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)|
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.
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.
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? 
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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
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?
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? 
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?
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?
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? 
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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?
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? 
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? 
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? 
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? 
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. 
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? 
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.
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? 
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?
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? 
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?
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? 
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?
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.
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?
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—
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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.]
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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.]
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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?
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? 
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?
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.
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? 
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? 
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? 
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? 
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? 
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? 
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? 
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? 
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?
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? 
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? 
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?
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? 
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
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?
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? 
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?
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?
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?
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?
No, no, no. Answer the question!
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?
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?
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? 
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?
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?
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? 
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. 
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? 
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? 
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? 
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? 
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?
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? 
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?
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? 
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?
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? 
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?
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? 
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.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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?
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?
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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?
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?
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?
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?
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.]
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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? 
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?
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?
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?