Debates between Theresa May and Ian Blackford

There have been 117 exchanges between Theresa May and Ian Blackford

1 Wed 19th April 2017 Early Parliamentary General Election
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (363 words)
2 Wed 29th March 2017 Article 50
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (235 words)
3 Tue 14th March 2017 European Council
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (262 words)
4 Wed 25th January 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (201 words)
5 Wed 18th January 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (203 words)
6 Wed 14th December 2016 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (281 words)
7 Mon 18th July 2016 UK's Nuclear Deterrent
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (250 words)
8 Mon 16th November 2015 Paris Terrorist Attacks
Home Office
5 interactions (331 words)
9 Wed 30th December 2020 European Union (Future Relationship) Bill
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (719 words)
10 Wed 24th July 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (691 words)
11 Wed 17th July 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (447 words)
12 Wed 10th July 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (869 words)
13 Wed 3rd July 2019 G20 and Leadership of EU Institutions
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (1,204 words)
14 Wed 3rd July 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (367 words)
15 Wed 26th June 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
7 interactions (529 words)
16 Mon 24th June 2019 European Council
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (1,030 words)
17 Wed 19th June 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
7 interactions (586 words)
18 Wed 12th June 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (535 words)
19 Wed 22nd May 2019 Leaving the European Union
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (623 words)
20 Wed 22nd May 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (374 words)
21 Wed 15th May 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (395 words)
22 Wed 8th May 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Scotland Office
7 interactions (435 words)
23 Wed 1st May 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for International Development
5 interactions (442 words)
24 Thu 11th April 2019 European Council
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (760 words)
25 Wed 10th April 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (516 words)
26 Wed 3rd April 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
9 interactions (660 words)
27 Wed 27th March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (460 words)
28 Mon 25th March 2019 European Council
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (893 words)
29 Wed 20th March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
6 interactions (578 words)
30 Wed 13th March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (556 words)
31 Wed 6th March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
5 interactions (508 words)
32 Wed 27th February 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
5 interactions (536 words)
33 Tue 26th February 2019 Leaving the European Union
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (710 words)
34 Wed 20th February 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
7 interactions (557 words)
35 Wed 13th February 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (381 words)
36 Tue 12th February 2019 Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
10 interactions (794 words)
37 Wed 30th January 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
7 interactions (569 words)
38 Wed 23rd January 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
5 interactions (509 words)
39 Mon 21st January 2019 Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (1,236 words)
40 Wed 16th January 2019 No Confidence in Her Majesty’s Government
Cabinet Office
6 interactions (848 words)
41 Wed 16th January 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (612 words)
42 Tue 15th January 2019 European Union (Withdrawal) Act
Attorney General
3 interactions (1,157 words)
43 Mon 14th January 2019 Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (648 words)
44 Wed 9th January 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (520 words)
45 Wed 19th December 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (526 words)
46 Mon 17th December 2018 European Council
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (714 words)
47 Wed 12th December 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (506 words)
48 Wed 5th December 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
7 interactions (725 words)
49 Mon 3rd December 2018 G20 Summit
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (851 words)
50 Wed 28th November 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
7 interactions (599 words)
51 Mon 26th November 2018 Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (931 words)
52 Thu 22nd November 2018 Progress on EU Negotiations
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (728 words)
53 Wed 21st November 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
7 interactions (474 words)
54 Thu 15th November 2018 EU Exit Negotiations
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (773 words)
55 Wed 14th November 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (421 words)
56 Wed 31st October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (474 words)
57 Wed 24th October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
5 interactions (677 words)
58 Mon 22nd October 2018 October EU Council
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (1,040 words)
59 Wed 17th October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (359 words)
60 Wed 10th October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (447 words)
61 Wed 12th September 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (519 words)
62 Wed 5th September 2018 Salisbury Update
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (859 words)
63 Wed 5th September 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (420 words)
64 Wed 18th July 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
5 interactions (458 words)
65 Mon 16th July 2018 NATO Summit
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (703 words)
66 Mon 9th July 2018 Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (705 words)
67 Wed 4th July 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
9 interactions (552 words)
68 Mon 2nd July 2018 June European Council
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (644 words)
69 Wed 27th June 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (581 words)
70 Wed 20th June 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
5 interactions (705 words)
71 Wed 13th June 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
7 interactions (382 words)
72 Mon 11th June 2018 G7
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (733 words)
73 Wed 6th June 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
7 interactions (519 words)
74 Wed 23rd May 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (557 words)
75 Wed 16th May 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (525 words)
76 Wed 9th May 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (524 words)
77 Wed 2nd May 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
5 interactions (469 words)
78 Wed 25th April 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (581 words)
79 Wed 18th April 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (426 words)
80 Tue 17th April 2018 Military Action Overseas: Parliamentary Approval
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (879 words)
81 Mon 16th April 2018 Syria
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (1,134 words)
82 Wed 28th March 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (429 words)
83 Mon 26th March 2018 European Council
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (927 words)
84 Wed 21st March 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
5 interactions (455 words)
85 Wed 14th March 2018 Salisbury Incident
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (686 words)
86 Wed 14th March 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
5 interactions (458 words)
87 Mon 12th March 2018 Salisbury Incident
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (636 words)
88 Wed 7th March 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (521 words)
89 Mon 5th March 2018 UK/EU Future Economic Partnership
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (709 words)
90 Wed 28th February 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (550 words)
91 Wed 21st February 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (515 words)
92 Wed 7th February 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (535 words)
93 Wed 24th January 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Scotland Office
5 interactions (623 words)
94 Wed 17th January 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (423 words)
95 Wed 10th January 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (439 words)
96 Wed 20th December 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (525 words)
97 Mon 18th December 2017 European Council
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (549 words)
98 Wed 13th December 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (594 words)
99 Mon 11th December 2017 Brexit Negotiations
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (912 words)
100 Wed 6th December 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (545 words)
101 Wed 22nd November 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (384 words)
102 Wed 15th November 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
5 interactions (584 words)
103 Wed 1st November 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (554 words)
104 Wed 25th October 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (299 words)
105 Mon 23rd October 2017 European Council
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (593 words)
106 Wed 18th October 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
7 interactions (330 words)
107 Wed 11th October 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
7 interactions (350 words)
108 Mon 9th October 2017 UK Plans for Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (801 words)
109 Wed 13th September 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
7 interactions (504 words)
110 Wed 6th September 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (457 words)
111 Wed 19th July 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (395 words)
112 Mon 10th July 2017 G20
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (559 words)
113 Wed 5th July 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (593 words)
114 Wed 28th June 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
7 interactions (393 words)
115 Mon 26th June 2017 European Council
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (907 words)
116 Thu 22nd June 2017 Grenfell Tower
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (905 words)
117 Wed 21st June 2017 Debate on the Address
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (346 words)

Early Parliamentary General Election

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 19th April 2017

(3 years, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I will not take any further interventions for a while. This is a limited-time debate and hon. Members wish to make their contributions.

Today we face a new question: how best to secure the stability and certainty we need over the long term in order to get the right deal for Britain in the Brexit negotiations and make the most of the opportunities ahead. I have come to the conclusion that the answer to that question is to hold a general election now in this window of opportunity before the negotiations begin.

I believe it is in Britain’s national interest to hold an election now. A general election is the best way to strengthen Britain’s hand in the negotiations ahead. Securing the right deal for Britain is my priority and I am confident that we have the plan to do it. We have set out our ambition: a deep and special partnership between a strong and successful European Union and a United Kingdom that is free to chart its own way in the world. That means we will regain control of our own money, our own laws and our own borders, and we will be free to strike trade deals with old friends and new partners all around the world.

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

I am very grateful to the Prime Minister for giving way. I can understand that she wants to give the House the opportunity to determine whether there should be an election, but if the House determines that now is the time, why is it that the Prime Minister stands in the face of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government, which have voted for a referendum on Scotland’s future? If it is right that the people here have a voice and a vote on the future of this country, why should not the Scottish people be given a vote as well?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

Now is the time for a general election because it will strengthen our hand in the negotiations on Brexit. Now is not the time for a second Scottish independence referendum because it would weaken our hand in the negotiations on Brexit. Strength and unity with the Conservatives; division and weakness with the Scottish nationalists.

