrity, her commitment to public service and her dedication to this country. Those are qualities that none of us should ever take for granted, but may I offer her a word of sisterly advice? Sometimes, you just have to be a bit more careful when a man wants to hold your hand. I thank her for her service as our Prime Minister, and I sincerely wish her all the very best for the future.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Jul 2019, 1:03 p.m.

I thank the right hon. and learned Lady for her question. She joined this House in 1982 when there was a female Prime Minister, but there were very few other women in this House. She has played a very important role—one of which she can be proud—in ensuring that more women come into this House as Labour Members of Parliament. She started something that began to change the face of this House, which has been very important. I came here in 1997 as one of only 13 Conservative women—indeed, one Labour Member of Parliament approached me to encourage me to sign a private Member’s Bill list because he assumed that, as a woman, I must have been a Labour Member of Parliament. I am also proud to have played my part in getting more women MPs in this House. I am sure that among the women in this House today there is a future Prime Minister—perhaps more than one.

Later today, as I said earlier, I will return to the Back Benches. It will be my first time on the Back Benches in 21 years, so it will be quite a change from standing here at the Dispatch Box. I am told that over the past three years I have answered more than 4,500 questions over 140 hours in this House—more than I might have expected. In future, I look forward to asking the questions. We are, as the right hon. and learned Lady says, living through extraordinary political times. This House of Commons is rightly at the centre of those events, and that is because of the vital link between every single Member of this House and the communities—the commons—that we represent. That is the bedrock of our parliamentary democracy and of our liberty, and each one of us, wherever we sit and whatever we stand for, can take pride in that. That duty to serve my constituents will remain my greatest motivation. [Applause.]

Lord Austin of Dudley Portrait Ian Austin
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On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Oral Answers to Questions

Theresa May Excerpts
Wednesday 10th July 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Cabinet Office
Alex Sobel Portrait Alex Sobel (Leeds North West) (Lab/Co-op)
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Q1. If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 10 July. [911832]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister (Mrs Theresa May)
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10 Jul 2019, 11:59 a.m.

This morning I have spoken to Sir Kim Darroch. I have told him that it is a matter of great regret that he has felt it necessary to leave his position as ambassador in Washington. The whole Cabinet rightly gave its full support to Sir Kim on Tuesday. Sir Kim has given a lifetime of service to the United Kingdom, and we owe him an enormous debt of gratitude. Good government depends on public servants being able to give full and frank advice, and I want all our public servants to have the confidence to be able to do that. I hope that the House will reflect on the importance of defending our values and principles, particularly when they are under pressure.

The whole House will want to join me in sending our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Tammy Minshall, the student paramedic who was killed in a traffic accident last week while on duty. This is a reminder of the members of all our emergency services who risk their lives each day on our behalf.

This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall have further such meetings later today.

Alex Sobel Portrait Alex Sobel
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10 Jul 2019, 12:04 p.m.

First, I associate myself with the comments regarding the tragic accident last week.

I am pleased to see the Prime Minister is wearing green. I hope it is not merely a greenwash, as I welcome the Government legislating for net zero by 2050. Before they did that, when the target was weaker, the Committee on Climate Change had already reported that they would miss their target, and today it says that the

“policy ambition and implementation now fall well short of what is required”.

Targets are helpful, but what we need is policies that actually deliver. Clearly the Prime Minister wants to leave a climate legacy, so will she bring forward the ban on diesel and petrol cars from 2040 to 2030 or sooner, and when will she end her Government’s opposition to cheap onshore wind power?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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In fact, we have an excellent record on dealing with climate change as a Government. We outperformed on our first and second carbon budgets, from 2008 to 2017; we are on track to meet the third, and the latest projections suggest that we are on track to deliver more than 90% of our required performance for the fourth and fifth carbon budgets; and we are the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050. The UK is leading the world on climate change; I want other countries to follow our example.

Jack Brereton Portrait Jack Brereton (Stoke-on-Trent South) (Con)
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Q6. North Staffordshire used to have one of the most extensive rail networks in the world, but now people in Stoke-on-Trent often have to rely on their cars. Will the Prime Minister join me in my petition to reopen Meir station in my constituency, as the next step to improving our local transport? [911837]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, 12:06 p.m.

