Theresa May debates involving the Wales Office

There have been 11 exchanges involving Theresa May and the Wales Office

Wed 3rd June 2020 Oral Answers to Questions 3 interactions (78 words)
Wed 27th February 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 74 interactions (3,333 words)
Wed 23rd January 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 63 interactions (3,008 words)
Wed 24th October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 73 interactions (3,825 words)
Wed 18th July 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 79 interactions (3,652 words)
Wed 13th June 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 85 interactions (3,792 words)
Wed 2nd May 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 69 interactions (3,552 words)
Wed 14th March 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 65 interactions (3,297 words)
Wed 8th March 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 57 interactions (2,794 words)
Wed 30th November 2016 Oral Answers to Questions 57 interactions (3,085 words)
Wed 19th October 2016 Oral Answers to Questions 72 interactions (3,510 words)

Oral Answers to Questions

Theresa May Excerpts
Wednesday 3rd June 2020

(9 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Wales Office
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
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3 Jun 2020, midnight

I think that the hon. Gentleman may have missed some of the earlier answers I have given, but he is wrong when he says that this Government were somehow forced to publish a review. This Government commissioned the review because we take it incredibly seriously. It is our review, and yes, I do think it intolerable that covid falls in such a discriminatory way on different groups and different communities in our country, and that is why we are going to ensure that our Minister for Equalities takes up that report and sees what practical steps we need to take to protect those minorities.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs Theresa May (Maidenhead) (Con)
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3 Jun 2020, 12:01 a.m.

My right hon. Friend has rightly been focusing on keeping people safe, but that task goes beyond covid-19, so can he give me the reassurance that as from 1 January 2021, the UK will have access to the quantity and quality of data that it currently has through Prüm, passenger name records, the European Criminal Records Information System and SIS—Schengen Information System—II, none of which, I believe, should require the European Court of Justice jurisdiction in the UK?

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
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3 Jun 2020, midnight

That depends, I am afraid, on the outcome of our negotiations, as my right hon. Friend knows well, but I am absolutely confident that our friends and partners will see sense and the great mutual benefit in continuing to collaborate in exactly the way that we do.

Oral Answers to Questions

Theresa May Excerpts
Wednesday 27th February 2019

(2 years ago)

Commons Chamber

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Wales Office
Virendra Sharma Portrait Mr Virendra Sharma (Ealing, Southall) (Lab)
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Q1. If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 27 February. [909472]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister (Mrs Theresa May)
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27 Feb 2019, 12:03 p.m.

May I first say that the UK is deeply concerned about rising tensions between India and Pakistan and urgently calls for restraint on both sides to avoid further escalation? We are in regular contact with both countries urging dialogue and diplomatic solutions to ensure regional stability. We are working closely with international partners, including through the UN Security Council, to de-escalate tensions and are monitoring developments closely and considering implications for British nationals.

Mr Speaker, I understand that Eve Griffith-Okai in your office retires at the end of the week. She has worked for four Speakers and I am sure that the whole House will want to join me in wishing her the very best for the future.

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.

Virendra Sharma Portrait Mr Sharma
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I thank the Prime Minister for her initial response. In the face of her total failure to secure the agreement of this House, when will the Prime Minister call time on this farce, extend article 50 and put her deal versus remain back to the people?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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27 Feb 2019, 12:04 p.m.

First, I made a statement and answered 82 questions on these issues in the House yesterday. We will be bringing the meaningful vote back by 12 March. As I said yesterday, if that meaningful vote is rejected again by the House, we would have a vote in this House on 13 March on whether the House accepts leaving without a deal on 29 March. If the House rejects leaving without a deal on 29 March, there would be a vote on a short, limited extension to article 50. On the hon. Gentleman’s final point, I continue to believe that it is right for us to deliver on the result of the referendum that took place in 2016.

Julian Knight Portrait Julian Knight (Solihull) (Con)
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Q2. The 2017 Birmingham bin strike led to mass fly-tipping across the borough border in my beautiful town of Solihull. With the threat of another strike ever present, will the Prime Minister join me in urging Birmingham City Council to do what often seems to be beyond it—namely, to be a good neighbour and sort out these strikes, which seem to be just a taster of what would happen under a hard-left Labour Government? [909473]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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27 Feb 2019, 12:04 p.m.

Obviously, this is a matter for Labour-controlled Birmingham City Council to resolve: rubbish piling up on the streets because of the failure of the Labour council to get a grip. Not only does it show what a hard-left Labour Government would be like; it shows all of us that, under Labour councils, you pay more and get less.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab)
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27 Feb 2019, 11:58 a.m.

There is an urgent question coming up on Kashmir, but I will just say that from our side of the House we strongly support rapid dialogue between India and Pakistan in order to reduce the tension and deal with the root causes of the conflict before more lives are lost.

I also join the Prime Minister in wishing Eve a very happy retirement, Mr Speaker. She has been absolutely brilliant in your office over the many years of people rushing in and out and making totally unreasonable demands. She has always sorted it out. Could you pass on to her the thanks of lots and lots of Back Benchers over many years?

The Bank of England forecasts that growth for this year will be the slowest in over a decade. Does the Prime Minister blame her shambolic handling of Brexit or her failed austerity policies for this damaging failure?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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27 Feb 2019, 11:58 a.m.

First, I think the right hon. Gentleman should have seen the report that actually showed the expectation that in this country over the coming year we will have higher growth than Germany. He talks about the economy, so let us just say what we see in the economy under a Conservative Government: more people in work than ever before; unemployment at its lowest level since the 1970s; borrowing this year at its lowest level for 17 years; and the largest monthly surplus on record. Conservatives delivering more jobs, healthier finances and an economy fit for the future.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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27 Feb 2019, 11:58 a.m.

I know that the Prime Minister is very busy—I understand that—and she possibly has not had a chance to look at the Bank of England forecasts, which suggest that there is a one in four chance of the UK economy dipping into recession. Manufacturing is already in recession, car manufacturing has declined at the steepest rate for a decade—down 5% in the past quarter alone—and Honda, Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan have announced cuts to either jobs or investment in recent months. Does she blame her shambolic Brexit or her Government’s lack of an industrial strategy for this very sad state of affairs?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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27 Feb 2019, 11:58 a.m.

I have just explained to the right hon. Gentleman the positives in the economy and the consistent quarter-by-quarter growth that we have seen under this Government. What do we know would be the worst thing for the economy in this country? It would be a run on the pound, capital flight and £1,000 billion of borrowing under a Labour Government.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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27 Feb 2019, 11:58 a.m.

As manufacturing industry declines, it is skilled well-paid jobs that are lost. But the Prime Minister is right—there is something that is increasing, and that is the income of the top fifth richest people in this country, which went up by 4.7% last year while the incomes of the poorest fell by 1.6%. With the poorest people worse off, will the Prime Minister now commit to ending the benefit freeze, or does she believe that rising poverty is a price worth paying?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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27 Feb 2019, 12:09 p.m.

Perhaps it might again help to look at some of the facts. The top 1% are paying 28% of income tax, which is higher than at any time under a Labour Government, income inequality is lower than that which we inherited from a Labour Government, and the lowest earners saw their fastest pay rise in 20 years through the national living wage. The Conservatives are building a fairer society and delivering for everyone.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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27 Feb 2019, 12:11 p.m.

Some of us cannot forget that it was the Conservative party that so opposed the principle of the national minimum wage from the very beginning. Perhaps the Government could start by tackling the scourge of low pay in their own Departments. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Ministry of Justice pay some of their central London workers as little as £7.83 an hour, and they have been on strike again this week, hoping to get a London living wage. Will the Prime Minister intervene and ensure that they do get the London living wage so that they can continue doing their valuable work for both those Departments?

Low pay means that many workers have to claim universal credit just to make ends meet. This month, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions admitted that universal credit is driving people to food banks. Is it not time to stop the roll-out and get it right, or does the Prime Minister believe that rising poverty is a price worth paying?

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

No. I am not sure whether the right hon. Gentleman is repeating his previous question, but he talks about universal credit. We have made changes to it as we have rolled it out as we have seen how it has been operating. In my first months as Prime Minister, we cut the taper rate so that people could keep more of what they earn. Since then, we have increased allowances to 100% of a full monthly payment, we have scrapped the seven days’ wait, meaning that people get their money sooner, and we have brought in a two-week overlap for people on housing benefit. When we were making all those changes to universal credit to benefit the people who receive it, why did the Labour party oppose every single one of them?

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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27 Feb 2019, 12:13 p.m.

Can I just give one example of what is happening? Take the food bank in Hastings, which is represented by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, where demand went up by 80% after universal credit was rolled out, and the Trussell Trust said that a significant proportion of referrals are related to benefit changes, delays or sanctions. It is a huge increase in food bank use.

Some 4.1 million of our children are growing up in poverty, and the Resolution Foundation said last week that UK child poverty was on course to hit record levels. Will the Prime Minister act to prevent that? Will she start by ending the two-child limit? Will she end the benefit cap? Will she restore the 1,000 Sure Start centres that have been lost under her Government?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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We want to ensure that we have a welfare system that is fair not only to those who need to use it, but to all the hard-working taxpayers whose taxes actually pay for the welfare system. The right hon. Gentleman talks about child poverty, but absolute child poverty is at a record low. We know that a child growing up in a home where all the adults work is around five times less likely to be in poverty than a child in a home where nobody works. Under this Government, the number of children in workless households is at a record low. So, when the right hon. Gentleman stands up, will he recognise that work is the best route out of poverty and welcome the fact that we now have more people in work than ever before—3.5 million more than in 2010?

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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27 Feb 2019, 12:14 p.m.

It clearly is not working, because so many people who are themselves working very hard, some doing two or even three jobs, have to access food banks just to feed their children. The Prime Minister used to talk about the “just about managing.” Well, they are not managing anymore. Income inequality— up. In-work poverty—up. Child poverty—up. Pensioner poverty—up. Homelessness—up. Austerity clearly is not over. People on low incomes are getting poorer, while those at the top are getting richer. The economy is slowing, manufacturing is in recession and this Government’s shambolic handling of Brexit—[Interruption.]

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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27 Feb 2019, 12:16 p.m.

Austerity clearly is not over. People on low incomes are getting poorer, while those at the top get richer. The economy is slowing, manufacturing is in recession and this Government’s shambolic handling of Brexit is compounding years of damaging austerity. Their policies are driving people to food banks and poverty in the fifth richest economy on this planet. Are any of these burning injustices a priority for the Prime Minister?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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27 Feb 2019, 12:17 p.m.

Manufacturing is not in recession, and what the right hon. Gentleman says about the lowest earners is not the case. If he had listened to my earlier answer, he would know the lowest earners have seen the highest rise in their pay for 20 years as a result of the introduction of the national living wage—the national living wage introduced by a Conservative-led Government.

If the right hon. Gentleman is talking about actually helping people who are in work, let us talk about the fact that we have cut income tax to help people to keep more of what they earn. We have frozen fuel duty to help people for whom a car is a necessity, not a luxury. Since 2010, those measures have saved working people £6,500.

From the way the right hon. Gentleman talks, one might think that he would have supported those measures. But what did he do? No, he voted against them over a dozen times. That is the reality: it is working people who always pay the price of Labour.

Stephen Crabb Portrait Stephen Crabb (Preseli Pembrokeshire) (Con)
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Q5. For rural areas, access to emergency care is hugely important, with distances and journey times crucial. Does the Prime Minister therefore agree with me and the 40,000 Pembrokeshire people who signed the petition against proposals to remove accident and emergency services from the local hospital that the Welsh Government need to look again and ensure that communities such as mine are not left with second-class services that put lives at risk? [909476]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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27 Feb 2019, 12:17 p.m.

I thank my right hon. Friend for raising this issue. Obviously I recognise the concern those people feel, particularly those who live furthest away from the planned new hospital. As he says, health is a devolved matter for the Labour Welsh Government, but I urge them to consider fully the impact of the changes on local residents. We want to ensure that people can access the services they need, wherever they live in the United Kingdom.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) (SNP)
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27 Feb 2019, 12:18 p.m.

I am sure the House will want to join me in welcoming the president of the Dutch Senate and the Dutch parliamentarians who are with us. Goedemiddag. Hartelijk welkom, dames en heren.

Some 100,000 jobs in Scotland are under threat from a no-deal Brexit. The Scottish Government’s top economic adviser has warned that it could create a recession worse than the 2008 financial crisis. The Prime Minister must rule out no deal right here, right now. Why is she still blackmailing the people of this country?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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The right hon. Gentleman might not be surprised if I point out to him that there are only two ways to ensure that no deal is taken off the table. [Interruption.] It is no good SNP Members shaking their heads or muttering from a sedentary position. They need to face up to the fact that we will not revoke article 50 because we are leaving the European Union, so the only way to take no deal off the table is to vote for the deal.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
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27 Feb 2019, 12:20 p.m.