Article 50

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 29th March 2017

(3 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

My hon. Friend makes an important point. I am pleased to say that we have seen significant commitments to inward investment into the UK, not only in the automotive industry in recent months, but in things such as the SoftBank takeover of ARM Holdings. At the UK-Qatar business and investment conference yesterday, the Qataris committed to setting up a £5 billion fund for investment in infrastructure here in the UK. That is a real vote of confidence in the UK.

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

When the Prime Minister talks about self-determination, may I say respectfully to her that what is good for the goose is good for the gander? Will she please respect that the people of Scotland voted to remain within Europe, and that our democratically elected Parliament has now also voted on that and is seeking a section 30 agreement from this Government so that the people of Scotland, on the basis that we are being dragged out of the European Union against our will, have our right to a say? To quote back to us the 2014 referendum is disrespectful, because we were told at that point that our place in Europe was secure. Prime Minister, do the right thing: allow the people of Scotland to have their say.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I assume that the hon. Gentleman voted to leave the United Kingdom in that referendum, and that would have been a vote to leave the European Union.

European Council

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Tuesday 14th March 2017

(3 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

We will certainly continue to prioritise the work we do in relation to modern slavery, not only to support the victims of that vile trade but to break the criminals who make so much money out of it and stop the damage and abuse they bring to individuals. As my hon. Friend says, we have looked at the issue in particular in areas such as the agricultural sector in his part of the country, and we want to continue to co-operate on the issue as we leave the European Union. We will continue to co-operate on these sorts of issues because they are not just about membership of the European Union; we need to do something about them, whatever international organisations we are part of.

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

The Prime Minister talks about listening to the Scottish Government, but that is of course on the back of the people of Scotland voting overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union. Given the UK Government’s intransigence, it is little surprise that the Scottish National party is proposing a motion in the Scottish Parliament to ask for a mandate for a second referendum. Will the Government allow that to take place, or will she attempt to veto the democratic wishes of the Scottish people and the Scottish Parliament?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

There was a referendum in Scotland in September 2014 in which the people of Scotland voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. Sitting next to the hon. Gentleman is the right hon. Member for Gordon (Alex Salmond), who said at the time that it would be a once-in-a-generation vote.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 25th January 2017

(4 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I and the whole Cabinet were very pleased to be able to visit Daresbury. I was pleased to sit down and meet small businesses on that particular site and to hear their support for what the Government are doing in the industrial strategy. We should be very clear that Britain is open for business. We will be out there trading around the world. We will be a global leader in free trade, bringing jobs, economic growth and prosperity to every part of this country.

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

Q14. We are all aware of the hundreds of thousands of women around the world who marched on behalf of women’s rights last weekend. In this House, we have been lobbied by members of the Women Against State Pension Inequality. Many MPs have lodged petitions asking the Government to act. Can the Prime Minister tell us how many MPs have lodged such petitions? (908376)

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I think the number of petitions presented in this Parliament is a matter for the House authorities. The hon. Gentleman also knows that the Government have already taken action in relation to the issue of women’s pensions by reducing the changes that will be experienced by women and putting extra money into that.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 18th January 2017

(4 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I thank my hon. Friend for his comments and for raising this issue. I understand that the consultation on the spatial framework closed earlier this week and that there has been huge interest among local people. I echo his comment that it is absolutely right that local leaders should take into account all the representations made.

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

Q4. In the UK, we have 14 regional markets for electricity distribution, and highlanders and islanders are facing higher prices because of where we live. Electricity distribution charges for the north of Scotland are an eye-watering 84% higher than those for London. The Prime Minister talks about fairness. Will she introduce a universal market for electricity pricing and stop penalising highlanders and islanders? Those of us who live in the coldest, windiest places are discriminated against by her Government, and it must end. (908228)

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

The hon. Gentleman draws attention to the fact that geography of course has an impact on these matters. He talks about living in the coldest and windiest places, and obviously one interesting issue in Scotland is the opportunity for renewables there. I can tell him, however, that we are looking at making sure that energy markets in the UK are indeed working properly.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 14th December 2016

(4 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I recognise the concern that my hon. Friend has raised; it is one that is shared by many Kent MPs who see this problem only too closely in their own constituencies. May I assure her that the Government share the desire to ensure that we do not see this fly-parking of lorries across Kent and that we do provide suitable lorry parking facilities in Kent? I know that the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough (Andrew Jones), is looking at this issue very carefully. I recognise, from my time as Home Secretary, the pressure that can be put on the roads, villages and towns in Kent at particular times. The Government are working on it, and we will find a solution.

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

Q5. Now we know, courtesy of the Government’s infrastructure watchdog, that mobile coverage in the UK is worse than in Romania, will the Prime Minister take steps to introduce a universal service obligation? In the highlands it is fairly typical to get the message, “No signal.” It would often be better to use carrier pigeons. Does the Prime Minister recognise that that is not acceptable, and will she take responsibility? It is time to connect the highlands to the rest of the world. (907845)

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the issue of decent mobile coverage does not only affect the highlands. There are parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland that are also affected. The Government have very strong commitments in relation to this; we have very strong commitments in relation to broadband. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport will deliver on those.

UK's Nuclear Deterrent

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Monday 18th July 2016

(4 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

No, I do not accept that at all. I have to say to the hon. Lady that, sadly, she and some Labour Members seem to be the first to defend the country’s enemies and the last to accept these capabilities when we need them.

None of this means that there will be no threat from nuclear states in the coming decades. As I will set out for the House today, the threats from countries such as Russia and North Korea remain very real. As our strategic defence and security review made clear, there is a continuing risk of further proliferation of nuclear weapons. We must continually convince any potential aggressors that the benefits of an attack on Britain are far outweighed by their consequences; and we cannot afford to relax our guard or rule out further shifts that would put our country in grave danger. We need to be prepared to deter threats to our lives and our livelihoods, and those of generations who are yet to be born.

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

Of course, when SNP Members go through the Lobby tonight, 58 of Scotland’s 59 MPs will be voting against this. What message is the Prime Minister sending to the people of Scotland, who are demonstrating, through their elected representatives, that we do not want Trident on our soil?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I have to say to the hon. Gentleman that that means that 58 of the 59 Scottish Members of Parliament will be voting against jobs in Scotland that are supported by the nuclear deterrent.

Paris Terrorist Attacks

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Monday 16th November 2015

(5 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

Yes, I can give my hon. Friend that reassurance. Indeed, the Foreign Office has ensured that such support is available for those who have returned who were caught up in this—not just those who were physically injured but those who have been traumatised as a result of the experience. I suggest that my hon. Friend contact the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), who is on the Treasury Bench, who will be able to enlighten him on what is available.

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

This afternoon I have received the sad news, courtesy of the Press and Journal, a newspaper in Scotland, that a young man from Fort William, Hamish MacDonald, known as Callum MacDonald, is in an induced coma in Paris having been caught up in the events in the Bataclan. What support can we give to the family in this situation—not just the young man involved but his extended family—and what solidarity can we show to those in France who have been caught up in this as well?

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

I am sorry to hear of the sad case of the hon. Gentleman’s constituent. Our thoughts are with him and his family and friends. Obviously, we hope that he will make a recovery.

Consular support is available to families who wish to support members of their family who are in hospital in France. On a wider point, we have also been looking at what assistance the Department of Health and its experience can give to France, particularly with regard to those who have been traumatised by the event. Work is ongoing on those sorts of exchanges. As I have said, consular assistance is also available from the British embassy in Paris, and the Foreign Office has sent a team to Paris to help with that work.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

The hon. Gentleman cannot stand up and say that we need to look after the security of this country and then say that we should be scrapping Trident.

European Union (Future Relationship) Bill

(2nd reading: House of Commons)
Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 30th December 2020

(1 month, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is a pleasure—[Interruption.]

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 24th July 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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

24 Jul 2019, 12:18 p.m.

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

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

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

24 Jul 2019, 12:19 p.m.

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

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

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

24 Jul 2019, 12:20 p.m.

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

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

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

24 Jul 2019, 12:21 p.m.

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

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

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

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

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 17th July 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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17 Jul 2019, 12:19 p.m.