I know my hon. Friend has been campaigning on this matter for some time and has met Ministers to discuss it. I understand that the area is about to benefit from refurbished modern trains on the Crewe to Derby line from December this year, as part of the new east midlands rail franchise. The Department for Transport will have heard my hon. Friend’s call to reopen the station at Meir, and I know that he will continue to campaign on behalf of all his constituents.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab)
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10 Jul 2019, 12:07 p.m.

I too regret the resignation of Sir Kim Darroch. I think the comments made about him are beyond unfair and wrong. He has given honourable and good service, and he should be thanked for it. The whole House should join together in deeply regretting his feeling that he has to resign.

I join the Prime Minister in passing condolences to the family of Tammy Minshall, who died providing emergency services to our people.

Many people welcomed the powerful points the Prime Minister made when she was first appointed about burning injustices in Britain. Does she agree that access to justice is vital in order to tackle burning injustices?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, 12:07 p.m.

There are many burning injustices and they can be tackled in a variety of ways. That is the action I have taken not just as Prime Minister but as Home Secretary. I will give the right hon. Gentleman one example: the race disparity audit, which shines a light on inequality in public services, is enabling us to put into place action that helps to ensure that people across this country, whatever their background, have access to the public services they need.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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10 Jul 2019, 12:08 p.m.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Legal Aid and Advice Act 1949. That Act, introduced by the post-war Labour Government, gave all people access to justice, not just the rich, and was an essential pillar of a welfare state and a decent society. The Tory-Lib Dem coalition slashed legal aid in 2013 and the results are clearly very unfair. The number of law centres and other not-for-profit legal aid providers has more than halved, and there are now legal aid deserts across the country. Does the Prime Minister think that has helped or hindered the fight against burning injustices?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, 12:09 p.m.

The point I was making to the right hon. Gentleman, which he seems to fail to recognise, is that the whole question of burning injustice is not about just access to the legal system—[Interruption.] It is all very well Opposition Members shouting about this. If the Labour party really cared about burning injustices, they would have done a darned sight more when they were in power to deal with them.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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10 Jul 2019, 12:09 p.m.

Some people have very short memories; the Tory-Lib Dem coalition cut legal aid but also brought in fees for employment tribunals. The then Minister for employment relations, the hon. Member for East Dunbartonshire (Jo Swinson), piloted that through the House. Since that time, my union, Unison, took the Government to court and won, and, as a result, employment tribunal fees were cancelled. The cuts to legal aid affect people such as Marcus, a 71-year-old on pension credit, a leaseholder who is threatened with being evicted. He says:

“I’ve paid taxes and national insurance all my life. How is it right that when I’m being bullied and threatened with homelessness, the state won’t protect me?”

He goes on to say:

“I’ve been working to 2 am every night for the past six months collecting evidence…I’ve got no idea if I’ve prepared my evidence correctly”.

Doesn’t Marcus, trying to save his own home, deserve legal aid, in order to get proper representation in a court and be fairly heard?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, 12:11 p.m.

Obviously I recognise the concerns that Marcus has about taking his case, but the right hon. Gentleman might reflect on the fact that a quarter of the Ministry of Justice’s budget is spent on legal aid. We spent £1.6 billion on legal aid last year. We are committing to ensuring that people can access the help they need into the future, but that is only one part of the picture. We have published a plan for legal support, to maintain and improve access to support for those in need, and we are conducting a fundamental review of criminal legal aid fee schemes, which will consider criminal legal aid throughout the life cycle of a criminal case. So there are aspects of this issue that we are indeed looking at, but it is important that we ensure that we are careful with the provisions we make for legal aid, and as I say, a quarter of the MOJ budget is spent on legal aid.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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10 Jul 2019, 12:12 p.m.

Just so that everyone is aware of this, Labour is committed to restoring legal aid funding for family law, housing, benefit appeals, judicial review preparation and inquests, and real action on immigration cases. And, as we announced yesterday, we will end the leasehold scandal.

The Department for Work and Pensions is failing disabled people. The MOJ has spent tens of millions of pounds each year defending appeals, over two thirds of which were won by the claimants. Rather than spending millions defending incorrect and often immoral decisions, would that money not have been better used increasing poverty-level benefits and providing legal aid to disabled people wrongly denied their basic dignity?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, 12:13 p.m.