I think it will be for Parliament to decide, and of course there are other options: we can extend article 50 and we can have a people’s vote. The Prime Minister should look at the faces of her colleagues; she is fooling no one. Parliament will not be bullied into a false choice between accepting her very bad deal or no deal at all. MPs from Scotland must now decide: will they stand up for Scotland or will they stand up with the extreme Brexiteers on the Tory Benches? Today, the Scottish National party will move an amendment to rule out no deal in any and all circumstances. Scottish MPs can back the SNP or betray voters in Scotland. Will the Prime Minister finally end this Brexit madness and vote for the SNP amendment tonight?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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The right hon. Gentleman talks about an extension to article 50 or a second referendum, but that does not solve the problem—it does not deal with the issue. The issue is very simple: do we want to leave with a deal or without a deal? That is the question that SNP MPs and every other MP will face when the time comes. He then talks about betraying voters in Scotland. I will tell him what has betrayed voters in Scotland: an SNP Scottish Government who have raised income tax so that people in Scotland are paying more in income tax than people anywhere else in the UK; an SNP Scottish Government who have broken their manifesto promise and raised the cap on annual council tax increases for homeowners; and an SNP Scottish Government under whom people are facing the prospect of an extra tax for parking their car at their workplace. And all of that—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
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27 Feb 2019, 12:21 p.m.

Order. There is a fest of undignified arm-waving, and bellowing, Mr Kerr, from a sedentary position. Calm yourself, man. Take some sort of soothing medicament that you will find beneficial.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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27 Feb 2019, 12:21 p.m.

And all of that in a year in which the Scottish Government’s block grant from Westminster went up. The people betraying the people of Scotland are the SNP Scottish Government.

James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly (Braintree) (Con)
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Q6. Yesterday, we heard of the horrific antisemitic attack on an elderly Jewish gentleman in north London. Tonight, right hon. and hon. colleagues from across the House will be breaking bread with the Community Security Trust, a charity that exists to defend against antisemitic violence. Does my right hon. Friend agree that we can never be blasé about antisemitism, we can never be tolerant of antisemitism, and the Labour party can never be too apologetic about antisemitism? [909477]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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27 Feb 2019, 12:22 p.m.

First, I join my hon. Friend in recognising the work done by the Community Security Trust. It does such important and valuable work throughout the year, and I am pleased that the Government are able to support the work it does. He is absolutely right to say that one can never be too apologetic about antisemitism, but I think what we have heard sums up Labour under its leader: it loses the hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Luciana Berger) and it keeps the hon. Member for Derby North (Chris Williamson). That tells us all we need to know about the Labour leadership: they are present but not involved. Perhaps if the Labour leader actually wants to take action against racism, he would suspend the hon. Member for Derby North.

Layla Moran Portrait Layla Moran (Oxford West and Abingdon) (LD)
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Q3. One homeless person dying—[Interruption.] [909474]

Break in Debate

Layla Moran Portrait Layla Moran
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27 Feb 2019, 12:24 p.m.

One homeless person dying on our streets is enough for national shame, yet the latest figures show that in 2017 nearly 600 died. In that same year, the Vagrancy Act 1824 was used more than 1,000 times to drag homeless people before our courts. Crisis, Centrepoint, St Mungo’s and MPs on both sides of this House agree that it is time to scrap this law. Will the Prime Minister consider meeting us and the charities so that we can make the case for why we should not wait one more day?

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

As I think I indicated in Prime Minister’s questions last week, the number of people sleeping on our streets has gone down for the first time in eight years, but of course there is more to do. On the wider issue of homelessness, there is more to do in terms of building more homes, and we are doing that. I will ensure that the Minister from the relevant Department meets the hon. Lady to discuss the matter.

Robert Neill Portrait Robert Neill (Bromley and Chislehurst) (Con)
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Q8. Residents of Northpoint House in Bromley in my constituency have aluminium composite material cladding on their building. They are paying out £5,000 a week for a waking watch, repairs and remediation will cost £3 million, and their fire brigade enforcement notice expires on 30 April. The flats are valueless, so the residents cannot raise the money against them. Despite personal intervention by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for which I am grateful, the freeholders and the developer refuse to accept liability. Under the circumstances, will the Government accept that it may be necessary to intervene directly to ensure that the innocent flat-owners are not out of pocket? [909479]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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27 Feb 2019, 12:26 p.m.

My hon. Friend raises a very important issue. I know that, as he said, he has been in touch with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, as well as the Treasury. As I have said previously, we fully expect building owners in the private sector to take action, make sure appropriate safety measures are in place, and not pass costs on to leaseholders. We have written to all relevant building owners to remind them of their responsibilities. They must do the right thing; if they do not, we are not ruling anything out. I should also point out to my hon. Friend that local authorities have the power to complete works and recover the costs from the private owners of high-rise residential buildings. I am sure that a Minister from MHCLG would be happy to meet my hon. Friend to continue to discuss this matter, to ensure that the residents are given the peace of mind they need by the action being taken.

Caroline Lucas Portrait Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion) (Green)
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Q4. The Government have just decided that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, imports of medical supplies are to be handled by the same company that forced hundreds of restaurants to close because it was incapable of delivering chicken to Kentucky Fried Chicken. It is horrifying that the Prime Minister’s stubbornness is literally putting people’s lives at risk through bargain-bucket supply deals. What guarantee can she give patients who are watching us now, looking at the pantomime and farce in this House, that they will be able to get their vital medicines when they need them in the event of that no-deal Brexit? [909475]

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

The Department of Health and Social Care is taking the steps necessary to ensure that medicines are available. We have been clear before that it is not necessary to stockpile and that patients should not be stockpiling medicines. Medicines will be available. If the hon. Lady is so concerned about the impact of no deal—

Caroline Lucas Portrait Caroline Lucas
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27 Feb 2019, 12:27 p.m.

indicated dissent.

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

It is no good the hon. Lady shaking her head. There is a very simple answer: if she does not want no deal, she should support the deal.

Robert Halfon Portrait Robert Halfon (Harlow) (Con)
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Q11. Yesterday, The Sun newspaper reported on proposals for a £1.6 billion post-EU fund for deprived areas in the north, predominantly in seats held by Opposition MPs. Will my right hon. Friend ensure that money from the fund is available to constituents like mine in Harlow, where we have significant deprivation and disadvantage? [909482]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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27 Feb 2019, 12:28 p.m.

We will be introducing a fund to ensure that our towns can grow and prosper. The details will be announced in due course by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. I can confirm to my right hon. Friend that Harlow, and indeed other towns across England, will be able to propose ambitious plans to help to transform their communities. Of course, we will work with the devolved Administrations and in Northern Ireland to ensure that towns in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland also benefit from town deals.

Sir David Crausby (Bolton North East) (Lab)
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Q7. As a former shop steward and works convenor, I completely understand the need to approach the cliff edge in order to secure a deal, but rational negotiators never go to the edge, hold hands and jump into the abyss. When will the Prime Minister recognise that constructive discussions should take place without the nuclear option of mutually assured destruction? [909478]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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Constructive discussions are taking place. This House was clear on what it wanted to be changed in relation to the withdrawal agreement and the deal that we had brought back from the European Union, and we are making progress and having exactly the constructive discussions the hon. Gentleman talks about.

George Freeman Portrait George Freeman (Mid Norfolk) (Con)
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Q14. Public trust in politics is dangerously low. Failing to honour and deliver the EU referendum result cannot be an option. I campaigned to remain, but I am 100% committed to leaving; the question is how. Most of my voters in Mid Norfolk said that they wanted to be in the Common Market, not a political union. Given the clear warnings from the life science and agriculture sectors—key industries in Norfolk—about the danger of no deal, I welcome the Prime Minister’s decision to give this sovereign House the vote and ask that if the House votes against, she will consider the European Free Trade Association instead of the backstop, giving us the Common Market 2.0 that most British voters want. [909485]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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27 Feb 2019, 12:29 p.m.

As I said yesterday, in answer to a question from, I think, our right hon. Friend the Member for Harlow (Robert Halfon), the first aim of the Government and my first aim is to bring back a deal that can command support across the House in a meaningful vote, such that we are able to leave with a deal. The arrangements within the political declaration have significant benefits in relation to issues such as customs, but they also provide for us to have an independent trade policy and to bring an end to free movement. My hon. Friend talks about trust in politics, but I believe that those were important elements of what people voted for in 2016 and it is important that we deliver on that.

Helen Hayes Portrait Helen Hayes (Dulwich and West Norwood) (Lab)
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Q9. The Prime Minister previously committed to a meaningful vote on her Brexit deal but had to be forced by the courts to hold it. She then committed to that meaningful vote in December, but pulled it at the last minute. When her deal fell to the worst Government defeat in history, instead of listening to MPs, she carried on regardless, so I ask her: what guarantee, other than her word, will she give this House that we will be able to vote to stop a no-deal Brexit before 29 March? [909480]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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27 Feb 2019, 12:31 p.m.

I set out clearly in my statement yesterday and I have repeated it in answer to a question today, the process that the Government will follow. The Government policy is to leave with a deal. We are working to ensure that we can bring back that deal. The hon. Lady talks about the rejection of the meaningful vote and not listening to Parliament, but the constructive discussions that I am having with the European Union at the moment are exactly about listening to Parliament—[Interruption.] It is all very well the shadow Trade Secretary, the hon. Member for Brent North (Barry Gardiner), shouting, “Nonsense!” He might not have noticed that on 29 January this House voted by a majority to say what it wanted to be changed in the withdrawal agreement, and that is what we are working on.

John Hayes Portrait Sir John Hayes (South Holland and The Deepings) (Con)
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27 Feb 2019, 12:32 p.m.

Little moves us more than the death of a child and for bereaved parents that grief is beyond words. Action speaks louder, which is why I have championed, inspired by the hon. Member for Swansea East (Carolyn Harris), the Children’s Funeral Fund. Will the Prime Minister tell us when the good work of her Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Charnwood (Edward Argar), will come to fruition and the fund will begin to bring support and solace? We cannot mend broken hearts here, but those who have loved and lost deserve better than delay and doubt.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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27 Feb 2019, 12:32 p.m.

I thank my right hon. Friend for his question and for the work that he has done on this issue with the hon. Member for Swansea East. It is accepted across the House that it is not right that grieving parents have to worry about how to meet the funeral costs when they have lost a child. As he knows, we have confirmed that parents will no longer have to meet the cost of burials or cremations. Fees will be waived by local authorities and paid for by the Government. The relevant Ministries have been working on the most effective way to deliver this, and I can confirm that the fund will be implemented by the summer.

Bambos Charalambous Portrait Bambos Charalambous (Enfield, Southgate) (Lab)
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Q10. In the past few months in my constituency, a 98-year-old man was killed in an aggravated burglary, an Asian couple were robbed, held hostage and beaten in their home, schoolchildren were mugged at knifepoint, and a spate of burglaries were committed across Enfield Southgate. My constituents do not feel safe. Does the Prime Minister recognise the severe consequences of underfunding our police service, and will she commit to restoring funding for community policing to pre-2010 levels? [909481]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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27 Feb 2019, 12:34 p.m.

Of course we recognise the concerns about serious violence, which is why my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has brought forward measures such as the Offensive Weapons Bill and set up the serious violence taskforce. In relation to funding for the police, the Metropolitan police will receive up to £2.5 billion in funding in 2019-20, which is an increase of up to £172 million on 2018-19. If the hon. Gentleman also wants to ask questions about funding for police in London perhaps he should speak to the Labour Mayor of London.

Justine Greening (Putney) (Con)
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With the Government’s review of higher education still under way, does the Prime Minister agree that the reintroduction of maintenance grants is one outcome that could clearly aid social mobility for more disadvantaged students?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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27 Feb 2019, 12:34 p.m.

I recognise that my right hon. Friend has been, and continues to be, a huge champion for social mobility. She is asking me to provide a solution to higher education funding and student finance before the Augar report has been received and published. All I can do is assure her that Philip Augar and his panel are working on the report and we will look seriously at the proposals they bring forward.

Mr Stephen Hepburn (Jarrow) (Lab)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q12. In my constituency of Jarrow there is a wonderful young lady, four-year-old Harriet Corr, whose life would improve dramatically if she had access to the cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi. It is available in Ireland and many other European countries, and is due to become available in Scotland. Will the Prime Minister intervene personally in the negotiations between the NHS and Vertex to ensure that Harriet’s family and many other families are not forced to leave their homes and move elsewhere? [909483]

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

27 Feb 2019, 12:34 p.m.

I am sure the whole House will recognise the concerns of Harriet and her family. We want to ensure that patients have access to the most effective and innovative medicines, but obviously at a price that represents value to the NHS. NHS England has proposed its best ever offer for a drug. This offer is the largest ever commitment of its kind in the 70-year history of the NHS, and would guarantee immediate and expanded access both to Orkambi and the drug Kalydeco for patients who need it. We have been closely following the discussions, and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has offered a meeting with the global chief executive officer of Vertex, NHS England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in an effort to move the situation forward for the benefit of patients.

John Whittingdale Portrait Mr John Whittingdale (Maldon) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

27 Feb 2019, 12:34 p.m.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that five years ago today Russian special forces seized the Government building in Crimea and raised the Russian flag? Will she confirm that the UK Government remain committed to the restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty over Crimea, and will she look at strengthening sanctions against Russia until that can be achieved?

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

I am happy to give my right hon. Friend that confirmation. This was an illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia, and we have been doing everything we can to ensure that the appropriate sanctions are imposed that will have an impact. We have been one of the voices around the EU Council table that has been advocating the roll-over of sanctions at every stage and ensuring that, as we look at the actions of Russia here and elsewhere, we enhance those sanctions and rightfully put pressure on those who are responsible.