I know my right hon. and learned Friend has also been working on this issue for some time, and I thank him for highlighting the work that has been done. There is no place for animal cruelty in this country. When the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill, to which he alludes, is passed, those who mistreat or abuse animals, or are involved in animal fighting, will rightly face one of the toughest penalties available anywhere in the world. That will cement our place as a world leader on animal welfare. The new maximum penalty will soon also apply to those who attack our brave service animals such as Finn the police dog, through Finn’s law. I pay tribute to supporters, and to organisations such as Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and the RSPCA, for championing these changes. I wish the sentencing Bill a speedy passage through this House and the other place.

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

This week the Prime Minister finally did the right thing. When Donald Trump told women that they should “go home”, she called it out as unacceptable. Let me clear that Donald Trump’s actions are textbook racism; they are repugnant and diplomatic politeness should never stop us saying so. Will the Prime Minister now, on reflection, also take the opportunity to call out and condemn the racism of the “Go Home” vans that she created in the coalition Government with the Liberal Democrats?

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

17 Jul 2019, midnight

I said at the time that that was too blunt an instrument. There is an important issue, which is that the public expect us to have a fair immigration system that deals with those who are here illegally. That is what we need to do. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the comments made by President Trump. As he alluded to, I have strongly condemned those comments.

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

17 Jul 2019, 12:19 p.m.

When the Prime Minister implemented the hostile environment policy, her party stayed silent. When she delivered the racist “Go Home” vans, the Tories remained silent. When asylum seekers are deported to places where their lives are at risk, the Tories stay silent, and when faced with the racist columns written by the former Foreign Secretary, they stay silent. Is the hon. Member for Aberconwy (Guto Bebb) not correct when he warns that the Tories are

“appealing to the type of nationalism that has seen UKIP grow”?

While the Tory party shares more with the extremes of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage, is it any wonder that Scotland looks on in horror?

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

The Conservative party is a party for the whole of the United Kingdom, and the only party in this House that is appealing to blatant nationalism is the party that wants to take Scotland out of the UK.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 10th July 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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10 Jul 2019, 12:21 p.m.

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

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) (SNP)
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10 Jul 2019, 12:21 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 Jul 2019, 12:23 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

G20 and Leadership of EU Institutions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 3rd July 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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3 Jul 2019, 1:09 p.m.

I am a little disappointed. Germany has not had presidency of the European Commission since something like the 1960s, so it is a bit churlish of my hon. Friend to suggest that we should not have voted for a German President. May I also point out that Ursula von der Leyen was born in Brussels? That might make it worse for my hon. Friend than the fact that she is from Germany. It is important that we see not only a gender balance but a geographical spread across the Commission in the appointments. He talks about us leaving the European Union. I want us to leave the European Union. I voted three times for us to leave the European Union. Had he voted with me, we would already be outside the European Union.

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

3 Jul 2019, 1:19 p.m.

I thank the Prime Minister for her statement and advance sight of it. On a point of clarification, the Prime Minister suggested in Prime Minister’s questions that there was no review of devolution. That is of some surprise to those of us who were listening to Radio Scotland this morning and heard Lord Duncan talk about exactly that; indeed, he said that Lord Dunlop has been appointed to that role. Many Scottish journalists have tweeted that they have had briefings from No. 10, so perhaps the Prime Minister will take this opportunity to clarify whether she is going to Scotland tomorrow or whether she does not know what her diary involves.

I endorse the Prime Minister’s robust response to Russia, which must end its destabilising activity. Those responsible for the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal should be brought to justice, and the Russian state must take responsibility and allow justice to prevail. I also thank the Prime Minister for confirmation of the nominees for the Commission. We, of course, welcome the attempt to achieve a gender balance. It is important that the European Parliament is now able to take a role in this process.

The SNP welcomes that many of the world leaders reaffirmed their support for the full implementation of the Paris agreement but condemns President Trump’s ducking of the issue. The fact that President Trump refuses to wake up to the reality is irresponsible and delusional. This ticking time bomb needs a rapid and robust response. While the UK Government’s commitment is to reach targets by 2050, in Scotland we are trying to achieve net zero faster, by recently committing to a target of net zero emissions by 2045. Scotland has already reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 47% since 1990. But we all need to go further and faster. We have an obligation to the planet and to future generations to recognise that this is a climate emergency.

I welcome the fact that world leaders affirmed their commitment to the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable growth and that the summit agreed to work towards a free, fair, stable and open-market environment in trade and investment. However, the Osaka declaration following the G20 summit says that there is still concern about the state of the global economy, noting

“growth remains low and risks remain tilted to the downside.”

The Prime Minister must take responsibility for the Government’s failure to grow the UK economy and fight inequality. Without an appropriate economic response from the UK Government, inequality is set to get worse rather than better. The Institute for Fiscal Studies agreed when it stated:

“If the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecasts are correct, inequality is likely to increase in the next few years.”

Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur, found that one fifth of the UK population—14 million people—live in poverty and that, by 2021, 40% of children will be living below the poverty line. Those are staggering figures. No Prime Minister can be proud of leaving this as her legacy.

There was a glaring omission in the Prime Minister’s statement. The Japanese Foreign Minister warned against a no-deal Brexit, and said that it could risk Japanese auto manufacturers going through customs and that operations may not be able to continue. Therefore, I want to ask the Prime Minister: does she agree with the Japanese Foreign Minister?

Will the Prime Minister vote against a no-deal Brexit and against anyone intent on delivering a no-deal Brexit as being her successor? Furthermore, will she now act to undo the punitive austerity measures put in place by her Government to unlock economic growth and to begin to turn the tide on income inequality across the United Kingdom? Will she admit that she has made a multitude of mistakes, and failed to use power to help the powerless and rebalance our economy in a way that lifts the poor out of poverty and the disadvantaged into advantage? Prime Minister, this is your legacy of failure. It is your choice in your final days to do the right thing.

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

3 Jul 2019, 1:21 p.m.

First, I will be going to Scotland tomorrow and I will be making a speech about the benefits of the Union of the United Kingdom. May I suggest that, rather than, as SNP Members always do, jumping on the bandwagon of something they read in the newspapers, they should actually wait to hear what I have to say in my speech tomorrow before they opine upon it?

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his comments about Russia and the importance of our working to reduce and stop Russia’s destabilising activity, which takes many forms. We have seen it, most particularly, in the use of that chemical weapon on our streets, but of course we see it in cyber-attacks, in disinformation and in attempts to interfere in what is happening in other countries—often in democratic processes—and we will continue to work with others to bring about the aim that we all want.

The right hon. Gentleman references again the issue about no deal and a deal. I am afraid that the answer to his points has not changed. It has not changed from Prime Minister’s questions a little earlier this afternoon. I have consistently said that I think it is in the best interests of the UK to leave with a good deal. I believe we negotiated a good deal. Parliament was not willing to support that good deal, but I voted three times to ensure that we left the European Union with a deal. He chose to vote three times to leave with no deal, so I am not taking any lessons from him on that particular issue.

The right hon. Gentleman talks about failure to use powers. Actually, the best example of a failure to use the powers they have is the SNP Government in Scotland, who have been given extra powers, yet have consistently failed to use them. Whenever they are given extra powers, they do not use them. All they do is come back and say, “Please, sir, can we have some more?” Start doing the day job and stop focusing only on independence—that is what the SNP needs to do.

The right hon. Gentleman talked about economic growth. I am pleased to say that this country, under Conservative Governments, has seen I think 27 quarters of economic growth. That is the longest period of consistent growth of any of the G7 countries and that is a record the Conservatives are proud of.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 3rd July 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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3 Jul 2019, 12:14 p.m.

I thank my hon. Friend for raising what I know is an important issue that is of concern in his constituency and elsewhere in Northamptonshire. Subject to parliamentary approval, of course, the new authorities will be a significant step towards ensuring that residents and businesses can in future have the sustainable, high-quality local services they deserve. Officials are working hard with the eight Northamptonshire councils on the detail of the secondary legislation, because that will need to include detail. Our aim is to lay the statutory instrument as soon as practical for parliamentary debate and for approval.

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

3 Jul 2019, 12:15 p.m.

May I join the Prime Minister in welcoming the Pride event in London this week and of course right throughout the world, and acknowledge that it is the Scottish National party that has proportionately the largest LGBT group here in Parliament?