I am not going to take any lectures from the right hon. Gentleman on what this Government have done for disabled people. We are committed to tackling the injustices facing disabled people, so that everyone can go as far their talents will take them. Our spending on support for disabled people and people with health conditions is at a record high. We are seeing many more people—over 900,000 more disabled people—in work as a result of what this Government have done. If he is really interested in tackling injustices, let me tell him that the biggest injustice he should tackle is in his own Labour party—he should deal with antisemitism.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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My party is totally committed to eliminating racism in any form and antisemitism in any form. While the Prime Minister is about the lecturing, how about the investigation into Islamophobia in her party? [Interruption.]

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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10 Jul 2019, 11:55 a.m.

This is one lecture the Prime Minister might not want to take from me, but she might care to listen to what the United Nations said when it condemned the UK Government for their “grave” and “systematic violations” of the rights of disabled people. The Windrush scandal has resulted in the Government having to allocate £200 million in compensation to people wrongly deported from this country and denied services, with their lives totally pulled apart. These are people who have given their life to this country and our services. Does she think that scandal would have happened if legal aid had not been slashed by the Government and so many of those people had not been denied any representation in court?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, 12:14 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman really needs to think rather more carefully about his arguments. Let us look at the issue of people of the Windrush generation. I have apologised for what happened to people of the Windrush generation. I have been very clear that they are British, they are here and they have a right to be here, and that these things should not have happened. We have apologised for the mistakes that have been made.

The right hon. Gentleman raises issues relating to people who were incorrectly deported. The initial historical review looked at around 11,800 detentions and removals and identified 18 people who were most likely to have been wrongly deported or removed. Of those, six were removed or detained under the last Labour Government.

The way the right hon. Gentleman talks, we would think he was a man of principle, but what do we actually see from him? Labour policy is to ban non-disclosure agreements, but his staff have to sign them. He was an anti-racist; now he ignores antisemitism. He has been a Eurosceptic all his life; now he backs remain. He is truly living up to the words of Marx: “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them, well, I have others”—

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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10 Jul 2019, 12:16 p.m.

rose—

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

10 Jul 2019, 12:16 p.m.

I know the right hon. Gentleman is keen to get to the Dispatch Box when the name Marx is mentioned. I was merely going to point out to him that those were the words not of Karl but of Groucho.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

10 Jul 2019, 12:17 p.m.

Coming from the Prime Minister who created the hostile environment that brought about the Windrush scandal, who ordered “Go home” vans to drive around London, who refuses to acknowledge Islamophobia in her own party, and whose party consorts with racists and antisemites in the European Parliament and sucks up to those Governments across Europe, we do not need those kinds of lectures.

One legal aid firm said:

“We see people more desperate and in more extreme need than they were five years ago, and there is nowhere to send them. Those people are invisible to the system.”

That is a denial of people’s basic rights. The United Nations says that legal aid cuts have

“overwhelmingly affected the poor and people with disabilities”.

Without equal access to justice, there is no justice. Today, in modern Britain, millions are denied justice because they do not have the money. Isn’t that a disgrace? Isn’t that a burning injustice?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, 12:18 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman may do his best to ignore the antisemitism in his party, but I think—[Hon. Members: “Answer the question!”] I think he should listen to the words of the former Labour party general secretary, the noble Lord Triesman, who said:

“We may one day be the party of anti-racism once again but it certainly isn’t today.”

The right hon. Gentleman has asked questions about injustice; let me tell him about an injustice. It is an injustice when you force people who are working hard day and night to earn an income for their family to pay more taxes because of a Labour party economic policy in government that led to the destruction of our economy. What do we see from the Labour party? You earn more; they want you to pay more tax. You buy a home; they want you to pay more tax. You want to leave something to your children; they want you to pay more tax—Labour’s £9 billion family tax. Labour used to have a slogan of “Education, education, education”; now, it is just “Tax, tax, tax. Injustice, injustice, injustice.”