Angela Crawley Portrait Angela Crawley (Lanark and Hamilton East) (SNP)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q15. The Scottish Government have used their powers to increase carer’s allowance to the level of jobseeker’s allowance, yet this top-up is being under-mined because carer’s allowance is regarded as income under universal credit. If carer’s allowance is meant to help cover the extra costs incurred by providing care, why are carers on universal credit being penalised? [909486]

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

27 Feb 2019, 12:34 p.m.

The hon. Lady knows full way the way in which universal credit operates to encourage people into work, but I will ask the Minister in the relevant Department to write to her on this matter.

Rebecca Pow Portrait Rebecca Pow (Taunton Deane) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

27 Feb 2019, 12:34 p.m.

Thousands of young girls—including, sadly, some from Taunton Deane—are purchasing so-called quick-fix diet and detox products that are often endorsed by celebrities on social media, something for which these celebrities can be paid thousands of pounds. NHS chiefs say that some of these products can have highly detrimental health effects and are heaping work on our mental health services. In Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and following this morning’s excellent Westminster Hall debate secured by my hon. Friend the Member for Angus (Kirstene Hair), will the Prime Minister agree that the irresponsible and unsafe endorsement of such products should be addressed?

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

My hon. Friend raises an important issue. I am sure that all Members have had constituency cases where they have seen the devastating impact that eating disorders can have on individuals, and on their families and friends. The Government have been taking steps over the past few years. In 2014 we announced that we were investing £150 million to expand eating disorder community-based care for children and young people, and 70 dedicated new or extended community services offer care as a result. As my hon. Friend said, young people may be encouraged to take products because of celebrity endorsement. The celebrities involved should think very carefully about the impact that these products can have in effecting eating disorders, which devastate lives.

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

27 Feb 2019, 12:39 p.m.

The Prime Minister, and indeed the entire House, knows the conditions under which her withdrawal agreement will have a majority. The whole House, and indeed the country, now knows that as a result of yesterday’s events the prospects of the Prime Minister being able to achieve the necessary changes have been undermined and her negotiating position has been weakened. That is the reality of the situation. Can we have an assurance, in terms of any possible extension—and I would be interested to know what the Prime Minister thinks the purpose of the extension would be—that she will continue to focus on getting those legally binding changes? Hopefully, during any future negotiations, she will not be undermined in the way that she has been so far.

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

27 Feb 2019, 12:41 p.m.

First of all, we are continuing to press for those legally binding changes. Those are the discussions we have been having with the European Commission. It is what I have spoken to every European Union leader about over the last 10 days or so. It is what I was speaking to people about at Sharm El Sheikh over the weekend as well. The right hon. Gentleman talks about the extension to article 50. Can I be very clear again? The Government do not want to extend article 50. The Government’s policy is to get the legally binding changes so a deal can be brought back to this House, and this House can support the deal, and we can leave on 29 March with a deal.

Mrs Anne Main (St Albans) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

27 Feb 2019, 12:41 p.m.

Unlike some Ministers who cannot normally take the view that the Prime Minister’s word is binding, I do take the Prime Minister’s word as being binding. Can I ask that she reiterates our manifesto commitment to leave with a deal or to leave with no deal, and that is our commitment?

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

27 Feb 2019, 12:42 p.m.

Indeed, I have always said that no deal is better than a bad deal. I think we have actually got a good deal from the European Union. It provides for citizens’ rights; it provides certainty for business with the implementation period; it ensures that we have, in the political declaration, the arrangements for customs in the future—for no tariffs, no quotas and no rules of origin; and it covers a number of other areas that I think will indeed be positive for this country. There is an issue that the House wants to see changed. That is what we are working on in relation to the Northern Ireland backstop. I want us to leave with a deal. I want to be able to bring back a deal that this House can support.

Marie Rimmer Portrait Ms Marie Rimmer (St Helens South and Whiston) (Lab)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

27 Feb 2019, 12:42 p.m.

Violet Grace Youens was walking home from nursery with her grandma on 24 March 2017. She was hit by a stolen car driven erratically and at 83 mph in a 30 mph zone. The driver and accomplice immediately left the scene, and the driver absconded from the country. Tragically, four-year-old Violet Grace died in her parents’ arms the following day and her grandma suffers with life-changing injuries. The offenders have since been sentenced to tariffs that do not fit the gravity of the crimes.

In October 2017, the Government published a response to the consultation on driving offences and penalties relating to causing death or serious injury. They confirmed proposals to increase the maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving from 14 years’ imprisonment to life, along with other tariffs for serious driving offences, and stated that Government would bring forward proposals for reform of the law as soon as parliamentary time allows. Today, after just one week, the public petition “Violet Grace’s Law” stands at more than 74,000 signatures. The Government are repeating the same response—

Break in Debate

Marie Rimmer Portrait Ms Rimmer
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

27 Feb 2019, 12:43 p.m.

Prime Minister, when do the Government truly intend to bring forward the changes for the reform of the law?

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

First of all, I am sure that the feelings of the whole House will be with Violet Grace’s family that this terrible tragedy has occurred. I know from a constituency case that I had the concern that parents, family members and others have when they see somebody who has caused a death in this way by their driving being sentenced to a tariff which they feel is less than it should be. The Government have taken this very seriously—that is why we have had the consultation—and we will indeed bring forward our proposals when parliamentary time does allow. But I will ask a Minister from the Department for Transport to meet the hon. Lady to discuss this matter with her.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

27 Feb 2019, midnight

Mr Speaker, I do not know whether you were as surprised as I was yesterday that, yet again, the media had verbatim reports of the Cabinet meeting straight after it. In fact, there were references to colleagues in front of me as kamikaze pilots. Prime Minister, to sort this issue out, would it not just be easier to televise Cabinet meetings? [Laughter.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

27 Feb 2019, midnight

I want to hear the Prime Minister’s answer. This is a very important question.

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

Mr Speaker, when you did a thumbs-up after that question, I was not sure whether that indicated that you had a view on the televising of Cabinet meetings. My hon. Friend has tried to approach that issue in various ways. I seem to remember that last time he asked me about this, it was not about televising Cabinet but sending his CV in to be a Cabinet Minister. Perhaps these are linked—perhaps he wants to sit round the Cabinet table and be on television all the time.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

27 Feb 2019, midnight

Well, we never knew that the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone) had such ambitions, but maybe it lurks within him—who knows? For my own part, I was merely acknowledging welcome and friendly visitors to the House.

Oral Answers to Questions

Theresa May Excerpts
Wednesday 23rd January 2019

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Wales Office
Stephen Kerr (Stirling) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q1. If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 23 January. [908729]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister (Mrs Theresa May)
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23 Jan 2019, 12:03 p.m.

I am sure that Members across the House will wish to join me in marking Holocaust Memorial Day this Sunday. It is an opportunity for us to remember all those who suffered in the holocaust and in subsequent genocides around the world. It is a reminder that we must all challenge and condemn prejudice and hatred wherever it is found.

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.

Stephen Kerr
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

May I associate myself with the comments that the Prime Minister made in relation to Holocaust Memorial Day? May I also say as a proud Scot that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the most successful political union that the world has ever known? That said, does the Prime Minister agree that, when Nicola Sturgeon demands a second independence referendum, only four years after we had the last one, the UK Government should side with the majority of the people of Scotland and firmly tell her no?

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:04 p.m.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. As he points out, Scotland held a referendum in 2014. It was legal, fair and decisive, and the people clearly voted for Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom. More than that, at the last general election, the people of Scotland again sent a very clear message that they do not want a second divisive referendum, but the SNP sadly is out of touch with the people of Scotland and has not yet heard that message. The last thing we want is a second independence referendum. The United Kingdom should be pulling together, and should not be being driven apart.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

23 Jan 2019, 12:06 p.m.

Sunday is Holocaust Memorial Day, a time for us all to reflect on the horrors of genocide and to recommit to never again allowing the poison of antisemitism and racism to disfigure our society in any way. The Prime Minister was also right to acknowledge the other genocides that have happened since the second world war. It is up to us to try to prevent such horrors from ever happening again anywhere in the world.

After the overwhelming defeat of the Prime Minister’s deal, she says she wants solutions to the Brexit crisis that command sufficient support in the House. The Chancellor and the Business Secretary agree that there is a “large majority” in the Commons opposed to no deal, so will the Prime Minister listen to her own Cabinet members and take no deal off the table?

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:07 p.m.

What I, members of the Cabinet and the whole Government are doing is working to ensure that we leave the European Union with a deal. That is the way to avoid no deal: to leave the European Union with a deal. I say to the right hon. Gentleman that what I have wanted to do—I have been doing it with Members across the House—is sit down and talk about how we can secure support in this House for a deal. He has been willing to sit down with Hamas, Hezbollah and the IRA without preconditions, yet he will not meet me to talk about Brexit. In this case, he is neither present nor involved.

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:08 p.m.

Actually I reached out to the Prime Minister last September when I offered to discuss our deals with her. It appears that, while the door to her office may well be open, the minds inside it are completely closed. She has shown no flexibility whatsoever on taking no deal off the table.

The Chancellor reassured businesses that amendments would be put down that

“would have the effect of removing the threat of no deal...which is binding and effective”.

Given that those amendments are now tabled, will the Prime Minister confirm that, if passed, they would rule out no deal?

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:08 p.m.

We have seen amendments that seek to engineer a situation in which article 50 is extended. That does not solve the issue that there will always be a point of decision. The decision remains the same: no deal, a deal or no Brexit. I am delivering on Brexit. I want to do it with a deal. Why will the right hon. Gentleman not come and meet me and talk about it?

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

The only consistency in the Prime Minister’s strategy seems to be running down the clock by threatening no deal as an alternative to her dead deal.

The CBI says that the “projected impact” of no deal on the UK economy “would be devastating”. Leaving with no deal would be a hammer blow to manufacturing in this country, costing jobs and damaging living standards.

Last week, the Justice Secretary was asked whether he ruled out a customs union. He said:

“I don’t think we can”.

However, that same day, the Leader of the House said that we cannot be in a customs union. Can the Prime Minister be clear? Do her Government rule out a customs union with the European Union?

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:09 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman talks about a customs union and I note that he has tabled an amendment. The Labour party used to refer to a comprehensive customs union, then it was a new customs union and now it is a permanent customs union, but the question—[Interruption.] I am happy to sit down to talk to him about what he means by that. Does he mean accepting the common external tariff? Does he mean accepting the common commercial policy? Does he mean accepting the Union customs code? Does he mean accepting EU state aid rules? If he will not talk about it, there is only one conclusion: he hasn’t got a clue.

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:11 p.m.

My question was: does the Prime Minister rule in or rule out a customs union? It is not complicated. She could have said yes, she could have said no. It is a key part of what Labour is putting forward and it is backed by the TUC, representing millions of workers; by the CBI, representing thousands of businesses; by the First Ministers of Wales and Scotland; and indeed by many members of her own party, including apparently her own chief of staff. So can the Prime Minister explain why she is ruling out a customs union as a solution to the crisis? She could for once actually answer the question.

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:11 p.m.

Perhaps I can try to help the right hon. Gentleman here. When many people talk about a customs union, what they want to ensure is that businesses can export to the EU without facing tariffs, quotas or rules-of-origin checks. I agree, and the deal we negotiated delivers just that, but it also allows us to have an independent trade policy and to do our own trade deals with the rest of the world—the benefits of a customs union and the benefits of our own trade policy.

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:11 p.m.

The International Trade Secretary promised 40 trade agreements the second after Brexit. This morning, he could not name a single one. His own Business Minister said that he was not impressed by “sham trade agreements” and

“not prepared to sell business down the river for other people’s political dogma.”

So why is the Prime Minister prepared to sell people’s jobs and living standards down the river, rather than negotiating a customs union that would be part of a sensible deal for the future?

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:13 p.m.

The deal that we negotiated did protect jobs—[Interruption.] And it was rejected by this House. There are some specific issues that Members across this House have raised in relation to that deal and we work on those. We have already responded on a number of issues—parliamentary involvement, workers’ rights, citizens’ rights—as a result of the conversations that we have had with Members of this House. What we want to ensure is that we get a deal that protects jobs, but the right hon. Gentleman is doing exactly what he always does. He just stands up and uses these phrases. The honest answer is that I do not think he knows what those phrases mean and what the implications of those phrases are. We will be protecting jobs in the UK with a good trade relationship with the European Union—enhancing and increasing jobs in the UK, and by the way I see that the right hon. Gentleman has not referred to this week’s employment figures, which show employment up in this country as a result of this Government.

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

What the Prime Minister clearly did not have time to mention was the rising levels of in-work poverty, personal debt and the problems that people face in surviving at work. The door of her office might be open, but the minds are closed—[Interruption.] The Prime Minister is clearly not listening—[Interruption.]

Break in Debate

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

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Across the country, people are worried about public services, their living standards and rising levels of personal debt. While a third of the Prime Minister’s Government are at the billionaires’ jamboree in Davos, she says she is listening, but rules out changes on the two issues where there might be a majority: against no deal and for a customs union—part of Labour’s sensible Brexit alternative. If the Prime Minister is serious about finding a solution, which of her red lines is she prepared to abandon? Could she name a single one?