This Prime Minister’s days are numbered. Her review of devolution is nothing more than an act of sheer desperation. This is a Prime Minister running scared of the people of Scotland. Does the Prime Minister think the future of Scotland should be decided by the people who live and work there or by her party?

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

3 Jul 2019, 12:15 p.m.

The future of Scotland was decided by the people who live and work there: it was decided in 2014 and they wanted to stay as part of the United Kingdom.

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

3 Jul 2019, 12:16 p.m.

If the Prime Minister looks at the opinion polls she will see there is a majority for independence.

Scotland’s First Minister was explicitly clear when she said:

“It’s for the Scottish people—not a Tory PM—to consider and decide what future we want for our Parliament and country.”

Will the review of devolution include the views of her would-be successors that a Scot would never be Prime Minister and that Westminster should actively choke off Foreign Office support for a First Minister doing her job—doing her job, Prime Minister? This review is a farce. The real legacy of this Prime Minister is shutting down Scotland and ignoring the will of the Scottish Parliament. The Tories have never supported devolution, and it is clear that they never, never will.

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

There is no review of devolution. Only one party in this House wants to stop devolution in Scotland—the Scottish National party.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 26th June 2019

(1 year, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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26 Jun 2019, 12:19 p.m.

My hon. Friend raises an important issue, including the importance of the proper training of youth workers. We are absolutely committed to a properly qualified and trained youth sector. Subject to a business case, we have committed to renewing funding for these qualifications and reviewing the youth work curriculum. I know that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is in very close contact with the National Youth Agency, is aware of the timing issues and hopes to make an announcement in the near future.

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

26 Jun 2019, 12:19 p.m.

May I associate myself with the Prime Minister’s remarks about reservists?

I am happy to be sporting a badge today in support of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. I hope that in the days that the Prime Minister has left in office, she will do what she can to secure Nazanin’s release from jail in Iran.

I hope the Prime Minister will join many of us outside Parliament today in support of the climate justice activists. I have to say to the Leader of the Opposition that the Scottish Government were the first Government in the UK to declare a climate emergency; I hope that the UK responds to the leadership that Scotland is giving on this issue.

“Do or die, come what may”—those are the words of the Prime Minister’s likely successor. The truth behind the Brexit chaos in the Tory party is encompassed in those words. The Tory dream is to drag us out of the European Union, no matter what the cost. Prime Minister, before you exit office, will you pledge never to vote for a successor willing to impose a devastating no-deal Brexit on all of us?

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

26 Jun 2019, 12:20 p.m.

I have to remind the right hon. Gentleman—yet again—that he is due to ask me questions about my responsibilities as Prime Minister. I remind him—yet again-that as Prime Minister I voted three times in this House to ensure that we could take the UK out of the European Union with a deal that was good for the whole of the United Kingdom, and he voted effectively for no deal.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My goodness, it is no wonder she is leaving. That was no answer to the question. The Prime Minister is showing gross cowardice. On the one hand, the Tories are asking people to put their faith in the most incompetent Foreign Secretary in a century—a man who has made a career out of lying, and who has spent the week avoiding the media, staging photos and playing to the extreme delusions of the Tory shires. On the other hand, we have the most incompetent Health Secretary in our history, a man who writes books on privatising our NHS. [Interruption.] The Conservatives clearly do not like the truth. Someone so desperate for a chance at his 30-year Downing Street fantasy that he—[Interruption.]

Break in Debate

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

26 Jun 2019, 12:22 p.m.

In the Prime Minister’s last days in office, will she finally act in the best interests of these islands, not of the Conservative party, and admit that neither of the candidates for office should ever be elected Prime Minister?

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

26 Jun 2019, 12:22 p.m.

I say to the right hon. Gentleman that either of the candidates for this high office would do a darned sight better job than anybody sitting on the Opposition Benches.

European Council

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Monday 24th June 2019

(1 year, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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24 Jun 2019, 3:58 p.m.

Yes, I understand the matter will be considered on 25 June. It is the Government’s intention to abstain. This does not bind us, and I remind my hon. Friend that the measure could be taken by the European Union at any stage in the future.

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

24 Jun 2019, 4:04 p.m.

May I add my congratulations on the 10th anniversary in the Chair, Mr Speaker? I gather that many are asking for 10 more years. Whatever it is, let us hope that you are with us for a considerable period to come.

I thank the Prime Minister for advance sight of her statement and for her update. Of course we support the efforts to bring COP 26 to the UK. It is important that the EU summit extensively discussed climate change—the biggest challenge we all face.

The Prime Minister mentioned that she raised the issue of Iran in the margins of the Council meeting. I am somewhat surprised it was not a major issue for debate at the Council meeting. We know that the situation in Iran is challenging to say the least. Diplomacy must prevail. I have just come from meeting with Richard Ratcliffe, who has spent over a week outside the Iranian embassy, now on hunger strike in protest against the wrongful imprisonment of his wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, in Iran, where she is serving a five-year sentence for espionage. Mr Ratcliffe has welcomed the fact that Iran and the UK are talking and has called for a swift solution, stating:

“We are obviously looking for a quick resolution and that’s why she went on hunger strike. It was to say enough’s enough.”

Surely enough is enough. So may I ask the Prime Minister to consider the plight of our citizens and to move to make representations, in the time that she has left, to assist the Ratcliffes in their campaign for freedom and justice?

The Prime Minister will also have seen the Foreign Secretary’s comments this morning on the possibility of military action. We must reduce tensions in the middle east. We will work constructively with her Government in supporting diplomatic efforts, but does she agree with Opposition Members that talk of military action at this stage in the diplomatic efforts is simply reckless?

It is also important to recognise that the statement from the Prime Minister was notably light on the details of the UK’s exit from the European Union. One would have thought that, at least in the margins, that would have been the topic of some debate. Let us remind ourselves of what President Tusk said, which was that we were to use the time wisely. The Prime Minister and both candidates to be her successor have all long promised that the withdrawal agreement can be renegotiated, yet just last week President Juncker said that the EU has repeated unanimously that there will be no renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement. Donald Tusk said the withdrawal agreement is “not open for renegotiation.” Will the Prime Minister take this opportunity today to clarify, for the benefit of her Back Bencher the right hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson) that the implementation period is indeed part of the withdrawal agreement? Does the Prime Minister agree with the comments of EU leaders that the withdrawal deal is not up for renegotiation? Will she confirm today that she will not vote for a Tory leadership candidate supporting a no-deal exit on 31 October? Will the Government not finally accept the reality and support a people’s vote? Prime Minister, this is your legacy, your last few days in power: use them to stop the hard Brexiteers in your party who have pushed you out and who want to push us out of the European Union at any cost.

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

24 Jun 2019, 4:02 p.m.

First, on the detention of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, obviously, our thoughts remain with her and her family, and she has faced unacceptable treatment during her three years in jail. Our position is very clear: she was on holiday, visiting her relations. The right hon. Gentleman asks me to raise the issue, and I have raised it on a number of occasions directly with President Rouhani. The Foreign Secretary has continued to raise it with Iranian Ministers as well, and of course it was raised when my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East was in Tehran over the weekend. It was possible to engage on this issue of those of our citizens who are detained. As I am sure the right hon. Gentleman knows, one of the issues here is the fact that the Iranian Government do not recognise dual nationality, and that is one of the issues behind this question of the detention of British citizens.

As regards the wider issues, at a time of increased regional tension and a crucial period for the future of the nuclear deal, it was right that my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East was able to further engage with the Government of Iran about the UK’s long-held concerns over Iran’s destabilising activity and the danger it poses to the region. He was able to reiterate our assessment that Iran almost certainly bears responsibility for recent attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman and that such activity needs to stop, to allow the immediate de-escalation of these rising tensions. He was also clear that the UK will continue to play its full part, alongside international partners, to find diplomatic solutions to reduce the current tensions.