Kirstene  Hair  (Angus) (Con)
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Q8.   I am a Unionist with every fibre of my being, which is why I was so aghast to hear Nicola Sturgeon’s colleagues talking about their wish to railroad through an independence referendum without a section 30 order—at a time when public services in Scotland are mismanaged and need that desperate resource, and with an economy that has stagnated. They are continually pursuing policies that cut off the circulation of our United Kingdom at Berwick, and not because they are in the interests of Scotland. Will the Prime Minister join me in condemning this illegal referendum approach and push the SNP to prioritise the areas that are actually in the interests of the people of Scotland? [911839]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, 12:21 p.m.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The SNP promised people in Scotland in 2014 that the independence referendum was a once-in-a-generation vote. Now it is laying the foundation for another vote in just 18 months’ time. SNP Members often claim—they stand up and claim it here in this House—that Scotland is being ignored. It is being ignored by an SNP Government, obsessed with another referendum against the wishes of a clear majority of Scots. I agree with my hon. Friend that people in Scotland want a Scottish Government who focus on improving their schools, improving their health service and improving their economy—not one obsessed by separation.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) (SNP)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

10 Jul 2019, 12:21 p.m.

I must say, every time the Prime Minister speaks in Scotland, our vote goes up.

Today is Srebrenica Memorial Day. I trust that everyone in this House will want to recognise the unbelievable sacrifice that so many faced. Yesterday, I met some of the survivors of genocide. We must do all we can to make sure that we call out the genocide-deniers, and that we learn the lessons from man’s inhumanity to man that we witnessed in the continent of Europe. Never again should that happen in Europe, or anywhere else.

May I join the Prime Minister in her words to Kim Darroch? It is a pity that the former Foreign Secretary, the candidate for leadership of the Tory party, did not stand up for our leading diplomat in the United States yesterday.

I also pay tribute to Winnie Ewing, who has her 90th birthday today. She is the only parliamentarian to sit in this House, in the Scottish Parliament and in the European Parliament. We remember the words of Winnie:

“Stop the world, Scotland wants to get on.”

Mark Carney has said that the UK economy does not appear to be growing. Danny Blanchflower, one of the few to predict the financial crisis in 2008, has said:

“The early evidence suggests the UK is already in a recession.”

The dark clouds of Brexit are with us. Will the Prime Minister continue to ignore all the warning signs of recession?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

10 Jul 2019, 12:23 p.m.

First, in relation to Srebrenica, I absolutely agree with the right hon. Gentleman. Every time we see a massacre of this sort, we hope that humanity will learn from it. Sadly, all too often we see that that is not the case. I was at the Western Balkans summit last Friday in Poland, working with the countries of the western Balkans, encouraging them and working with them to find peaceful ways of working together so that we can ensure that those countries see political stability and prosperity for their people in the future.

The right hon. Gentleman then talked about the state of the UK economy. I am very pleased to see that we actually have the best record in the G7 in terms of growth. We have the longest period of growth of any of the countries in the G7. We also have record numbers of people in employment, a record low in unemployment, and investment in our economy. This is an economy that is doing well, but it could really take off, and it would have done if the right hon. Gentleman had actually voted for Brexit and voted for the deal that we put to this House.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Perhaps we should look at the facts: we have record food bank use; Ernst and Young tells us that the Brexit bill so far for financial services companies alone is as much as £4 billion; foreign investment projects into the UK have dropped 14%, the lowest level in six years; car production fell 15.5% in May, the 12th straight month of decline; UK retail sales have experienced their “worst June on record”; and the near stagnation of the services sector in June is one of the worst performances we have seen over the past decade. We have the evidence, Prime Minister, on how your legacy will be driving the UK economy over the cliff into another recession. Has not this Prime Minister sacrificed the jobs and livelihoods of people across the UK in order to please her Brexiteer Back Benchers? Take no deal off the table, and take positive action to restore confidence in the economy. The blame for any recession will lie at the door of this Brexit-obsessed Government, who are incapable of doing their day job.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

The right hon. Gentleman talks about the car industry; I am sorry that, in referencing that industry, he did not reference the fact that in the last week we have seen the announcement by Jaguar Land Rover that it is going to manufacture electric vehicles in Castle Bromwich, preserving 2,700 jobs at the plant. We have also seen BMW announce that it is going to manufacture the electric Mini in its Oxford plant, preserving 5,000 jobs in that plant.