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:14 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman makes claims about minds being closed and asks about red lines. Why does he not come and talk about it? He talks about what people up and down this country are seeing. I will tell him what we have just seen this week: borrowing this year at its lowest level for 16 years; the International Monetary Fund saying we will grow faster than Germany, Italy and Japan this year; UN figures showing foreign direct investment in the UK up last year; the employment rate up; the number of people in work up; and wages up—and the biggest threat to all of that would be a Labour Government.

Craig Tracey Portrait Craig Tracey (North Warwickshire) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q2. North Warwickshire and Bedworth voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU in 2016, and from the many conversations I have had with constituents since, I am in absolutely no doubt that if they were asked again, they would vote the same way. Does the Prime Minister agree therefore that there is no credibility in the argument for a second referendum and that our constituents want this Parliament to do what it promised and honour the referendum result, which, as Opposition Members seem to have forgotten, was to leave the EU? [908730]

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:16 p.m.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Not just he, I and all Conservative Members, but all Labour Members stood on manifesto pledges to respect the result of the referendum and to leave the EU. I have set out several times my concern about returning to the British people in a second referendum. People sent a clear message. We asked them to make a choice, they made that choice, and we should deliver on it.

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:17 p.m.

I join the Prime Minister in marking Holocaust Memorial Day. It is important that we reflect on man’s inhumanity to man at that time and subsequently, most recently towards the Rohingya people. More must be done to eradicate the risk of genocide that is suffered by peoples throughout the world.

Last November, the Government published an economic analysis of Brexit that looked at four scenarios, but it did not include the Prime Minister’s deal. Has she done an economic analysis of her deal?

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:17 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman obviously looked carefully at the economic analysis, and he will have seen that it looked at the impact of different issues in relation to the trade relationship and set that out very clearly. It made it absolutely clear that the proposal the Government had put on the table was the best in terms of delivering on the referendum result, maintaining people’s jobs and enhancing the economy.

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

I can only take it from that answer that there is no analysis of the Government’s plan. According to the paper last November, Brexit will lead to the loss of up to 9% of GDP throughout the UK. That will cost jobs. It is the height of irresponsibility for the Prime Minister to bring to Parliament a deal for which we have not seen the economic impact. People up and down the UK are going to lose their jobs and economic opportunities because of the ideology of this Government. It is important that the House reflects on that and on the economic security of our citizens. We have to be honest with people. We need to go back to them, have a people’s vote and let them determine what should happen.

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

We have been reflecting on the economic security of our citizens across the whole of the UK, and that is why we put forward the proposals that we did last summer and why the proposals in the deal—in the political declaration—we negotiated with the EU set out an ambitious future trade deal. If the right hon. Gentleman wants to reflect on the interests of the citizens of Scotland, he should reflect on the fact that being part of the UK—[Interruption.] He says he wants to know the figures and the economic analysis. In that case, it is no good his dismissing the figures and the economic analysis that show that being part of the UK is worth £10 billion in additional public spending and nearly £1,900 for every single person in Scotland. If he is interested in economics, he should want to stay in the UK and stop his policy of independence.

Andrew Rosindell Portrait Andrew Rosindell (Romford) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q3. I can tell the Prime Minister that the people of Romford remain rock solid for leaving the European Union on 29 March. They do not want an extension of article 50; they do not want another referendum; they want out, deal or no deal. Will the Prime Minister assure the House that she will deliver on the biggest vote of the British people in history, come what may? [908731]

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

Yes. My hon. Friend is absolutely right. This is not just an arbitrary date. It is a date to which the House effectively agreed when it triggered article 50, because it understood that the article 50 process was a two-year process, and, as I said in response to the Leader of the Opposition, that process will end on 29 March 2019. I do not believe that extending article 50 resolves any issues, because at some point Members must decide whether they want a no-deal situation, to agree a deal, or to have no Brexit.

Drew Hendry Portrait Drew Hendry (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey) (SNP)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q4. My constituent Denis Omondi is a British citizen. He has uncontested custody of his young daughter Ann, who is in Kenya. Although he visits her as often as he can, she has been denied a visa because the Home Office claims that he has not spent enough time with her. The problem is that Denis is a serving soldier in the British Army. He is stationed at Fort George, and has served tours in Afghanistan, Iraq and Cyprus at the behest of the UK Government. Does the Prime Minister believe that this situation is fair? Will she look into how this loyal soldier and loving father can be reunited with his daughter? [908732]

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:22 p.m.

Let me first thank Denis for his commitment to serving in our armed forces. All our armed forces do an incredibly important and brave job for us.

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will not expect me to be able to look at the details of the case at the Dispatch Box on the Floor of the House, but I will ask the Home Secretary to look into it and respond to him.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q5. Prime Minister, your Government is stuffed full of remainer Ministers who do not want to leave the European Union. Will you replace them with colleagues from these Benches who actually believe in upholding the decision of the British people to leave the European Union on 29 March? [908733]

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:22 p.m.

I have heard some job applications in my time, but that was quite an interesting one.

My position, and the position of this Government and Ministers across this Government, is very clear. It is our duty to deliver on the vote of the British people to leave the European Union, and the two-year process ends on 29 March. That is the position of the Government. Of course I am always happy to consider job applications from my hon. Friend, but I have to say that the basis of his application was not correct, because the Government are committed to taking the United Kingdom out of the European Union.

Steve Reed Portrait Mr Steve Reed (Croydon North) (Lab/Co-op)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q6. Britain is facing a homelessness crisis, and homelessness, like food banks and child poverty, is linked to deprivation. How can the Prime Minister justify removing the deprivation levels from her new council funding formula, and taking money away from the weakest and the poorest in society just so that she could bail out failing Tory councils like Northamptonshire? [908734]

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

As the hon. Gentleman will know, there are many cases in which some of the measures that have been used do not properly reflect the situation on the ground, but obviously we look very carefully at the formula to ensure that we have that fair funding between local authorities.

Gillian Keegan Portrait Gillian Keegan (Chichester) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q7. To mark Holocaust Memorial Day a Chichester choir will be coming to Parliament to perform “Push”, a moving opera about the life of Simon Gronowski, who was pushed off a train by his mother to spare him from certain death at Auschwitz. His mother and sister died but Simon will be here to share his story, which shows us the best and worst of humanity. At a time when antisemitism is rising across Europe and here in our communities, does the Prime Minister agree that it is vital that we learn the lessons of history to eradicate antisemitism, and will she, if possible, join us at the performance in Speaker’s House next Monday? [908735]

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:24 p.m.

I thank my hon. Friend for raising this important issue and highlighting that case, which shows the horrors that so many people went through during the holocaust. We welcome the Chichester choir to Parliament performing “Push”, and I commend it on its work in keeping alive the remarkable story of Simon Gronowski. As I have just indicated, his story reminds us of the millions who were killed in the concentration camps and the absolute horror of the holocaust. We should all remember that, and remember genocides that have, sadly, occurred since, and condemn hatred and prejudice in all its forms, including antisemitism wherever it is found. There is no place for racial hatred in our society. I apologise because I suspect I may not be able to attend the performance my hon. Friend referred to, but I hope she will pass on my thanks to the choir for coming here and for the work it is doing.

Sarah Jones Portrait Sarah Jones (Croydon Central) (Lab)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q8. The Prime Minister promised after the Grenfell Tower fire that she would do whatever it takes to keep our people safe. Today, 19 months on, the vast majority—85%—of the hundreds of blocks draped in exactly the same highly flammable cladding are still covered in it. The Shurgard fire in Croydon shows that Grenfell is just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of council and private buildings across the country do not have sprinklers, despite the fire services saying they are essential. The Government do not even collect data on the number of fires in tower blocks. As the Prime Minister wastes billions on her no-deal gamble there is a stench of complacency about these things that matter too. When will the Prime Minister be able to tell this country that she has honoured her promise? [908736]

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

It is obviously very important for all of us that people are able to feel and be safe in their homes, and I understand residents’ concerns over this issue of cladding. We fully expect building owners in the private sector to take action and make sure that appropriate safety measures are in place. Interim measures are in place where necessary on all of the 171 high-rise private residential buildings with the unsafe ACM—aluminium composite material—cladding, but permanent remediation is rightly the focus, and we have repeatedly called on private building owners not to pass costs on to leaseholders. As a result of our interventions 212 owners have either started, completed or have commitments in place to remediate; 56 owners are refusing to remediate. We are maintaining pressure on this but we rule nothing out.

Alberto Costa Portrait Alberto Costa (South Leicestershire) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q10. Non-surgical cosmetic treatments is an industry with no proper regulation. My constituent Rachael Knappier suffered a terrible injury after a Botox filler was administered incorrectly. Will the Prime Minister assure me and this House that her Government will look into appropriate regulation of non-surgical cosmetic treatments? [908738]

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:28 p.m.

First, may I extend my deepest sympathies to Rachael Knappier? We recognise that this growth in non-surgical treatments increases the need for consumer protection, and we are currently working with stakeholders to strengthen the regulation of cosmetics procedures. We are committed to improving the safety of cosmetic procedures and there are a number of ways in which that can be done: better training and robust qualifications for practitioners, but also clear information so that people can make informed decision about their care. We would urge anyone seeking a cosmetic procedure to take the time to find a reputable, safe and qualified practitioner who is subject to statutory regulation or on an accredited voluntary register. My hon. Friend has raised an important issue.

Stephen Kinnock Portrait Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon) (Lab)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q9. In May 2018, Michel Barnier said that the only frictionless model for the future relationship with the UK would be Norway-plus—Norway being part of the single market, plus a customs union. This means that a Norway-plus Brexit would eliminate the need for the backstop and would also be agreed rapidly, thereby eliminating the need to extend article 50. If the Prime Minister really wants to do away with the backstop and really wants to leave the EU on 29 March without the need for an extension, why does she not pivot to the Norway-plus option today? [908737]

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:30 p.m.

First, it is not the case that that is the only way to provide frictionless trade between the United Kingdom and the European Union. Other options have been put on the table. The question of the extent of that frictionless trade will be a matter for the second stage of the negotiations.

Michael Fabricant Portrait Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q11. What recent assessment she has made of the prospects for the economy in the west midlands; and if she will make a statement. [908739]

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:30 p.m.

I am pleased to say to my hon. Friend that thanks to our economic record there are 90,000 more small businesses in the west midlands since 2010, that the national living wage is giving more than 170,000 people a pay rise in the west midlands this year and that employment in the west midlands has risen by 252,000 since 2010. I can also tell him that we will continue to support the region by investing more than £430 million as part of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull local enterprise partnership.

Michael Fabricant Portrait Michael Fabricant
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

23 Jan 2019, 12:29 p.m.

As ever, that is great news for the west midlands and it shows our firm economic policy, but will my right hon. Friend now welcome the new Birmingham airport masterplan, which addresses its growth in services for businessmen and holidaymakers for the west midlands? Will she also commit the Government to work with the airport to help it to expand its long-haul route network, which is so important for the businesses and holidaymakers of Lichfield and beyond?

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:29 p.m.

We are certainly supporting airports beyond Heathrow, such as Birmingham, to make the best use of their existing runways. I am happy to welcome Birmingham’s decision to publish this masterplan because I understand that, as my hon. Friend says, it aims to attract new long-haul routes in addition to the routes that it already runs. We are also committed to improving access to Birmingham airport. For example, by 2026 the airport will be served by HS2, which will significantly reduce journey times to London and dramatically increase the catchment area of the airport.

Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley) (Lab)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q13. If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 23 January. Even though Brexit is turning out to be very different from what voters were promised by the leave campaign, is the Prime Minister now effectively saying to voters, in opposing a people’s vote, that they had their say three years ago and they must now just put up and shut up? [908742]

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

What we are saying is that this House overwhelmingly voted to have the referendum in 2016 and for people to be asked for their choice as to whether to leave or to stay in the European Union. There will have been a variety of reasons why people voted to leave the European Union in 2016. Many wanted an end to free movement, and that is what we will be delivering. For many, it was about sovereignty, and that is why ending the jurisdiction of the European Court is important. Independent trade policy is also part of it, and that is what the Government are delivering. We are delivering on the vote that took place and ensuring that we do it in a way that protects jobs and gives people certainty for the future.

Rachel Maclean Portrait Rachel Maclean (Redditch) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q12. Ten years ago, I had a cervical smear test that picked up some abnormalities which, if they had been left untreated, could have developed into something much more serious. Unfortunately, cervical screening is at 21-year low and more than a quarter of women do not take up this life-saving test. We all know that it can be a bit uncomfortable, and it can be embarrassing for some women, but will the Prime Minister please urge all women up and down the country to take up this life-saving test? [908740]

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:29 p.m.

My hon. Friend’s experience shows exactly why it is so important for women to take up this test. We need to do more to encourage women to take up their cervical screening tests, and Public Health England will shortly launch a national campaign to highlight the risks of cervical cancer and encourage women to attend the screening appointments. I can stand here as the Prime Minister and say that I know what it is like to go through a cervical smear test, and it is not comfortable. For some it will be embarrassing, and it is sometimes painful, but those few minutes can save lives, so I would encourage all women to take up their smear tests.

