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)|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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? 
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
Break in Debate
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? 
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?
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?
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? 
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? 
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?
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.
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? 
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?
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? 
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?
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? 
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?
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. 
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.
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? 
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?
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? 
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?
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? 
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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? 
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?
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?
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?
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?
Break in Debate
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?
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?
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? 
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?
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.
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. 
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? 
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?
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? 
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?
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? 
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?
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? 
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?
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? 
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?
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? 
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?
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? 
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?
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? 
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.
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? 
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?
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?