The right hon. Gentleman then went on to discuss the issue of no deal and these various points. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pointed out yesterday that the implementation period is set out in part 4 of the withdrawal agreement. If we leave without a deal, there is no withdrawal agreement and therefore no implementation period. But the right hon. Gentleman again invited me to take no deal off the table and to do things to stop no deal. I am afraid that I will repeat to him what I have said to him on many occasions standing at this Dispatch Box, which is simply that he had three opportunities to take no deal off the table and he rejected every single one of them.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 19th June 2019

(1 year, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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19 Jun 2019, 12:20 p.m.

First, I think we should all recognise Thank a Teacher Day. I am sure everybody across this House remembers a particular teacher who had an impact on them, and indeed helped them to do what was necessary to become a Member of Parliament and to represent a local community in this House.

My hon. Friend makes a point about coastal communities. He will know that school funding is at a record level, and our reforms have been improving education standards. I want to ensure that schools have the resources they need and that reform continues to improve those standards; that we are able to give schools the budgets on a timetable to work for them; and—he mentioned the issue of fairer funding—that we continue to make progress on the fairer national funding formula. I think what my hon. Friend has done in referencing a coastal schools fund is actually a bid into the spending review that will be coming later in the year.

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

19 Jun 2019, 12:21 p.m.

May I associate myself with the Prime Minister’s remarks on the atrocity at the Finsbury Park mosque?

This is also World Refugee Week, and I want to commend my hon. Friend the Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Angus Brendan MacNeil), who brought forward a family reunion Bill some time ago. Will the Prime Minister, in the time that she has got left, please make sure that this comes forward to Committee?

Does the Prime Minister agree with the front runner set to succeed her that the Scottish people are a “verminous” race that should be placed in ghettos and exterminated?

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

19 Jun 2019, 12:22 p.m.

The Conservative and Unionist party not only takes the people of every part of this United Kingdom seriously, but we welcome the contribution from people of every part of this United Kingdom, because that is what makes the United Kingdom the great country it is—and long may Scotland remain part of it.

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

Well, of course, words matter and actions matter. The Prime Minister thought that the man who published those words in his magazine was fit for the office of our top diplomat, and he has not stopped there. He has said that Scots should be banned from being Prime Minister—banned from being Prime Minister, Mr Speaker—and that £1 spent in Croydon was worth more than £1 spend in Strathclyde. This is a man who is not fit for office. It has been said, “The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort, but where they stand at times of challenge and controversy.” This is a time of challenge, so does the Prime Minister realise that not only is the Member racist, but he is stoking division in communities and has a record of dishonesty? Does the Prime Minister honestly believe—[Interruption.]

Break in Debate

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

19 Jun 2019, 12:23 p.m.

Mr Speaker, I have informed the Member. He has called Muslim women “letter boxes”, described African people as having “watermelon smiles” and another disgusting slur that I would never dignify by repeating. If that is not racist, I do not know what is. Does the Prime Minister honestly believe that this man is fit for the office of Prime Minister?

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

19 Jun 2019, 12:24 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman has been leader of the SNP in this Chamber and has asked Prime Minister’s questions for some time, so he might understand that the purpose is to ask the Prime Minister about the actions of the Government. That is what he should be asking us about. I believe that any future Conservative Prime Minister will be better for Scotland than the Scottish nationalist party.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 12th June 2019

(1 year, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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

12 Jun 2019, 12:24 p.m.

I thank my hon. Friend for her words. I am very proud that we are committing to ending that, to ensure that we make our contribution to dealing with climate change, by today laying the legislation for a net zero emissions target by 2050. This puts us on the path to become the first major economy to set a net zero emissions target in law. Once again, this is the United Kingdom leading on the issue of tackling climate change, and delivering on the Conservative promise to leave the environment in a better state for the next generation. This is about long-term climate targets and we are proud of our world-leading record, but I absolutely agree that it is vital to continue this work to ensure that we protect our planet for generations to come.

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

12 Jun 2019, 12:25 p.m.

It is right that today we mark what would have been the 90th birthday of Anne Frank, a young woman who got a diary for her 13th birthday. We should never forget the trials and tribulations of those who paid the utmost price in that genocide and in the genocides that have followed since.

An attack on women’s rights, tax breaks for the rich paid for by raising national insurance in Scotland, closing down Parliament to ensure that a catastrophic no-deal Brexit can be imposed—does the Prime Minister think that any of those policies are respectable, never mind acceptable?

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

12 Jun 2019, 12:25 p.m.

The time will come when the right hon. Gentleman will be able to ask my successor questions at this Dispatch Box. He raises the issue of people paying in Scotland, but I remind him that only one party in Scotland has a policy to ensure that people in Scotland pay more tax, and that is the Scottish nationalists.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

12 Jun 2019, 12:26 p.m.

You would have thought, Mr Speaker, after the time that the Prime Minister has spent at the Dispatch Box, she would have realised that she is supposed at least to try to answer the question.

The state of politics in this place is humiliating. The Tory leadership race is a total horror show. The EU was clear: use the time wisely. Yet the Tories are obsessing with themselves at the expense of people across these islands; just when we thought that things could not get any worse, they are lurching even further to the extremes. The Prime Minister once described her party as the “nasty party” but, with leadership candidates such as the one announcing today, it is about to get a whole lot nastier. Does the Prime Minister agree that the fantasy fairy stories of the Tory party’s candidates are nothing more than an assault on our common sense? Tonight, will she vote to stop any no-deal madness?

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

12 Jun 2019, 12:27 p.m.

The motion on the table tonight is about whether the Government should hand control of business in this House to the Labour party and the Scottish National party. That is something we will not do. The right hon. Gentleman talks about the need to use this time wisely when he could have been using the time wisely. Had he voted for the deal that we negotiated with the European Union, we would have left the European Union and would have been out with an orderly exit.

Leaving the European Union

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 22nd May 2019

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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22 May 2019, 11:53 a.m.

We have already made the Government’s position clear: the Second Reading of the withdrawal agreement Bill will be brought to the House after the Whitsun recess.

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

It is customary to thank the Prime Minister for advance sight of her statement. It was some surprise that we all saw the statement being delivered not in the House of Commons but elsewhere yesterday. Why was the usual protocol of Parliament being the first to hear such statements from the Prime Minister not followed?

Let me give the Prime Minister some friendly advice: this deal is dead. Stop the charade, and let us get on with putting the decision back to the people once and for all. The headlines this morning cry of doom. Conservative Members are concentrating on ways to mount a leadership coup. Where are they? That is exactly what they are doing this afternoon—they are not here to support the Prime Minister.

This is no way to run a Government. The Prime Minister is asking MPs to vote for a deal that takes Scotland out of the single market and eventually out of the customs union. That simply cannot be allowed to happen. This is a rookie Government attempting to blackmail MPs. If we look behind the smoke and mirrors, we see a new, revised deal that has not even been negotiated with Brussels; a second EU referendum, but only if we vote for the Bill; a possible temporary customs union that a future UK Government could change and the European Union has dismissed; and a trade tariff arrangement that the former UK representative to the EU has described as “the definition of insanity”.

None of what the Prime Minister announced yesterday was discussed with the devolved Government in Edinburgh. This goes to the heart of the problem. In December 2016, the Scottish Government published a compromise position, which was rejected without discussion. Scotland’s voice has been ignored time and again. Brexit has meant powers being stripped away from the Scottish Parliament. There is no respect for the devolved Administrations by this Government. Westminster has ignored Scotland.

This is a sorry mess. Look around—there is no support for the Prime Minister’s deal. This deal faces an even bigger defeat than the last vote. Tomorrow, communities will make their voices heard in our democratic European elections. A vote for the Scottish National party is a vote to stop Brexit, a vote to stop this economic madness and a vote to respect Scotland’s decision in 2016. The Prime Minister has lost the confidence of her party. Parliament will not support her, and she has lost the trust of the people. It is time to go, Prime Minister. Will you do it?

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

22 May 2019, 11:53 a.m.

The right hon. Gentleman talks about discussions with the Scottish Government. Of course there have been discussions with the Scottish Government. I have met the First Minister, and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has held a number of meetings with the Scottish Government. The devolved Administrations have been party to the debates and discussions that have been taking place.