Lord Mann Portrait John Mann (Bassetlaw) (Lab)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

23 Jan 2019, 12:34 p.m.

On the Monday before Christmas, my constituent Nathan Garrett, aged 18, was referred by his GP for emergency mental health support. On the Tuesday, he was helping others and delivering my Christmas cards, just as he had delivered many election leaflets over the years. Later, he asked the crisis team for emergency help, but none was forthcoming. On the Wednesday, Nathan went missing. On the Thursday, I learned at the volunteers’ event that we hold every Christmas, when I was expecting to see Nathan, that it had all got too much for him and that he had taken his own life.

Nathan Garrett was a brilliant, engaging, kind young man. He was a county athletics champion, a talented and brilliant musician, and incredibly popular. His parents and his grandmother are here today. Does the Prime Minister agree that when a teenager needs emergency mental health support, that support should be available within 24 hours? Will she ask the appropriate Minister to meet me and Nathan’s family to push that matter forward today?

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:36 p.m.

I am sure that all Members will join me in sending our deepest condolences to Nathan’s family and friends and to all those who knew him. From what the hon. Gentleman said, it sounds as though he was an incredible young man. Every life lost is a tragedy, and incidents of suicide are deeply concerning, which is why we are taking action in relation to suicide prevention. The hon. Gentleman has also raised the issue of mental health provision. We recognise the importance of increasing provision for people who are suffering from mental health problems. I am happy to ensure that the hon. Gentleman can meet the appropriate Minister to discuss the matter.

Lucy Allan Portrait Lucy Allan (Telford) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q14. Almost a year ago, the authorities in Telford agreed to commission an inquiry into child sexual exploitation in our town after a lengthy campaign by victims and their families, who were seeking justice and answers. The promised inquiry has not happened. There is no chairperson and no start date. Does my right hon. Friend agree that the failure to hold the promised inquiry lets down victims, survivors and our community? Will she join me in urging the Telford authorities not to sweep the matter under the carpet, but to deliver on their promises and to start the inquiry now? [908743]

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:37 p.m.

My hon. Friend has raised an important issue. The crimes were utterly appalling. That is why we have given tackling child sexual abuse and exploitation the highest priority, and it is concerning, as my hon. Friend said, that the inquiry has taken so long to start, having been announced in the spring of last year. It is in the interests of victims and survivors that the inquiry is up and running as soon as possible. People deserve to see that inquiry taking place, and I will ensure that a Home Office Minister meets my hon. Friend to discuss that further.

Stewart Hosie Portrait Stewart Hosie (Dundee East) (SNP)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

23 Jan 2019, 12:38 p.m.

At Prime Minister’s questions last October, I asked the Prime Minister about my constituent Hassan Mirza and his 10-year battle simply to renew his passport. I wrote to the Prime Minister and received a holding response two months ago. Since then, Hassan’s uncle has passed away, but he could not attend the funeral. His wife is ill, but he cannot visit her or his children. This is unacceptable. When will the Prime Minister finally give me a detailed answer, and when will she get a grip on the failings in the Home Office?

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:38 p.m.

I can only apologise to the hon. Gentleman that he has not had a detailed answer from me before now. I will ensure that he gets one but, more than that, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is happy to meet him to discuss the case.

Jack Lopresti Portrait Jack Lopresti (Filton and Bradley Stoke) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Will my right hon. Friend join me in paying tribute to my constituent Bob Woodward, who sadly died on Sunday? When Bob’s son Robert was diagnosed with cancer aged eight in 1976, he founded the charity CLIC—Cancer and Leukaemia in Childhood. Over the following decades, he changed lives by raising over £100 million in support of worthy causes. He was an inspirational figure and a great and compassionate man, and he recently had a new Great Western Railway train named after him. Will my right hon. Friend also join me in offering our condolences to his friends and family?

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:39 p.m.

I am certainly happy to join my hon. Friend in expressing our sympathies and condolences to Bob Woodward’s friends and family and in paying tribute to Bob. After tragically losing his son to cancer, as my hon. Friend pointed out, he dedicated his life to young cancer patients and their families and was able use his success as a property developer to provide residences where families of young cancer patients could live while their child is receiving treatment. It is a fitting legacy that there are now 10 of these properties in the UK, and CLIC is now a global organisation raising funds for the care of families around the world. Bob Woodward suffered a terrible tragedy with the loss of his son, but he ensured that his work throughout his life is benefiting others.

Liz McInnes (Heywood and Middleton) (Lab)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

23 Jan 2019, 12:40 p.m.

This morning I received a letter from Santander saying that it is closing the branch in Middleton and suggesting that my constituents should avail themselves of banking services at Middleton post office, which in turn is being franchised into the back of WH Smith. Can the Prime Minister say what her policy is for our high street, other than just managed decline?

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:40 p.m.

Obviously individual banks take commercial decisions, and it sounds as if there will still be post office services available on the high street to which the hon. Lady refers. We are concerned about helping to manage our high streets and ensuring that we have good high streets for the future. That is why, in the Budget, the Chancellor announced funding that is available to local authorities to work on plans for their high streets.

James Gray Portrait James Gray (North Wiltshire) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

23 Jan 2019, 12:41 p.m.

Will the Prime Minister join me in reassuring the people of North Wiltshire and, indeed, the nation that, despite yesterday’s announcement that he is to move his corporate headquarters and two senior executives to Singapore, the commitment of Dyson to Britain remains undiminished, as evidenced by the £200 million he is investing in his research and development site at Hullavington and by the £40 million he is investing in the engineering and design college at Malmesbury? He is totally and utterly committed to Great Britain, and yesterday’s announcement has no effect at all on that commitment.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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23 Jan 2019, 12:41 p.m.

Dyson is clear that it will continue to have a long-term future in the UK, and it has trebled its workforce to 4,800 over the past five years. Of course, what matters to companies like Dyson is having a Government who are unapologetically pro-business, which this Government are, and a Government who are ensuring that our balanced economic policy sees increasing employment, exports and foreign direct investment in UK companies at record highs.

Tim Farron Portrait Tim Farron (Westmorland and Lonsdale) (LD)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Mr Speaker, may I wish you, the Prime Minister and everybody here a very happy Cumbria Day? A vast array of produce is available: beer from Kirkby Lonsdale; relish from Hawkshead; deli.sh pies; and tea and coffee from Penningtons—all the stuff the Prime Minister might need for a packed lunch if she is considering a walking holiday anytime soon. I remind her that, after London, Cumbria contains Britain’s biggest tourism destination, but today Cumbria has come to London. I invite her and, indeed, everybody here to come and join us in the Jubilee Room straight after PMQs to sample the best of Cumbria.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

23 Jan 2019, 12:42 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman is a one-man tourist board, and we are grateful to him.

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

23 Jan 2019, 12:42 p.m.

The hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Farron) has done a good job of promoting the benefits of Cumbria, and I am sure he will be joined by my hon. Friends and others from across the House. I thank him for listing the very many items I might want to put in my packed lunch when I go on a walking holiday, but I am afraid I am bound to say that, although I recognise that Cumbria has good produce, Berkshire has good produce, too.

Oral Answers to Questions

Theresa May Excerpts
Wednesday 24th October 2018

(2 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Wales Office
Mr Paul Sweeney (Glasgow North East) (Lab/Co-op)
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Q1. If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 24 October. [907243]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister (Mrs Theresa May)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

24 Oct 2018, 12:03 p.m.

It has been announced this morning that Sir Jeremy Heywood is sadly standing down as Cabinet Secretary and head of the civil service to concentrate on his recovery from ill health. Jeremy has been an exemplary public servant for more than three decades, serving with the highest distinction Prime Ministers and Ministers in all parties in the finest traditions of the civil service. As he steps down, he can look back on a contribution to public life that few in our country can match, and I am personally very grateful to him for the support that he has given me as Prime Minister since my first day in No. 10. I am sure that the whole House will join me in offering our very best wishes to Jeremy and his family.

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

Mr Sweeney
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

24 Oct 2018, 12:04 p.m.

Two teenage brothers from my constituency, Somer and Areeb, have lived in Glasgow since the youngest was five years old. They are now naturalised Glaswegians, but they live in constant fear of deportation to a country from which they fled in fear of their lives. Their school friends at Springburn Academy rallied to their cause by launching a petition, which has now been signed by more than 90,000 people, and which was recently presented to the Home Office by the school and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland. However, that action has been met with callous indifference.

When the Leader of the Opposition met the children in August, he was appalled by the lack of compassion shown by the Home Office towards these boys who have been kept in limbo for years. Will the Prime Minister now review the case, and meet the boys to witness at first hand what life is like at the sharp end of this Government’s hostile environment?

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

Every case in relation to people’s right to stay here in the United Kingdom is looked at extremely carefully, and I will certainly ensure that the Home Office looks again at this case.

David Amess Portrait Sir David Amess (Southend West) (Con)
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Q2. If music be the food of love, we could certainly do with a lot of music just now. In that regard, will my right hon. Friend join me in welcoming Sir Michael Parkinson having opened the expanded premises of the United Kingdom’s first jazz centre in Southend on Saturday, inspired by Digby Fairweather and displaying wonderful jazz memorabilia and music—and is that not yet another reason why Southend should be declared a city? [907244]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Oct 2018, 12:05 p.m.

I have of course been known to move to a little bit of music myself on occasions. I thank my hon. Friend for highlighting this excellent new centre, and I am extremely pleased that it was opened by my constituent, Sir Michael Parkinson. My hon. Friend might know that culture is one of the key strands of the Government’s GREAT Britain campaign; that is about promoting arts from across the whole of the UK to global audiences. We like to see and support events around the country showcasing the excellent range of performing arts that we have, and I join my hon. Friend in welcoming this new jazz centre—and I note the bid he has put in once again in relation to Southend.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

24 Oct 2018, 12:06 p.m.

I join the Prime Minister in thanking the former head of the civil service Jeremy Heywood for his public service and wishing him well in his recovery. I know from my conversations with him what an impressive, well informed and dedicated public servant he is, and I hope he gets through this difficult condition he is in at the present time.

The Prime Minister says that austerity is over; the Conservative leader of Walsall Council says austerity is alive and kicking. Who is right?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Oct 2018, 12:07 p.m.

After a decade of austerity people need to know that their hard work has paid off and that, because of their sacrifices, there are better days ahead. We will be setting out our approach in the spending review next year. [Interruption.] What does it mean? I will tell the right hon. Gentleman what it means: it means debt going down as a share of the economy and support for public services going up. Unlike Labour, we will continue to live within our means and we will not go back to square one.

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

24 Oct 2018, 12:08 p.m.

This process has not been very convincing to Mike Bird, the Conservative leader of Walsall Council, who says: “Never ever believe what you hear from central government, austerity is not over.” The Prime Minister’s MPs seem to have lost confidence in her, and so have her councillors. Not far away, in Derby, the Conservative council says the financial outlook is “extremely challenging with Government austerity measures confirmed as continuing.” Will the Prime Minister try to cheer up these gloomy Tories in Derby and confirm to them that next week the Budget will cancel the planned £1.3 billion cut for local government next year?

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

Actually, we are making £1.3 billion more available in the next two years to councils, and I am pleased to say—[Interruption.] I am pleased to say that council tax is down in real terms since under the last Labour Government. If the right hon. Gentleman wants to make statements about what should be in the Budget, perhaps we ought to look at his past predictions. He said our plans would mean 1 million people losing their jobs. What have we seen? We have seen 3.3 million more people in work. He said our plans would mean Greek levels of youth unemployment. What have we seen? Youth unemployment is at a record low. He will find out next week what is in the Budget, but there is one thing that we know for certain: Labour will still make a mess of the economy.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

24 Oct 2018, 12:09 p.m.

The Prime Minister did not get round to mentioning the record numbers of people on zero-hours contracts; the record levels of in-work poverty, meaning that people who are in work have to access a food bank; or the fact that wages are lower in real terms than they were eight years ago and that her Government have cut 49% from local government since 2010.

Staffordshire police has lost 500 officers. On Sunday, the chief constable, Gareth Morgan, said sorry to his police colleagues and their families as they had to cancel rest days just to maintain the service. He apologised to his officers. Will the Prime Minister apologise to the police as well?

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

24 Oct 2018, 12:09 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman talks about the police and about what is available for the police. Of course, what we saw at the last election was the Labour party saying that £300 million more should be made available to the police. What we have done is make available £460 million more to the police. If he wants to talk about figures, I have a book here that is edited by the shadow Chancellor. In it, an article by an economic adviser to the Labour party says about its last manifesto that

“the numbers did not add up”—[Interruption.]

I have even got the page marked. It also said that this was “a welcome feature” and “largely irrelevant”. Well, it may be irrelevant to the right hon. Gentleman and the shadow Chancellor, but it is not irrelevant to the people whose taxes go up, whose jobs are lost and whose children have to pay Labour’s debt.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

24 Oct 2018, 12:09 p.m.

Only one party costed its manifesto in the last election, and it was not the Tory party.

For all that the Prime Minister says about the police, the reality is that there are 21,000 fewer police officers than there were eight years ago. She should listen to the chief constable of the West Midlands, who says that criminals are taking advantage of these cuts. He says:

“We are struggling to deliver a service to the public. I think the criminals are well aware now how stretched we are.”