The right hon. Gentleman knows that he could have taken no deal off the table by voting for the deal. But if he wants to talk about economic forecasts and the future of economies, perhaps he should give a little more reflection to the fact that the forecasts for Scotland show that its economy will grow more slowly than the rest of the United Kingdom over the next four years—under an SNP Government in Scotland.

Chris Green Portrait Chris Green (Bolton West) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q9. Cross-party work can be immensely beneficial, especially when delivering on the people’s priorities. Does my right hon. Friend agree that an excellent example is Farnworth and Kearsley First’s work with the Bolton Council leadership—which is now Conservative—to win an award for a future high streets fund? We can all agree that our high streets are the keystone of our local communities. [911840]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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My hon. Friend makes an absolutely excellent point. What we have seen in the example that he has cited is the benefit of cross-party working. This can be immensely good—immensely positive—for local communities. I am delighted to hear that Bolton Council’s bid for Farnworth town centre has been successful in progressing to the next phase of the future high streets fund. My hon. Friend is right: we believe in our high streets—that is why we have created the high streets fund. This cross-party working by Conservative-led Bolton Council has shown what can be achieved.

Alex Cunningham Portrait Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) (Lab)
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Q2. Children as young as seven have been groomed and exploited to commit crimes, such as placing drugs inside their bodies to move them across the country, yet they are often treated as criminals, not victims. There is also a sad lack of support for them: two thirds of councils have no plan for tackling this kind of exploitation and just half collect the data on those at risk. If the Prime Minister wants to secure any legacy on tackling modern-day slavery, will she instruct the Home Secretary to develop a cross-departmental strategy to tackle this despicable crime and end the criminalisation of these vulnerable youngsters? [911833]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, 12:28 p.m.

We are indeed continuing our work on tackling modern slavery. I was pleased that the Government responded yesterday to the independent review of the Modern Slavery Act; we have taken on board the majority of the recommendations from that independent review. That includes, of course, looking at the independent child guardians—a concept that we created—and how they can give support.

The issue that the hon. Gentleman references of the criminalisation of those forced to undertake criminal activities was addressed in the Modern Slavery Act when it was put through this House, but we continue to look at what more we can do to ensure that we are bringing an end to that crime—not just in the UK, but internationally as well.

Sarah Newton (Truro and Falmouth) (Con)
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Due to extreme pressure on services across Cornwall, leaders of our health and care services have declared a critical incident. The pressure has impacted on the Royal Cornwall Hospital in particular. That is extremely worrying for all families across Cornwall who rely on Treliske. Will my right hon. Friend assure me that she will do everything she can to enable Health Ministers to support leaders in Cornwall to resolve the situation as soon as possible?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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Obviously, this is a very important issue for my hon. Friend and her constituents. We are aware of the issues at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, and we know that the hospital is taking steps to rectify them. Of course, last winter Cornwall Council was supported with over £2 million of additional funding to help alleviate the pressures on the local NHS trust, but I can assure my hon. Friend that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health is going to meet MPs to discuss this matter and recognises the importance of this issue for my hon. Friend’s constituents.

Sandy Martin (Ipswich) (Lab)
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Q3. In the run-up to the 2010 general election, the Conservatives in my constituency claimed that no children’s centres would close, and yet, within a matter of months, they were closing them and downgrading those that remained. Now Suffolk County Council is proposing to close half of those that remain, leaving just four full-time children’s centres in Ipswich out of the original nine. So will the Prime Minister tell us what sort of guarantees the Government can give on any future policies that they want the British people to believe? [911834]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, 12:30 p.m.

Obviously, we recognise the importance of ensuring that children have access to high-quality care. We have been putting extra money into social care, including for children. But it is also about the sorts of services that are delivered. It is important for us that we have taken a number of steps to improve the facilities that are available for looking after children in communities where those children require that—for example, the standards we have set for social workers. We do see the number of children’s services that are rated “outstanding” growing across the country. I think that is important; that is a Government who are actually looking at the issues that matter to parents and to children.

Craig Mackinlay Portrait Craig Mackinlay (South Thanet) (Con)
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10 Jul 2019, 12:31 p.m.