The right hon. Gentleman says that a vote for the Scottish nationalists is a vote not to leave the European Union. A vote for the Scottish nationalists is a vote to betray our democracy and to betray the view of the people of the United Kingdom. People asked us in this House to deliver Brexit. We have a responsibility to do that. The question is how we do that. The withdrawal agreement Bill gives us the opportunity to debate the issues about how we do that. This House should have those debates, come to a decision, stop ducking the issues and get on with the job that the British people instructed us to do.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 22nd May 2019

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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22 May 2019, 12:17 p.m.

My hon. Friend should not necessarily believe all the reports he reads in the newspapers, but let me be very clear on this particular issue. Around 3,500 people were killed in the troubles. The vast majority were murdered by terrorists. The legal position is clear. Any amnesty or statute of limitations would have to apply across the board. It would apply to terrorists. I am not prepared to accept a proposal that brings in amnesties for terrorists.

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

22 May 2019, 12:17 p.m.

I associate myself with the Prime Minister’s remarks about the heinous crime that took place two years ago in Manchester. We must all stand together against terrorism.

The Prime Minister’s customs tariff plan has been described by the UK’s former representative to the EU as the “definition of insanity”. Her customs union compromise has already been dismissed by the EU. Is this new deal not just a fantasy?

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

22 May 2019, 12:18 p.m.

I have set out the 10 points about the new deal. There is an issue about customs. There is a difference of opinion in the House on the future customs arrangement with the EU. That is why it is important that the House comes to a decision on that issue. Allowing the Second Reading of the withdrawal agreement Bill will enable the House to come to a decision on that issue. It will also enable the House to come to a decision on a second referendum, which I continue to believe would not be the right route for this country to go down. We should deliver on the first referendum before suggesting anything about a second.

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

My goodness—talk about ignoring reality! Prime Minister, look at the Benches behind you. The Prime Minister is fooling no one but herself. The truth is that the people of Scotland do not want her deal, her own party does not want her deal, and now even the pro-Brexit Labour Front Bench will not support her deal. Her time is up. Tomorrow, people in Scotland will have the choice to send a message by sending pro-European, outward-looking Scottish National party MEPs to Brussels to stop Brexit. What party does she think the people of Scotland will choose?

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

There is only one party in Scotland guaranteeing no more referendums, and that is the Conservative party. [Interruption.]

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 15th May 2019

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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15 May 2019, 12:18 p.m.

Of course, we are already putting record levels of funding into our schools—£43.5 billion. My hon. Friend is trying to tempt me to talk about the spending review that is upcoming, but I can assure him that we are committed to improving education for every child, because I absolutely passionately believe that we should be making sure that how far a child goes in life depends not on their background, their circumstances or who their parents are, but on their individual talents and their hard work. Everybody in this country should be able to go as far as their talents and their hard work will take them.

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

15 May 2019, 12:18 p.m.

I join the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in welcoming Mental Health Awareness Week.

Mr Speaker, pending your approval, we now know that the Prime Minister’s three-times defeated Brexit deal will return yet again in June. Can the Prime Minister tell us: has a back-room agreement been reached with the Leader of the Opposition to sell out the people of Scotland and to force her shoddy deal through?

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

The only party that wants to sell out the interests of Scotland is the SNP, with its bid for independence.

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

15 May 2019, 12:20 p.m.

I am not quite sure what that had to do with the question. You might at least try, Prime Minister, to answer the question. The people of Scotland are none the wiser about what is going on in the secret Tory-Labour talks. Scotland’s people, and the will of the Scottish Parliament, are being ignored. Enough is enough. Why is the Prime Minister so afraid of giving the people of Scotland their say? The fact is, at the European elections next week the people of Scotland will make their voices heard, whether Westminster likes it or not. Next Thursday, the people of Scotland can vote SNP to stop Brexit and to send a clear message that Scotland will not be ignored any more.

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

15 May 2019, 12:20 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman talks about the people of Scotland not knowing where things stand. Well, the people of Scotland will know where things stand if the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues vote for the withdrawal agreement Bill and ensure that we leave the European Union. If people want to vote for a party that not only is a Brexit party but is a party in government that can deliver Brexit, they should vote Conservative.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 8th May 2019

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Scotland Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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8 May 2019, 12:18 p.m.

My hon. Friend has raised an important issue and I thank her for doing so. I recognise the importance of this for many parents. Currently, parents can use the shared parental leave and pay scheme to take up to six months off work together, or to stagger their leave and pay so that one of them is always at home with their child in the first year. We are evaluating the shared parental leave and pay scheme. We want to see how we can improve the system for parents. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy hopes to publish findings on this issue later this year.

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

I also congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Wessex—[Interruption.] Sussex. We have had 113 days since the Prime Minister’s deal was rejected by Parliament—[Interruption.]

Break in Debate

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

8 May 2019, 12:20 p.m.

It has been 113 days since the Prime Minister’s deal was rejected by Parliament. A month of Tory talks with Labour, and we are still no further forward. The clock is ticking down and yet the Prime Minister is silent. When exactly will this House have an update from the Prime Minister?

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

8 May 2019, 12:20 p.m.

I had hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would join me in congratulating the Earl and Countess of Dumbarton on the birth of their child.

We are indeed talking with the Labour party. The public gave this House a very clear message last week—that they want us to get on and deliver Brexit. It is absolutely right that we do so, and we are working on an agreement that can command a majority of this House. If the right hon. Gentleman is so keen for us to get on with delivering Brexit, why did he not vote for the deal in the first place?

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

8 May 2019, 12:20 p.m.

Scotland does not want a Labour-Tory Brexit stitch-up. Scotland voted to remain, and once again—with no Scottish representation in the talks—our nation is being ignored. Does the Prime Minister think that this is good enough for a supposed Union of equals? She must confirm today that any deal will be put back to the people for a final say.

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

I have had talks with the right hon. Gentleman in the past on the issue of the Brexit deal. I have also discussed the matter with the First Minister of Scotland, and it has been made clear that any discussions on these matters should be with the First Minister. On the question of a second referendum, I remain absolutely of the view, as I have always been—I am not going to change my answer to him—that we should be delivering on the result of the first referendum that took place.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 1st May 2019

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Department for International Development
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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1 May 2019, 12:20 p.m.

I agree with my hon. Friend about the importance of Transport for the North. We are giving the great towns, cities and counties of the north more say over transport investment through Transport for the North, enabling the north to speak with one voice on its vision for transport over the next 30 years. It has made significant progress in finalising its strategic transport plan, and I welcome that. We are committed to reversing decades of underinvestment in northern transport, and we will have invested a record £13 billion in the region by 2020.

In regard to the A64, I understand that Highways England has undertaken considerable work on the performance on the A64. That will inform decisions that it will take on strategic road investments in the next period, between 2020 and 2025, as part of the second road investment strategy. I am sure that Highways England will have heard my hon. Friend’s passionate plea for his constituency.

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

1 May 2019, 12:22 p.m.

Scotland’s First Minister has pledged to match free EU student fees through to 2021. Will the Prime Minister follow that example, or is she determined to build a bigger hostile environment?

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

1 May 2019, 12:22 p.m.

We have made clear the position for EU students in this year, and we will make the announcements in good time for students in future years. I think I am right in saying that the Scottish Government have actually said that EU students can have free tuition up to 2024, but English students will have to pay.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

1 May 2019, 12:23 p.m.

Quite remarkable, because it is the Tories who have introduced fees for English students. When it comes to leaving the EU, the Prime Minister’s vision is blinded by ideology. In a no-deal scenario, her Government intend to curb EU student visas to three years. Scottish university courses are generally for four years. The Scottish Government and Scottish universities have asked repeatedly for this simple change to be made to reflect our circumstances. Will the Prime Minister confirm today that her Government will extend visas to four years to allow for Scottish university students, or will she once again completely ignore the wishes and interest of Scotland, as she has done right through this whole shambolic Brexit process?

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

I understand that the situation is not quite as problematic for those students as the right hon. Gentleman sets out, given the ability to convert visas. He started off his question by saying that the Government should not be driven by ideology. This is from the SNP! If the SNP is worried about students in Scottish universities, it needs to ensure that it spends more time improving the quality of education in Scotland and less time obsessing about independence.