Two weeks ago, the Prime Minister told the house that people on universal credit “will be protected”. The very next day, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said that, on universal credit,

“some people will be worse off.”

Which statement is true?

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

24 Oct 2018, 12:09 p.m.

I remind the right hon. Gentleman of what I made clear to the House: those people who are moved through the managed migration process on to universal credit will indeed have, I think, around £3 billion of transitional protection. Let me just tell him what happens under universal credit—

Emily Thornberry Portrait Emily Thornberry (Islington South and Finsbury) (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

24 Oct 2018, 12:09 p.m.

No, no, no. Answer the question!

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

24 Oct 2018, 12:09 p.m.

The shadow Foreign Secretary says “No, no, no.” Labour Members do not want to know what happens in terms of universal credit: 200,000 more people into work, 700,000 people getting the extra money they are entitled to and 1 million disabled households getting more money per month. We are not replicating the old system, because the old system did not work. This is a system that helps people into work and makes sure work pays.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

24 Oct 2018, 12:09 p.m.

The Prime Minister is completely out of touch with the reality of what universal credit is about: £50 per week worse off; weeks waiting for the first payment when people move on to universal credit; people going into debt and losing their homes; and people who are stressed out beyond belief because they cannot make ends meet and have to access a food bank just to feed their children. That is the reality of universal credit.

Eight years of Tory austerity means that there are 40,000 nurse vacancies in the NHS. The number of students applying for nurse training has fallen by over 16,000 since the cut in the nurse bursary. The Prime Minister told us that austerity was over. Will the Government take the necessary step next week in the Budget of restoring the nurse bursary so that those who want to become nurses in our NHS can realise their ambitions?

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

24 Oct 2018, 12:14 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned the wait that people experience in order to get their first universal credit payment. We announced in last year’s Budget that we were reducing the period of time that people had to wait for their first payment, and what did the right hon. Gentleman and the Labour party do? They voted against that change.

The right hon. Gentleman said that if austerity is ending, we should be doing more for the national health service. May I remind him that this Government have announced that we will be putting £394 million a week more into the national health service? At the last election, Labour said that, with 2.2% more money going in each year, the NHS would be the envy of the world. I can tell the House that we are not putting 2.2% in. We are not putting 2.5% in and we are not putting 3% in. We are putting an extra 3.4% in, with a long-term plan that will deliver for people up and down this country.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

24 Oct 2018, 12:15 p.m.

Applications for nurse training dropped by 12% in September—that is the reality of taking away the nurse bursary. Those who want to become nurses cannot afford to go into debt in order to do a job that they want to do and that we all need them to do.

This Government are simply not being straight with the public. They promised an end to austerity; they cannot even fool their own councillors. They promised the NHS an extra £20 billion, but we do not know where it is coming from or when it is coming. GP numbers are falling, health visitor numbers are falling and nurse numbers are falling. They promised that universal credit would protect everyone, but the Work and Pensions Secretary let the cat out of the bag, saying that

“people will be worse off”.

The Prime Minister claimed that she is ending austerity, so will she confirm that next week’s Budget will mean more police on our streets and more nurses in our hospitals, and that elderly people in desperate need of care will not go ignored and forgotten by her Government?

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

24 Oct 2018, 12:17 p.m.

What have we seen under this Government? We have seen more money being made available to the police, more money for the health service, more money for social care, more money going into local authorities, and more money going into our schools. At the end of this Parliament, we will be spending £500 million more in real terms on people of working age and children in our welfare system.

Let us look at what we now know about the Labour party’s alternative. We now see, as reported by a respected academic, that Labour’s plans, by its own admission, would cost £1,000 billion. That is the equivalent of £35,000 for every household in this country. We know what that would mean: higher debt; higher taxes; fewer jobs—Labour just taking us back to square one.

Alex Chalk Portrait Alex Chalk (Cheltenham) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q3. Belmont and Betteridge special schools do a fantastic job of educating children with special educational needs in my constituency, but over the past decade they have had to contend with an explosion in pupil complexity—emotional, behavioural and medical. Does the Prime Minister agree that we need a careful examination of what lies behind such seismic changes so that we can deliver the best possible outcomes for all our children for years to come? [907245]

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

I thank my hon. Friend for raising that important issue. It is absolutely vital that such children have the right combination of education, health and care provision to ensure that they have the support that is right for them and that they are able to reach their full potential, just like other children. Our reforms to both SEN provision and disability assistance are key to that. However, my hon. Friend’s question was about research, and the increasing complexity is an important matter. I am pleased to say that the Department for Education has several research projects under way in fields relating to such children and young people, and we are committed to building up a rich body of evidence on both identification and the outcomes of educational experiences. The Department is also scoping new work that will help to lead to our understanding of such issues so that we can ensure that these children get the support that they need.

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

24 Oct 2018, 12:20 p.m.

The kidnapping, killing and mutilation of the respected Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has rightly shocked the world. The killing has all the hallmarks of being a premeditated murder. Angela Merkel has announced that her Government will no longer approve new arms sales exports to the Saudi kingdom—that is moral leadership. The UK Government must take decisive action; words of condemnation will not do. Will the Prime Minister finally commit to ending the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia?

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

24 Oct 2018, 12:20 p.m.

It might be helpful if I take this opportunity to update the House on this particular issue. As I told the House on Monday, we condemn the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the strongest possible terms. After his disappearance, we made it clear that Saudi Arabia must co-operate with Turkey and conduct a full and credible investigation. The claim that Mr Khashoggi died in a fight does not amount to a credible explanation, so there remains an urgent need to establish exactly what happened.

The Foreign Secretary, other Foreign Ministers and our ambassador have been making our position very clear to the Saudi Arabians, and I expect to speak to King Salman later today. I can tell the House that no Minister or official is attending the investment conference in Saudi Arabia, and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is taking action against all suspects to prevent them from entering the UK. If these individuals currently have visas, those visas will be revoked today.

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

24 Oct 2018, 12:21 p.m.

I am afraid that the Prime Minister said nothing about arms sales. Condemnation will not do; it is action that is required.

The Saudi Arabian regime is responsible for multiple human rights violations: critics face death by crucifixion; teenagers are tortured; and women are imprisoned for campaigning for their human rights. The brutal bombardment of Yemen is pushing that country to the brink of famine, and now we have the state-sponsored murder of Jamal Khashoggi. What more evidence of criminality does the Prime Minister need before she fully commits to ending the sale of arms to the brutal regime in Saudi Arabia?

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

We are concerned about the humanitarian issues in Yemen. We are actually the third largest humanitarian donor to Yemen, where we have provided significant support to millions of men, women and children. I remind the right hon. Gentleman that, yes, we do support the Saudi-led coalition’s military intervention in Yemen, which has been recognised by the United Nations Security Council and came at the request of the legitimate President Hadi.

On defence exports, the procedures we follow are among the strictest in the world. They were introduced in 2000 by the late Robin Cook, and they were updated in 2014 by the Conservative-led coalition Government to reflect our obligations under the arms trade treaty. A licence will not be issued to Saudi Arabia or any other destination if to do so would be inconsistent with any provision of the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria. In July 2017 the High Court ruled that our sales to Saudi Arabia were compliant with those regulations, but of course we keep things under review.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Order. A lot of Members are still waiting to contribute, and we must try to accommodate them.

Richard Graham Portrait Richard Graham (Gloucester) (Con)
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Q7. The shadow Chancellor visited Gloucester last week and said that my constituency has suffered from austerity. In fact, Labour’s high unemployment has been slashed; investment, manufacturing and apprenticeships are strongly up; a new centre for the homeless has been established; our two NHS trusts are rated good; and a new Gloucester transport hub funded by the Government opens tomorrow. Does my right hon. Friend agree that, although we must do more, all we have achieved so far would be severely damaged if the Opposition leadership had its chance to impose economic bankruptcy on us again, with constituents better off on benefits than in work? [907249]

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

24 Oct 2018, 12:23 p.m.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right about this Government’s record. I congratulate him on the work he has done and pay tribute to his work with the charity HaVinG—Having a Voice in Gloucester—alongside Bishop Rachel. The charity is doing important work in Gloucester.

My hon. Friend is right that, overall, we see employment at a near record high, youth unemployment at a new record low and real wages rising. That is the benefit of a Conservative Government taking a balanced approach to our economy. The one thing we do know is that the Labour party would undo all that good and leave our economy in a mess once again.

Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South) (Lab)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q4. May I give the Prime Minister some brief relief from Brexit and ask her about dogs? Last week, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee said that the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, with its specific breeds definition, was not fit for purpose, as hundreds of pit bull-type dogs are confiscated yearly and destroyed, with no impact on dog bite numbers. Will she ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to act urgently on the Committee’s recommendations and not take the approach of the Lords Minister, who told the Committee that even a good-tempered dog had to be put down as “collateral damage”? My wonderful bull terrier-type dog was rescued from the streets, and to think of her being destroyed because her face did not fit in court is chilling. [907246]

Mr Speaker
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24 Oct 2018, 12:25 p.m.

We have heard quite a bit about the dog situation, but I think we are going to hear more.

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

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I had not looked at the detail of the Select Committee report on that particular issue, but I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the Secretary of State is a keen dog owner, as indeed is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is sitting next to me, and that the Secretary of State will be looking at this issue very carefully.

Paul Masterton (East Renfrewshire) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Q10. We might not make much whisky in East Renfrewshire, but we do enjoy drinking it, and Scotch whisky is the jewel in the crown of our food and drink sector. Last year’s duty freeze has raised more money for the Exchequer, just as Scottish Conservatives argued it would, and the industry continues to make more positive investment in our communities. Would not the least we could do on Monday be to extend that freeze for another year? [907253]

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

I thank my hon. Friend for the lobbying he has carried out, and I am sure that the Chancellor heard what he said. Of course, as ever, everybody will have to wait until the Budget is delivered to find out what is in it. My hon. Friend and my Conservative colleagues from Scotland mounted a robust campaign on Scotch whisky duty last year, and we were pleased to be able to take the stance that we did on the duty, because we recognise the importance of Scotch whisky to the UK. I have to say that 2017 was a record-breaking year, and that in the first half of 2018, Scotch whisky exports increased further to nearly £2 billion. This is an important industry.

Patrick Grady Portrait Patrick Grady (Glasgow North) (SNP)
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Q5. How does denying, delaying or disrupting visas for Moldovan and African trade commissioners, Palestinian academics, artists at WOMAD and Celtic Connections, or Malawian priests and pupils enhance the Prime Minister’s vision of a global Britain? Does the Prime Minister understand that the visa crisis and perceived travel ban serve only to prove that the “hostile environment” lives on, and that Brexit is a small, isolationist retreat from the world stage? [907247]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Oct 2018, 12:27 p.m.

The reality is far different from the situation the hon. Gentleman has suggested. There is no travel ban. We remain open to business and to people from around the world, and we will continue to be so under the new immigration system—a skills-based immigration system—that we will be introducing when we leave the EU.

David T C Davies Portrait David T. C. Davies (Monmouth) (Con)
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Q11. Women who have concerns about proposals to change the Gender Recognition Act 2004 that would allow self-definition of gender have had their meeting venues cancelled, have been subject to intimidation and have even been dragged into courts as a result of private prosecutions. Will the Prime Minister agree to a short meeting with a victim of sexual violence who believes that these plans will needlessly put more women in danger? [907254]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Oct 2018, 12:28 p.m.

My hon. Friend raises a very important subject. It is right that we are making these proposals on gender reform, but of course this is a very sensitive issue and we have to make sure that any changes take into account their potential impact on women. I am very sorry to hear of the experience of the individual whom he mentioned.

In the run-up to the consultation on the Gender Recognition Act and during it, officials met more than 90 different groups, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups, women’s groups, refuges and domestic abuse charities, but this is an important and sensitive issue, and we want voters to be heard. May I suggest to my hon. Friend that I will ask a Minister from the Government Equalities Office, which leads on this issue, to meet him and the individual concerned to hear directly about their experience?

Jess Phillips Portrait Jess Phillips (Birmingham, Yardley) (Lab)
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Q6. It seems that our laws allow rich and powerful men to pretty much do whatever they want, as long as they can pay to keep it quiet, so does the Prime Minister support the Court of Appeal’s decision to back non-disclosure agreements that have been used to silence women who have been sexually harassed and others who have been racially abused? [907248]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Oct 2018, 12:29 p.m.

The hon. Lady will understand that I cannot comment on a particular case that is currently before the courts. What I will say, and what I have said previously, is that sexual harassment in the workplace is against the law and such abhorrent behaviour should not be tolerated. An employer that allows the harassment of women to go undealt with is sending a message about how welcome they are and about their value in the workplace. Just as we will not accept any behaviour that causes people to feel intimidated or humiliated in the workplace, there must be consequences for failing to comply with the law. Non-disclosure agreements cannot stop people from whistleblowing, but it is clear that some employers are using them unethically. The Government are going to introduce for consideration and consultation measures to seek to improve the regulation around non-disclosure agreements and to make it absolutely explicit to employees when a non-disclosure agreement does not apply or cannot be enforced.

Justine Greening (Putney) (Con)
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24 Oct 2018, 12:31 p.m.