My right hon. Friend may be aware that live animal export season out of Ramsgate port is, shamefully, in full swing, with a further shipment due out tomorrow. Does she agree that long-distance live animal exports, particularly across the channel to an unknown future, should not form part of any future post-Brexit agricultural policy, when we can be free of single market strictures that treat animals as mere goods?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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Obviously, my hon. Friend has raised an issue that I know is of concern to a lot of people. We are committed to maintaining our high standards on animal welfare, and food standards, once we have left the European Union. We will be replacing, of course, the EU’s common agricultural policy. What we will be doing is enabling ourselves, by being outside the European Union, to take decisions for ourselves, so we will be able to determine needs. That is an important first step towards a better future for farming—for our natural world. It is important for us to be able to do that and to maintain the high standards and quality standards for which we have a very good reputation across the world.

Karin Smyth Portrait Karin Smyth (Bristol South) (Lab)
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Q4. Head teachers and parents in Bristol South tell me that the lack of schools funding is impacting significantly on children with special educational needs, in addition to the wider impact on teaching across schools. Both the Prime Minister’s potential successors now acknowledge that schools are underfunded and have promised more money. Does she agree that that welcome new funding should be targeted at our most vulnerable children? [911835]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, 12:33 p.m.

As the hon. Lady knows, we are already putting more money into our schools. We are already putting more funding into special educational needs. I recognise the importance of ensuring that special educational needs are properly catered for, and that the needs of those children can be properly supported. That is why I am proud of the fact that we have been putting more money into our schools. What is also important, of course, for schools is what standards of education are provided within those schools—[Interruption.] Well, the hon. Lady talks about teaching. Yes, teaching is an important element of that, and we thank all our teachers, both in mainstream schools and in special educational needs schools, for the work that they do, day in and day out. I am pleased that we are seeing improved standards in our schools. That means more young people, whether they are in mainstream schools or with special education needs, having an opportunity to go far in life.

Ben Bradley Portrait Ben Bradley (Mansfield) (Con)
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10 Jul 2019, 12:33 p.m.

The consequences of not leaving the European Union are profound, from the loss of trust in our democracy and institutions to the economic impact of civil unrest. Can my right hon. Friend help to dispel the myth peddled by some in this House that we could simply go back to the way things were, and could she share what assessment the Government have made of these risks?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend that it is imperative for this House to deliver on the vote of the British people in 2016. I have said that on many occasions, standing at this Dispatch Box and elsewhere. I think it is important that we do that. We could already have done that—I am sorry, but I am going to return to this theme. We could already have done that, had this House supported the deal. It will be up to my successor to find a way through this to get a majority in this Parliament, but I agree that it is important that we do deliver trust in politics by saying to people, “We gave you the choice, you told us your decision, and we will now deliver on it.”

Justin Madders Portrait Justin Madders (Ellesmere Port and Neston) (Lab)
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Q5. Vauxhall Motors in my constituency has a future if we can avoid crashing out of the EU without a deal, but my constituents are very concerned to hear in recent weeks the Prime Minister’s potential successors talk up the prospects of a no-deal Brexit. Will she tell them both in no uncertain terms that if they pursue that option, they will consign thousands of jobs in my constituency and beyond to history? [911836]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, midnight

The hon. Gentleman could have voted to save jobs in his constituency—[Interruption.] It is no good Labour MPs trying to deny this. They had the opportunity three times to vote to leave with a deal, and three times they rejected it.

Theresa Villiers Portrait Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet) (Con)
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Many of my constituents deeply oppose the Mayor of London’s plans to build over station car parks at High Barnet, Cockfosters and Finchley Central. Will the Prime Minister urge the Mayor to drop those plans, which would only make life harder for long-suffering commuters who just want to get to work and provide for their families?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, midnight

I am sure my right hon. Friend appreciates the emphasis that the Government have put on more homes being built. We want to meet the ambition for 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s—it is a top priority for us—and London is a crucial part of achieving that. While it is important to get the homes built, it is also vital that the impact on the local community is properly assessed when planning decisions are made. We want to see more homes. They need to be built in the right place, and local concerns need to be properly taken into account.