European Council

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Thursday 11th April 2019

(1 year, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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

My right hon. and learned Friend is right that, as we look to that future relationship, we are looking at the customs arrangement that would be in place in that future relationship. We have already indicated, as is in fact reflected in the political declaration, that we want to retain the benefits of a customs union—no tariffs, no quotas and no rules of origin checks. That is provided for in the political declaration as it currently stands. Of course, we have not been able to enshrine that in legal text, because it is not possible for the European Union to negotiate that treaty with us until we are a third country—until we are out of the European Union—so any commitments that are made here will be about the negotiating objectives that we take through into that process. However, there will still be negotiations to be had with the European Union.

In terms of adding to and clarifying what is in that political declaration, and the position of the UK Government, the EU Council, as I have indicated, has said that it would be willing to look at additions and clarifications to that political decoration.

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

I thank the Prime Minister for advance sight of her statement. What a total fiasco the past few weeks, months and years have been under this shambolic Tory Government. The UK did not leave the EU in March, and thankfully, given the efforts of SNP politicians and others in this place, and the good will of the European Union, we will not crash out of the EU on Friday. What an irony that it is the European Union that has got the UK out of this mess. Let that be a lesson for Members in this place: it is the EU that has put the interests of our citizens in the UK first—our businesses, our farmers and our fishermen. We should not be lambasting the EU but thanking it.

With the European Union agreeing to a further extension to article 50, the Prime Minister must use this time to hold a second EU referendum, with the option of remaining on the ballot paper. It is now a very real possibility that we can remain in the European Union. There were a total of 133 days between the 1997 general election and the devolution referendum in Scotland. As of today, there are 204 days until the new Brexit deadline on 31 October. Will the Prime Minister now remove the ridiculous excuse that there is not enough time to hold a second referendum, with remain on the ballot paper? Scotland did not vote for Brexit and should not be forced to accept any Brexit deal that will harm our interests. The only way forward is to put the decision back to the people.

Scotland will not support a Brexit deal cooked up by the Brexit-supporting Labour and Tory parties, so let me ask this; yesterday, the Prime Minister ducked and dived my questioning, so a simple yes or no will suffice. Have the Government offered a second EU referendum in talks with the Labour party? Yes or no? Has the Labour party requested a second EU referendum in the talks? Yes or no? Is the Labour party cosying up to the Tories, asking to end freedom of movement as the price for their support for a Tory deal? [Hon. Members: “Yes or no?”]

Finally, will the Prime Minister recognise that she cannot fix this mess alone? She should stop ignoring the people of Scotland and open meaningful discussions with the devolved Governments and civic society. The Prime Minister should start leading by listening and please get her head out of the sand.

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

The Government have not offered a second referendum. I said to the right hon. Gentleman yesterday in Prime Minister’s questions that our position on that issue had not changed. A second referendum has been rejected twice by this House. But, of course, once we have agreed a deal and the Bill is going through that puts that in place, I am sure there will be Members of this House—because there are Members who do support a second referendum—who will want to press their case.

There is not an issue of an excuse about timing. I believe it is important for us to deliver on the result of the first referendum that took place in 2016. And can I just say this to the right hon. Gentleman? If he is so interested in referendums, the question is, will he now abide by the result of the 2014 Scottish referendum? Yes or no?

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 10th April 2019

(1 year, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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

10 Apr 2019, 12:17 p.m.

My hon. Friend has raised a very important point that matters to people up and down the country. The internet can be absolutely brilliant at connecting people and providing them with information, and connecting people not just nationally but across the world, but for too long the companies have not done enough to protect users, especially children and young people, from harmful content. That is not good enough, and that is why we have listened to campaigners and parents. We are putting a legal duty of care on internet companies to keep people safe. I congratulate my right hon. and learned Friend the Culture Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on the work that they have done on this issue. Online companies must start taking responsibility for their platforms and help restore public trust in their technology.

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

10 Apr 2019, 12:17 p.m.

Today, as we know, is the anniversary of the Good Friday agreement—a peace accord that not only ended violence in Northern Ireland but brought stability for all of us living throughout the United Kingdom. Brexit threatens to undermine that—to drag us out of the most successful peace project in history: the European Union. What a tragedy. It is now one week since talks began between the Tory Government and the Labour party. I want to ask the Prime Minister: at any point during these talks, has a second referendum been offered on the Government side of the negotiating table—yes or no, Prime Minister?

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

My position on a second referendum and the Government’s position has not changed. The House has rejected a second referendum two times. When we come to a deal, we will have to ensure that legislation goes through this House. Of course, it may be that there are those in this House who wish to press that issue as that legislation goes through, but my position on this has not changed.

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

10 Apr 2019, 12:19 p.m.

It was a very simple question: has a referendum been offered—yes or no? People cannot have faith in a backroom deal cooked up by two leaders who do not possess the ingredients to hold their parties together, never mind hold these islands together. Scotland will not be forced to accept what these two Brexit parties are preparing to serve up. There is no such thing as a good Brexit. There is no such thing as a good Tory-Labour Brexit deal. The Prime Minister must recognise the difference between what she believes is duty, but what the rest of us see as delusion. In her final days as Prime Minister, will she accept the EU offer of a long extension, accept that she has run out of road, and accept that the only choice now is to put this back to the people?

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

10 Apr 2019, 12:19 p.m.

As I have said, I have made my position clear. I think it is a little difficult for many of us in the House to see the right hon. Gentleman, week after week, stand up and say that the UK should stay in the European Union, given that Scottish independence would have meant taking Scotland out of the European Union. [Interruption.]

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 3rd April 2019

(1 year, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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

3 Apr 2019, 12:14 p.m.

I pay tribute to my right hon. Friend for the work that she did to bring in the Autism Act 2009. It was very important; it was groundbreaking. It was the first piece of parliamentary legislation to be linked to the condition of autism. I thank her and the members of the all-party parliamentary group on autism for their work on this important issue, including in highlighting the awareness week, and in ensuring that autism training is available for Members of Parliament. I hope, as she does, that Members from across the House take that up. We are reviewing our autism strategy to ensure that it remains fit for purpose, because we want to know what is working and where we need to push harder to transform our approach, so we will continue to look at the issue, which she rightly highlighted in her work on the Act. I welcome that, and congratulate her on the work that she continues to do on the issue.

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

3 Apr 2019, 12:16 p.m.

It is well known that the SNP supports a people’s vote and has supported revocation, but all the way through this process, right back to 2016, the SNP and the Scottish Government have sought compromise. We have published document after document, including “Scotland’s Place in Europe”, which we know Michel Barnier has read; he says it is an interesting document. Why does the Prime Minister continue to ignore Scotland’s voices? Why has she restricted herself to inviting the Leader of the Opposition to formal talks? Why has she not invited the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government? Why is it that Scotland’s voices are being ignored by this Prime Minister and this Government?

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

I am meeting the First Minister of Scotland later today, and we will be talking to her about Scotland. [Interruption.]

Break in Debate

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

3 Apr 2019, 12:17 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. As I say, I am meeting the First Minister of Scotland, and the First Minister of Wales, later today. The right hon. Gentleman asks why I offered to meet the Leader of the Opposition. I am happy to meet Members from across the House to discuss the Brexit issue, but I think I am right in saying that the Leader of the Opposition and I both want to ensure that we leave the European Union with a deal, whereas of course the right hon. Gentleman, as he has just said, has a policy of revoking article 50. That means not leaving the European Union at all.

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

3 Apr 2019, 12:17 p.m.

I asked about formal talks. I am well aware that my friend and colleague is meeting the Prime Minister this afternoon. [Interruption.]

Break in Debate

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

3 Apr 2019, 12:18 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Let me make it clear that the voices of Scotland will not be shouted down by Conservatives in this House. The important factor here is that the Prime Minister is having formal talks with the Leader of the Opposition. Scotland will not accept a Tory or a Labour Brexit. Scotland voted to remain in the European Union, and we simply will not be dragged out against our will. Will the Prime Minister now engage in formal talks with the Scottish Government, the Scottish National party and other Opposition parties to make sure that our voices are heard, and that the desire to stay in the European Union—the best deal for all of us—is listened to and respected?