Currently, if someone pays a mortgage, their mortgage payments every month help them to build up their credit history, but if someone pays rent every month, that does not happen, which just is not fair. We can fix this situation for 15 million renters. The Creditworthiness Assessment Bill could help to give millions more renters throughout the country affordable credit, including mortgages, so that we can all get on in life. Will the Prime Minister take the opportunity of next week’s Budget to look at whether the Government could support this Bill, which has cross-party support and has already passed through the Lords unamended?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I thank my right hon. Friend for raising this issue. As she will be aware, I cannot say what will be in the Budget next week, but she will have noticed that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was here to hear her point.

Christine Jardine Portrait Christine Jardine (Edinburgh West) (LD)
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Q9. My constituency, unlike that of the hon. Member for East Renfrewshire (Paul Masterton), does depend on the scotch whisky industry, which is perhaps why the industry is suffering, given that so many people like myself are currently supporting Macmillan with “Go Sober”. There is also the threat from Brexit, of course. Stubborn Brexiteer isolationism could see us faced with a hard border with the Republic of Ireland and a disconnect with parts of the country that voted overwhelmingly for remain. Is the Prime Minister ready to accept that her party’s narrow-minded nationalism poses an existential threat to the United Kingdom and that Brexiteer belligerence could break up Britain? [907251]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Oct 2018, 12:32 p.m.

We are working in the national interest and we are working for a good deal with the European Union that will ensure that across all industries that are important to this country, including that of members of the Scotch Whisky Association, we can continue to trade with not only the EU but other countries around the world on good terms that will enhance that industry which, as the hon. Lady says, is important for her constituency. We are working for a good deal for the whole United Kingdom once we are outside the European Union.

Dame Caroline Spelman (Meriden) (Con)
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24 Oct 2018, 12:32 p.m.

Given that the new generation of diesel engines are much cleaner and are comparable with petrol engines, will the Prime Minister use her good offices to help to adjust vehicle excise duty rates, which are having the perverse effect of encouraging people to hang on to their older, more-polluting diesel cars and causing job losses due to falling sales in the car industry?

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

I thank my right hon. Friend for raising this issue. I think that she was making a Budget bid; as she will know, and as I have said in previous answers, the Budget will be announced last week. Nevertheless, this is an important issue because we saw demand for new diesel cars fall by 17% in 2017. That decline is in line with the trend in other major European car markets—demand fell by 13% in Germany, for example. It is because of the health impacts of nitrogen oxides that we see these changing patterns and that it has been important to take action. We want to ensure that manufacturers come forward with cleaner cars as soon as possible.

Judith Cummins Portrait Judith Cummins (Bradford South) (Lab)
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Q12. West Yorkshire police has 900 fewer officers than it had eight years ago. The result is a 45% rise in violent and sexual crimes in my constituency this year. Now the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners has warned that the Government’s pension shortfall will cost £165 million and leave 4,000 fewer officers on our streets. For West Yorkshire alone, that will mean another 400 officers lost. Does the Prime Minister agree that this is a national scandal and that the police should be fighting crime, not fighting for funding? [907255]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Oct 2018, 12:34 p.m.

The hon. Lady particularly referenced sexual abuse crimes and other crimes of that sort. We have seen an increase in the number of crimes being reported, but that is partly because we now have an atmosphere where people are more willing and ready to come forward and report these crimes. She refers to pensions; this issue has been known about for some years.

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset) (Con)
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24 Oct 2018, 12:34 p.m.

There have been reports today that the Government are willing to agree that the European Court of Justice would be the final arbiter in most cases arising from Brexit. As this would be inconsistent with the Prime Minister’s previous commitments, will she authoritatively deny it?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Oct 2018, 12:34 p.m.

I see quite a few reports and claims about what is happening in relation to Brexit, but I have not seen those particular reports. If they are as my hon. Friend has suggested, they are wrong. We have been very clear, in the work that we have been doing, about ensuring that the European Court of Justice will not have jurisdiction in the UK in the future.

Tonia Antoniazzi Portrait Tonia Antoniazzi (Gower) (Lab)
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Q13. This week’s hard-hitting Women and Equalities Committee report on sexual harassment in public places, the use of NDAs by perpetrators of sexual harassment, the pernicious two-child policy and women bearing the brunt of budget cuts to services show that equality is stalling under this Government. How is the Prime Minister going to address this? [907256]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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24 Oct 2018, 12:34 p.m.

The position is not as the hon. Lady has set out in her question. In fact, we see women with greater opportunities today. For example, there are more women in the workplace. Crucially, action is being taken as a result of the work that we have been doing on the gender pay gap and the requirement on companies to report on gender pay, and the pay gap has been coming down over the years. I absolutely take seriously the issue of sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace. It is very important that anybody in any workplace is treated—and feels that they are being treated—with respect and dignity, and that action is taken to ensure that we eradicate sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace.

Lord Bellingham Portrait Sir Henry Bellingham (North West Norfolk) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

24 Oct 2018, 12:34 p.m.

Does the Prime Minister agree that when veterans have already been investigated by both military and civilian authorities, they should never be hounded and pursued unless there is overwhelming new evidence? I thank the Prime Minister for her personal engagement on this issue, but does she agree that what is happening to numerous Northern Ireland veterans is against natural justice, damaging to recruitment and contrary to the military covenant?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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We owe a vast debt of gratitude to the heroism and bravery of the soldiers and police officers who upheld the rule of law and were themselves accountable to it—something that will always set them apart from and above the terrorists who, during the troubles in Northern Ireland, were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of members of the security forces. The current system in Northern Ireland is flawed. It is not working. It is not working for soldiers, for police officers or for victims; and, of course, that group of victims also includes many soldiers and police officers. Although a number of terrorist murders from the troubles are actively under investigation by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and other police forces, I am clear that there is a disproportionate focus on former members of the armed forces and the police under the current mechanisms for investigating the past. We are committed to ensuring that all outstanding deaths in Northern Ireland should be investigated in a way that is fair, balanced and proportionate.

Susan Elan Jones (Clwyd South) (Lab)
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Q14. The Prime Minister has already said that she does not know what is in next week’s Budget. As she probably does not know whether she is going to be Prime Minister next week, perhaps that is not a surprise. Does she agree that providing tax reliefs for private schools is not a good use of public money? Will she just have a little word about that with the Chancellor, who is sitting next to her? [907257]

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

24 Oct 2018, 12:34 p.m.

What I said about the Budget was that I was not going to tell the House today; hon. Members will have to wait until Monday.

Baroness Morgan of Cotes Portrait Nicky Morgan (Loughborough) (Con)
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24 Oct 2018, 12:39 p.m.

My right hon. Friend will remember visiting the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre at Stanford Hall, which sits between the constituency of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke) and my constituency of Loughborough. The Prime Minister knows that the “N” relies on the NHS being able to work with and benefit from the rehabilitation of those brave members of the armed forces she has just spoken about. What we really need now is my right hon. Friend to bring together people in national Government with local NHS commissioners to get the final decisions made so that we can ensure that we have this world-class facility to benefit people in need of rehabilitation. I will not be going there myself, but I can see that repairing injured legs is very important.

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

24 Oct 2018, 12:39 p.m.

First, I am sure that the whole House will want to join me in paying tribute to the courage and dedication of our armed forces. For the vast majority, their experience of serving is positive. Of course, we do see those members of our armed forces who sadly do suffer injuries that are life-changing. The rehabilitation capacity and capability that has been built up at Headley Court and that is now being put forward in the new Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre is very important. It was incredible to actually meet people who had been through that rehabilitation and see the massive change it had made to their lives.

This could be a huge benefit to the national health service as well. I thank my right hon. Friend for highlighting this issue. The question of national health service patients being able to use this centre is an important aspect. Everybody’s aim is to be able to ensure that that can happen. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care is currently reviewing the proposal for NHS patients to benefit from this legacy of expertise in the new centre.

Sir Vince Cable (Twickenham) (LD)
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24 Oct 2018, 12:41 p.m.

Does the Prime Minister not accept that the very sensible objectives of universal credit, to simplify benefits and improve work incentives, were seriously undermined by the 2015 Budget of her friend, the former Chancellor, who slashed the work allowance, and that that, together with administrative rigidity, is now causing enormous hardship for families and single parents? So will she listen to the charities and her own Back Benchers who are urging her to pause the roll-out until these deficiencies are remedied?

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

24 Oct 2018, 12:42 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman rightly makes the point that the universal credit system introduces a system that is simpler, with a single benefit and a single claim, rather than something like the six claims that people might have been making. It is also a benefit that encourages and works with people to help them into the workplace, and a benefit that ensures that, as they earn more, they keep more. This is a benefit that is good for people, as we see from the extra numbers in work in receipt of universal credit and from the fact that, for people who go on to universal credit, the evidence is that they then go on to earn more in the workplace. Encouraging people into work; making sure that work pays; a simpler system: those are the benefits of universal credit.

Caroline Johnson Portrait Dr Caroline Johnson (Sleaford and North Hykeham) (Con)
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24 Oct 2018, 12:42 p.m.

As a children’s doctor, I have seen how some young people with life-threatening conditions, and their families, can struggle to receive the care and support they need, particularly respite care and out-of-hours community care. I would therefore like to draw my right hon. Friend’s attention to the report by the all-party parliamentary group on children who need palliative care, which I co-chair with the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne North (Catherine McKinnell). May I ask my right hon. Friend to take a personal interest in this report so that we can work together to ensure that our most vulnerable children, and their families, get the support that they need?

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

24 Oct 2018, 12:43 p.m.

This is an important issue, and obviously my hon. Friend, with her particular experience, is well aware of it in a sense that many of us will not be. I thank her, first, for the work that she undertakes as the co-chair of the APPG on children who need palliative care. Of course, I am sure that the thoughts of the whole House are with those parents who find themselves in this situation. We have made a commitment to everyone at the end of life, including children, setting out the actions we are taking to make high quality and personalisation a reality for all and to end the variation in end-of-life care. This covers a whole range of aspects, including practical and emotional support, because that is an important aspect of good end-of-life care. That is set out, of course, in our end-of-life commitment and our ambitions for palliative care framework. But it can be difficult for some commissioners to develop suitable care models for children. That is why, I understand, NHS England is convening an expert group to develop commissioning models that are suitable for this particularly vulnerable group of patients and ensure they get the support and care they need.

Faisal Rashid (Warrington South) (Lab)
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Can the Prime Minister assure the hundreds of my constituents in Warrington South who have been trapped in their homes by spiralling ground rents that the Government’s commitment to crack down on unfair leasehold practices will be fulfilled and that the Government will restrict some ground rents to zero, as promised by the former Housing Minister less than a year ago?

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

24 Oct 2018, midnight

We are indeed following up on our commitments in that area.

Theresa Villiers Portrait Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet) (Con)
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24 Oct 2018, midnight

The whole House should welcome the commitment to another £20 billion for the NHS. Does the Prime Minister agree that is it vital that the NHS produces a plan to use that money wisely and to strengthen frontline care, including expanding GP services for my constituents in Chipping Barnet?

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

24 Oct 2018, midnight

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. This is the biggest cash boost that the NHS will have received in its history. It is important that this money is used carefully and properly, to ensure that care for patients is improved. That is one of the principles that we have set out for the 10-year plan that the NHS is working on at the moment, and I am sure the NHS will be looking carefully at the GP services in her constituency.

Dan Jarvis Portrait Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central) (Lab)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

24 Oct 2018, 12:45 p.m.

I am sure the whole House will want to send their best wishes to my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry North West (Mr Robinson), who is recovering from a recent operation. In his absence, and with his blessing, we will proceed with the Third Reading of his Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill this Friday. It is a Bill that will save lives and give hope to many. The Prime Minister previously has been very supportive, as has the Leader of the Opposition. Will she today reconfirm her support for this important Bill on Friday?

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

24 Oct 2018, 12:47 p.m.

First, may I join the hon. Gentleman and other Members of the House in wishing the hon. Member for Coventry North West (Mr Robinson) the very best? We do indeed continue to support the Bill. As the hon. Gentleman said, it is very important, and it will save lives.

Bernard Jenkin Portrait Sir Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex) (Con)
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24 Oct 2018, midnight

May I join my right hon. Friend in her praise of and best wishes to the retiring Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood? He not only served many Governments, but appeared in front of many Select Committees, including my own, and was as popular among Members of Parliament as he was among his colleagues. He will be missed.

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

24 Oct 2018, midnight

I thank my hon. Friend for his comments. He is absolutely right. As I said, Sir Jeremy has been for more than three decades an exemplary civil servant. His public service is second to none, and I am sure that he enjoyed the opportunity to appear before my hon. Friend’s Committee.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

24 Oct 2018, midnight

Oh, I imagine it was probably the height of his enjoyments. Who could possibly have thought otherwise? We are grateful to the Prime Minister for what she said.

Fiona Onasanya (Peterborough) (Lab)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

24 Oct 2018, midnight

Given the £1.2 million-worth of cuts per year since 2014 to children’s services in my constituency, does the Prime Minister believe we have adequate resources for special educational needs and disabilities in Peterborough?