Deidre Brock Portrait Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith) (SNP)
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Q7. The all-party parliamentary group on electoral campaigning transparency is fairly new, but it is already very clear to us that something is rotten in the state of UK. The Prime Minister is legacy-shopping, so let me help. Will she commit to a clean-up of our election campaigning, as a truly dignified legacy upon leaving office? She has refused to reveal her Government’s spending with Cambridge Analytica and AggregateIQ. Before she leaves, will she change tack and start a new era in which elections and referendums cannot be so easily rigged? [911838]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, midnight

I have answered the question in relation to Cambridge Analytica on a number of occasions, and it has been answered in writing to her by the appropriate Minister. Elections in this country are not rigged, as she puts it. The referendum was not rigged. These are the views of the British people who go to the ballot box and put their votes forward. If she is so interested in ensuring that democracy is respected, she needs to ensure that she votes for a deal, so that we can deliver on the 2016 referendum.

Robert Courts Portrait Robert Courts (Witney) (Con)
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The Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust is an academy schools trust that operates across the Witney and Maidenhead constituencies. Will the Prime Minister join me in celebrating its successes, such as at Holyport Primary School in her constituency and “outstanding” rated Brize Norton Primary School in my constituency? Does she agree that that is an example of how academisation can really work in rural constituencies like ours?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, midnight

I am happy to join my hon. Friend in congratulating the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust on its success. I am also happy to congratulate Holyport Primary School on the recognition it has received as a good school and Brize Norton Primary in his constituency, which was rated outstanding. It shows that smaller schools in rural areas can provide an excellent quality of education and that the academy movement can provide for those schools and those children. It goes back to the point I made earlier: what matters is the quality of education our children receive, and in Holyport and Brize Norton, they are receiving a first-class education.

Gareth Snell (Stoke-on-Trent Central) (Lab/Co-op)
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Q10. This week, the Stoke-on-Trent Hardship Commission published its report, which demonstrated that income, education and employment were the driving factors of poverty in our city. I have sent the Prime Minister a copy, and I invite her to read it. Will she use what time and authority she has left in office to look at fixing universal credit, funding our schools and our further education colleges properly and raising the national living wage for under-25s, so that collectively, we can deal with the root causes of poverty? [911841]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, midnight

The hon. Gentleman raised a number of issues. As he will know, I believe that universal credit is a better system than the legacy system we inherited from the last Labour Government. It helps people into the workplace and ensures that, as they earn more, they are able to keep more of that money. On the back of the Augar review, which looked at post-18 education, I have indicated that I think it is important that we ensure that our further education colleges are funded and are able to provide an alternative route through education for those young people for whom that is right.

Trudy Harrison Portrait Trudy Harrison (Copeland) (Con)
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10 Jul 2019, 12:40 p.m.

Will my right hon. Friend join me in commending the hard work and dedication of staff at West Cumberland Hospital, the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, the working together group and my fantastic community for their innovation and commitment, which, in addition to the over £100 million of investment from this Conservative Government, mean that consultant-led maternity services will be staying open for future generations?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I pay tribute to my hon. Friend: I know she has been campaigning long and hard on that issue on behalf of her constituents. We welcome the clinical commissioning group’s decision to retain those consultant-led services in west Cumbria. Better Births has established that personalised care means safer care, and greater choice should be made available to women accessing maternity services. They should be able to make decisions about the support they need during birth, and where they would prefer to give birth. I think that a good decision has been taken, and I once again congratulate my hon. Friend on the campaign she has run.

Mary Glindon Portrait Mary Glindon (North Tyneside) (Lab)
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Q11. The Prime Minister’s Government have once more lost in court to a public sector union, the Fire Brigades Union, over pensions. While fighting this case, the Government penalised all public sector workers by suspending pension valuations, meaning poorly paid frontline civil servants, many in the Public and Commercial Services Union, are not only being denied the money they are owed, but are making monthly pension overpayments of 2%. When will the Prime Minister give these loyal workers the money that is rightfully theirs? [911843]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, 12:41 p.m.

Of course, as the hon. Lady has made clear, there has been a case recently in the courts in relation to public sector pensions—on particular aspects of public sector pensions. We will of course have to look at the implications of that judgment across public sector pensions, and it is right that we take our time and that the Government make their decisions based on that careful consideration.

Jack Lopresti Portrait Jack Lopresti (Filton and Bradley Stoke) (Con)
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10 Jul 2019, 12:42 p.m.

I am extremely proud to represent a constituency with world-leading defence manufacturers that underpin our country’s credibility as an ally and strategic partner. Does my right hon. Friend agree with me that, as we contemplate our fantastic future role in the world as an independent, self-governing and sovereign nation, the UK must continue to be a credible partner and ally in an increasingly dangerous world? Does she also agree with me that her successor should commit our country to a fully funded defence budget, so that we can remain a tier 1 military power?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I commend our world-leading defence manufacturers. They are an important industry, not only in creating and supporting jobs here in the United Kingdom, but given the significant exports. It is important that, as that independent, self-governing, sovereign nation, we are a good partner and ally in what is an uncertain world. We always have been that, and we will continue to be that. We continue to meet the NATO requirement of spending 2% of our GDP on defence. We are one of the few NATO countries that does that. We are the biggest European contributor to NATO, and we are the second biggest contributor to NATO. We are a leading military power, and we will remain a leading military power.

Patrick Grady Portrait Patrick Grady (Glasgow North) (SNP)
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Q12. During the right hon. Lady’s premiership, we have marked 100 years since the armistice of the great war, 100 years of women’s suffrage, 70 years of the NHS, the treaty of Rome and the universal declaration on human rights, and 20 years of devolution, and a week on Saturday will mark 50 years since the moon landings, one of the greatest human endeavours ever accomplished. In 50 or 100 years’ time, will history not judge Brexit and her legacy to have been one giant leap backwards for the people of these islands? [911844]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, 12:43 p.m.

No.

David Morris Portrait David Morris (Morecambe and Lunesdale) (Con)
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10 Jul 2019, 12:43 p.m.

The Eden Project wants to come to the north of England—to Morecambe. I would like to have a meeting with the Chancellor and the Prime Minister to talk about putting Eden into Morecambe to make sure it is the jewel in the north-west that it should be.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, 12:44 p.m.

I was not previously aware that the Eden Project wanted to come to Morecambe. I am happy to arrange suitable conversations for my hon. Friend so that he can make that case.

Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury) (Lab)
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Q13. A dental practice in my constituency has this week been forced to close due to unfair NHS dental contracts, leaving yet another neighbourhood without any dental service at all. Residents who urgently need care have had to get treatment from Dentaid, a charity set up to provide dental services in the world’s most deprived countries. Does the Prime Minister accept that the real decay is in the values of a society that does not provide free healthcare to all of its citizens, and that it is her Government who are responsible? When will she keep her promises to my constituents, and guarantee that all of them, wherever they live, can access NHS dental care when they need it? [911845]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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10 Jul 2019, 12:44 p.m.

My understanding was that the CCGs have a responsibility for ensuring the provision of dental care in their area, but I will ask the Department of Health and Social Care to look at that specific case.

Bim Afolami Portrait Bim Afolami (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con)
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10 Jul 2019, 12:45 p.m.

I commend the Prime Minister for her leadership in ensuring that this Government have legislated on the net-zero carbon emissions target for 2050. I am sure she would agree that the next step is to make sure we improve our economy and our living standards, rather than destroying them. I am hosting a conference in my constituency to talk about this issue. Will she agree to be the guest speaker?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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First of all, I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend that such initiatives at a local level are an important part of the wider work we are doing on climate change and on making sure we leave the environment in a better state for the next generation.

I thank my hon. Friend for his invitation, and I will look to see how busy my diary is in the autumn. [Interruption.] Well, you never know. I may have a bit more free time in the autumn. This is an important issue, and I commend him for taking this initiative at a local level, because raising awareness of climate change at a local level is important for all of us.

Mr Speaker
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10 Jul 2019, 12:46 p.m.

It is certainly an innovative approach to the issue of invitations, upon which the hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Bim Afolami) is doubtless to be complimented.

Hugh Gaffney (Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill) (Lab)
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Q14. There are nearly 50 dog attacks on UK postal workers every week, which is why I back the Communication Workers Union’s dog awareness week campaign this week. I hope the Prime Minister will join me in both supporting dog awareness week and in recognising that the law is not currently fit for purpose.Will the Prime Minister support Royal Mail and Parcelforce postal workers by launching an independent review of the effectiveness of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and of dog control more widely? [911846]