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

We treat the issue of children’s services very carefully, because all children, no matter where they live, should have access to high-quality care. Spending on the most vulnerable children has increased by over £1 billion since 2010, but of course, this is not simply about money; it is about how councils deliver good and excellent services. We need to ensure that everybody is delivering according to best practice. That is why we are improving social work training and spreading innovation and best practice, and where councils are not delivering the standard of service we expect, we will intervene to make sure they improve.

Oral Answers to Questions

Theresa May Excerpts
Wednesday 18th July 2018

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Wales Office
Alison Thewliss Portrait Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central) (SNP)
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Q1. If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 18 July. [906520]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister (Mrs Theresa May)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

18 Jul 2018, noon

Today marks 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela. I am sure that the whole House will want to join me in paying tribute to his extraordinary life and agree that his message of forgiveness, peace and reconciliation is as relevant today as it ever has been.

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.

Alison Thewliss Portrait Alison Thewliss
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

18 Jul 2018, 11:55 a.m.

I am proud to have Nelson Mandela Place in my constituency, and we celebrate that today as well.

There were 934 drug-related deaths in Scotland last year. Each one of those deaths is a tragedy, and a preventable one at that. Drug laws are reserved to Westminster. How many more families is the Prime Minister willing to devastate before she will allow Glasgow to get on with the work of building a drug consumption room to save lives?

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

18 Jul 2018, 12:04 p.m.

I agree with the hon. Lady that each death due to drugs is a tragedy, and I am sure that every Member of this House will have known people in their own constituency who have gone through that terrible suffering when they have lost members of their family. There is no legal framework for the provision of drug consumption rooms in the UK and we have no plans to introduce them. A range of offences is likely to be committed in the operation of drug consumption rooms. It is for local police forces to enforce the law in such circumstances and we would expect them to do so, but our approach on drugs remains very clear: we must prevent drug use in our communities and support people dependent on drugs through treatment and recovery.

Andrea Jenkyns Portrait Andrea Jenkyns (Morley and Outwood) (Con)
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Q4. Could the Prime Minister inform the House at what point it was decided that Brexit means remain? [906523]

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

18 Jul 2018, 12:05 p.m.

At absolutely no point, because Brexit continues to mean Brexit. I know that my hon. Friend wants us to talk about the positives of Brexit and I agree with her: we should be talking about the positive future for this country. I understand that she has also criticised me for looking for a solution that is “workable”. I have to say, I disagree with her on that. I think what we need is a solution that is going to work for the United Kingdom, ensure that we leave the European Union and embrace that bright future that we both agree on.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab)
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18 Jul 2018, 12:05 p.m.

I, too, pay tribute to Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birth. The people of South Africa stood up against the most vile injustice of apartheid. Their solidarity and the solidarity of people around the world freed him and ended the scourge of apartheid. We should pay tribute to all of them on this day.

People are losing trust in this Government. The Transport Secretary, the International Trade Secretary and the Brexit Secretary were all members of the Vote Leave campaign committee. The Environment Secretary was the co-chair. They have been referred to the police by the Electoral Commission, having refused to co-operate with the Electoral Commission. Will the Prime Minister guarantee that her Cabinet Ministers will fully co-operate with the police investigation?

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

18 Jul 2018, 12:07 p.m.

I say to the right hon. Gentleman that I actually question the way in which he put his question. He has made an accusation in this House against Members of this House—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Order. The question was heard and the Prime Minister’s answer must be heard.

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

18 Jul 2018, 12:07 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman has made an accusation in this House against individual Members of this House and of the Government, and I suggest that, when he stands up, he reflects on whether or not it was correct to do so. The Electoral Commission is an independent regulator, accountable to Parliament, not to the Government. It has, as we know, taken steps in relation to the Vote Leave campaign. I would expect that all those involved and required to do so will give the evidence that is required and respond appropriately to any questions that are raised with them. But I say again to the right hon. Gentleman that I think he should stand up, think very carefully about making accusations about individual Members, and withdraw.

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

18 Jul 2018, 12:08 p.m.

rose—[Interruption.]

Break in Debate

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

18 Jul 2018, 12:08 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

I stated the fact that the Electoral Commission has made that reference. That is what I said. I asked the Prime Minister for a guarantee that her Ministers will co-operate with the police on any investigations that they may make. That is not judgmental—it is a guarantee they will co-operate. These are serious issues. Current Cabinet Ministers were indeed central to the Vote Leave campaign. After two years of dither and delay, the Government have sunk into a mire of chaos and division. The agreement that was supposed to unite the Cabinet led to the Cabinet falling apart within 48 hours, and on Monday the Government U-turned to make their own White Paper proposals unlawful. Given that the proposals in the White Paper are now obsolete, when will the new White Paper be published?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - -

18 Jul 2018, 12:10 p.m.

I heard the right hon. Gentleman say in his first question that members of the Government had failed to co-operate with the Electoral Commission investigation. I say again that he should withdraw that. It is very important in this country that politicians do not interfere with police investigations, that the police are allowed to do their investigation and that everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. I still contend that he made accusations against individual members of the Government that were unjustified and he should withdraw them.

The right hon. Gentleman then came to the amendments that the Government accepted to the customs Bill on Monday night. I will explain the position to the House. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
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18 Jul 2018, 12:11 p.m.

Order. We are less than a third of the way through—possibly significantly less—and people are becoming over-excited. They must calm themselves and we must hear the Prime Minister.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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18 Jul 2018, 12:11 p.m.

The hon. Member for Brent Central (Dawn Butler) said, “This will be interesting”. I will go through each of the amendments in turn for the purposes of the House. Amendment 72 related to parliamentary scrutiny on plans under clause 31 to form a customs union with the EU. We are going to leave the customs union with the EU so we accepted that enhanced parliamentary scrutiny. Amendment 73 related to regulations on the application of VAT in certain circumstances. Such an arrangement is not part of the White Paper and the Chequers agreement, and we were able to accept that too. New clause 37 was to prevent a customs border down the Irish sea. That is Government policy. New clause 36 related to reciprocity and accounting for tariffs collected, and that concept is in the White Paper. The Chequers agreement and White Paper are the basis of our negotiations with the European Union, and we have already started those negotiations.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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18 Jul 2018, 12:12 p.m.

That is all very interesting, but could the Prime Minister explain why the Defence Minister had to rebel against the Government in order to support the Cabinet’s position of a few days before? The Government are in complete chaos. The centrepiece of the White Paper was something called the “facilitated customs arrangement”. Having spent a week trying to convince their own MPs that this cobbled-together mishmash was worth defending, they abandoned it. So what is their plan now for customs?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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18 Jul 2018, 12:12 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman is wrong. We have not abandoned the facilitated customs agreement. We are discussing it with the European Union.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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18 Jul 2018, 12:13 p.m.

Does the Prime Minister seriously expect 27 member states of the EU to establish their own bureaucratic tariff-collection infrastructure just to satisfy the war within the Conservative party in Britain? On Monday evening, the new Brexit Secretary was starting the next round of Brexit negotiations. No wonder he didn’t turn up—he doesn’t know what he is supposed to be negotiating. Two years on from the referendum and 16 months on from triggering article 50, is it not the case that the Government have no serious negotiating strategy?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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The right hon. Gentleman is just plain wrong in his interpretation of what is happening. I have a copy of the White Paper here and I am very happy to ensure he gets a copy after these PMQs so that he can perhaps read it and understand what the Government are doing. There are indeed differences between the Leader of the Opposition and me on this issue. I will end free movement; he wants to keep it. I want us out of the customs union; he wants us in. I want us out of the single market; he wants us in. I want us to sign our own trade deals; he wants to hand them over to Brussels. I have ruled out a second referendum; he won’t. There is no doubt which of us is respecting the will of the British people and delivering on the vote, and it is not him.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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18 Jul 2018, 12:14 p.m.

We are 11 days on from the so-called Chequers agreement, and the Brexit White Paper did not even survive contact with the Cabinet or the Tory Back Benches, and has not yet even been discussed with the EU. The White Paper states:

“The UK is committed to membership of the European Convention on Human Rights”.

Is the new Brexit Secretary signed up to that?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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18 Jul 2018, 12:15 p.m.

Let me say to the right hon. Gentleman that we are signed up to that: it was in our manifesto. Let me also say to him that he has stood up and asked virtually the same question, and obviously has not listened to any of the answers that I have given him. The point of this is not that you just read out the question you thought of on Tuesday morning, but you actually listen to the answers that the Prime Minister gives.

The Chequers agreement stands. The White Paper stands. The right hon. Gentleman said that we had not even discussed the White Paper with the European Union. I think I have told him in at least two if not three answers that we are already discussing it with the European Union.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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18 Jul 2018, 12:15 p.m.

The Prime Minister obviously forgot the question that I just asked her, which was about the Brexit Secretary’s support or otherwise for the European convention on human rights. He is on record as saying:

“I don’t support the Human Rights Act and I don’t believe in economic and social rights”.

He is obviously backsliding to keep his job, or that is the new policy of the Government.

With only three months to go until the final withdrawal agreement is due to be signed, the former Brexit Secretary has resigned, the White Paper is in tatters, and the new Brexit Secretary is skipping negotiations. After two years of negotiating with themselves, the Government wanted to shut down Parliament five days early. They have even given up on negotiating with each other. Is it not the case that the Government are failing to negotiate Brexit and failing to meet the needs of the—[Interruption.]

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn
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18 Jul 2018, 11:55 a.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Is it not the case that the Government are failing to negotiate Brexit and failing to meet the needs of the country because they are too busy—far too busy—fighting each other?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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Let me tell the right hon. Gentleman what I have been doing over the last week, and let me also look at what the right hon. Gentleman has been doing over the last week. While I was agreeing the future of NATO with President Trump—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
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18 Jul 2018, 12:18 p.m.

Order. Mr Lewis, you are a very over-excitable denizen of the House. You are not as well behaved as your little baby daughter.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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While I was agreeing the future of NATO with President Trump, the right hon. Gentleman was joining a protest march against him. While I was delivering a plan for our future trade with the EU, he was delivering a plan to teach children how to go on strike. While I was negotiating our future security relationship with Europe, he was renegotiating the definition of anti-Semitism. He protests; I deliver.

Break in Debate

Helen Whately Portrait Helen Whately (Faversham and Mid Kent) (Con)
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Q5. Thirty-one member countries of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance have an agreed definition of anti-Semitism. Does my right hon. Friend agree that all political parties should adopt that definition, and its examples, without amendments or omissions? [906524]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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18 Jul 2018, 12:20 p.m.

I agree with my hon. Friend that all political parties should do just that. The Conservative party has done that, but sadly the Labour party does not agree. The Labour party is trying to redefine anti-Semitism to allow people to say that Israel is a racist endeavour. The Chief Rabbi says that what the Labour party is doing is sending

“an unprecedented message of contempt”

for British Jews. Even some of the right hon. Gentleman’s own MPs are saying that this is anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitism is racism. The Labour party should accept that. The right hon. Gentleman should accept that. We should all sign up, as the Conservative party has, to the definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and all its annexes.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) (SNP)
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18 Jul 2018, 12:20 p.m.

We should all welcome the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. Those of us in Scotland are very proud that the city of Glasgow was the first in the world to give the freedom of a city to Nelson Mandela, something of which he in turn was also proud.

This week the Prime Minister caved in to her right-wing Brexiteers, undermining her negotiating position with the EU. In her attempt to hold together her fractured party, she has managed to unite the country against this Government. Playing fast and loose with her own position makes the UK a laughing stock with our negotiating partners. The Prime Minister has put her narrow party interest before that of the country. Is it not the case that the events of this week make a no deal much more likely?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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18 Jul 2018, 12:21 p.m.

As I explained in answer to the questions from the Leader of the Opposition, we are negotiating with the European Union on the basis of the Chequers agreement and the White Paper. Those discussions started this week and have been continuing this week. The right hon. Gentleman talks about putting a political party’s interests before that of the country. I think the Scottish National party should really think about what it is doing when it promotes the independence of Scotland, which is clearly against the interests of its country.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
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18 Jul 2018, 12:22 p.m.

The reality is that this is a Prime Minister who has lost control of her own party, a Prime Minister who is in office but not in power, and a Parliament that is so divided that it simply cannot function. Mr Speaker, to use a good Gaelic word, it is a bùrach. We cannot crash out of the EU without a deal. We need to think of the next generation, who will pay a price for this folly. They will see lost opportunities and lost jobs. Did the Prime Minister come into Parliament to have this as her legacy? Will she now face up to the reality and extend article 50?

David T C Davies Portrait David T. C. Davies (Monmouth) (Con)
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Q8. The Prime Minister’s proposals offer a practical and reasoned way to deliver Brexit. Does she agree that it is high time that Labour MPs, and, yes, some Conservatives, stop the fear-mongering, get behind their country and support the Prime Minister as she leads us out of the European Union? [906527]

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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There are strong feelings around the whole House on this issue, but what we need is a deal that is credible and workable, that protects jobs and protects our precious Union, and that delivers on the result of the referendum. That is exactly what we are doing with the Chequers agreement. It allows the UK to leave the European Union, and to take back control of our money, laws and borders. That is what our plan delivers. As my hon. Friend says, let us work together and deliver for the British people.

Rosie Cooper Portrait Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire) (Lab)
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Q2. If I may, in relation to ongoing matters—[Interruption.] [906521]