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - -

As the right hon. Gentleman knows, because we have met to talk about these issues, just as I have met other party leaders from across the House, I am always happy to meet party leaders from across the House. I want to find a way forward that delivers on the referendum and delivers Brexit as soon as possible, but in a way that means that we do not have to fight the European parliamentary elections, and in an orderly way for this country. He talks about voices from Scotland; I can assure him that there are indeed strong voices for Scotland in this House—they sit on the Conservative Benches.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 27th March 2019

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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

27 Mar 2019, 12:15 p.m.

My hon. Friend raises a very important issue. Like the traditional paper petition system, we need to strike a balance in the e-petition system between allowing people to easily register their support for issues that are important to them while discouraging dishonesty. I have been assured that the Government Digital Service has been constantly monitoring signing patterns to check for fraudulent activity. I am sure she will understand that I cannot comment in more detail on the security measures that are taken, but petitions are subject to checks as part of due diligence.

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

27 Mar 2019, 12:16 p.m.

I am sure the House will want to join me in welcoming the members of the 6th Royal Scots Reserves who are joining us in the Gallery today and in thanking them for their service.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the cost this Prime Minister will pay to force her disastrous deal through is the price of her departure. Yet again, another Tory Prime Minister is willing to ride off into the sunset and saddle us with a crisis in the UK and an extreme right-wing Brexiteer coming into Downing Street. Does she feel no sense of responsibility for what she is about to do?

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

27 Mar 2019, 12:16 p.m.

My sense of responsibility and duty has meant that I have kept working to ensure that we deliver on the result and the will of the people.

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

27 Mar 2019, 12:17 p.m.

Let me help the Prime Minister. She can still change course; it is not too late. On Saturday I joined Opposition leaders and 1 million people to demand a second EU referendum, and 6 million people have signed an online petition demanding that the Prime Minister rethinks her strategy. Today this House will give her a way out, a chance to prevent disaster. Will she finally respect the will of Parliament, or will she continue to allow Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom to be held hostage by the extreme right wing of the Tory party and the DUP?

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

I am interested that the right hon. Gentleman joined the march for a second referendum. Last week his policy was revoking article 50, and now his policy is having a second referendum. Let us look at what the Government are doing: the Government are delivering on the vote of the 2016 referendum. What the right hon. Gentleman wants to do is to stay in the EU. [Interruption.] All the Scottish nationalists nod their heads and say they want to stay in the EU, and what would that mean? It would mean staying in the common agricultural policy—not in the interests of Scottish farmers. It would mean staying in the common fisheries policy—not in the interests of Scottish fishermen. It is Scottish Conservatives who are standing up for the interests of Scotland’s farmers and fishermen.

European Council

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Monday 25th March 2019

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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

25 Mar 2019, 3:50 p.m.

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right that the options that appear to be on offer have already been rejected by this Parliament. I would have to point out, of course, that for reasons that I explained in my statement—in relation, particularly, to the Governments of parts of the United Kingdom—we have requested the extension to article 50, so the 29 March date is no longer there. But I would say to a leave voter: we can guarantee Brexit and leaving on 22 May, as the Council conclusion suggests, by supporting the deal that has been put forward. That is the way to guarantee Brexit; anything else does not guarantee Brexit.

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

25 Mar 2019, 3:50 p.m.

I thank the Prime Minister for an advance copy of her statement.

We are in a crisis, but one of the Prime Minister’s own making. Her ill-judged speech before she departed for Brussels concluded that everyone is to blame but herself, trying to put herself on the side of the people and blaming parliamentarians. It was Trumpesque. We do not need such raw populism at a time like this—it is truly flabbergasting. Will she now apologise for blaming parliamentarians in the way that she did?

The Prime Minister needs to be reminded: she is supposed to be leading a country. No one on these Opposition Benches thinks she can deliver. Her Back Benchers do not think she can deliver. People right across the United Kingdom do not think she can deliver. Prime Minister, time is up. Today is about parliamentarians taking back control. People at home are watching, and they are ashamed of this Parliament, ashamed of this Government, ashamed of the embarrassment that British politics has become. Today, Parliament must move to find a consensus. We must come together and protect the interests of citizens across Scotland and all other parts of the United Kingdom. I say to Members: we still have a choice.

I want to ask the Prime Minister now, with all sincerity—will she respect the will of Parliament and reject no deal? While she is telling us that our votes do not count, Privy Counsellors are being given briefings by her Government, and those briefings are talking about catastrophe and the real risks that there are to the United Kingdom. It is the Prime Minister who is threatening the people of the United Kingdom with no deal, and a no-deal exit that this Parliament has already rejected. What is the point of us all sitting in this Chamber and voting in debates when the Prime Minister thinks she can ignore parliamentary sovereignty? What a disgrace—what an insult to this place; if our votes do not count, then frankly we may as well just go home.

If this Prime Minister is telling the people of Scotland that our votes did not count when we voted to remain, well, we know what the answer is: the day is coming when the people of Scotland will vote for independence and we will be an independent country in the European Union. So will the Prime Minister tell us, do our votes count? Are they binding on the Government or is this just a puppet show? If that is the case, this is the greatest assault on democracy inflicted by any Prime Minister. If Members of Parliament are prepared to tolerate that, then shame on them—shame on them. Scotland will not be dragged out of the European Union by this Prime Minister. From the very beginning of this process, Scotland has been ignored, and now we learn that Parliament will once again be ignored.

At the weekend, I was proud and privileged to take part in a historic march in London. I was proud to stand with the people, alongside Scotland’s First Minister, and demand that the Government listen to the people. Let me tell the Prime Minister this: she said that no deal is the alternative; well, we on these Benches will move to revoke, because Scottish parliamentarians have made sure that we have that power, and we will stop her driving us off a cliff edge. Over 1 million people marched to have the chance to vote again to stop this chaos. Prime Minister, why are you not listening? The Prime Minister must end this madness. Put it to the people—let us have a people’s vote.

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

25 Mar 2019, 3:54 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman put forward a number of proposals for the way forward in the speech that he has just given in response to my statement. There was one point at which he said Scotland would vote to become an independent country in the European Union. Of course, what was perfectly clear in the independence referendum in 2014, when Scotland rejected independence and decided to stay—

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

25 Mar 2019, 3:55 p.m.

Gie it a rest!

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

25 Mar 2019, 3:55 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman says, “Give it a rest!” He stands up here proclaiming the benefits of democracy and yet tells me to give it a rest when I point out that the people of Scotland voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. He talks about coming together. This House has a duty to deliver Brexit. That means, I believe, delivering a Brexit with a deal that enables that smooth and orderly exit. He asks whether his vote counts and votes in this House count. Of course votes in this House count, but so do the votes of 17.4 million people who voted to leave the European Union.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 20th March 2019

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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20 Mar 2019, 12:20 p.m.

My hon. Friend has made an important point about the significance of town centres to our local communities. I thank him for highlighting the work that we are doing and the help that we are providing through the future high streets fund. Of course high streets are changing, but we want to help them in that process, and help them to adapt. That is why the future high streets fund is there, as my hon. Friend said, and £675 million is available for it to support local areas. I can also reassure my hon. Friend that we will be promoting partnership across the public and private sectors, including local businesses, in developing those plans for the future of their high streets.

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

20 Mar 2019, 12:20 p.m.

May I associate myself with the Prime Minister’s remarks about the outrage that we all feel at what happened in Christchurch, New Zealand? We must work collectively to drive hate out of our societies across the globe. Our thoughts are also very much with the people of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. We must do all that we can to support those communities.

All our constituents will be looking on at the crisis and chaos that we are in. We need to reflect on the fact that we are a week away from the intended day for leaving the European Union, and on the responsibilities that we all have. Six days ago, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said:

“In the absence of a deal, seeking such a short and, critically, one-off extension would be downright reckless”.—[Official Report, 14 March 2019; Vol. 656, c. 566.]

Does the Prime Minister agree with her de facto deputy? Does she agree that her actions this morning are “downright reckless”?

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

20 Mar 2019, 12:21 p.m.

As I have set out clearly for the House in a number of answers that I have now given on this question, I believe that the House has a responsibility to deliver on Brexit. People voted for Brexit, and we have a responsibility to deliver it. I recognise that the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues in the Scottish National party have always taken the position that they want to revoke article 50 and not to have Brexit.

Break in Debate

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

20 Mar 2019, 12:23 p.m.

We need to reflect on the fact that the Prime Minister’s deal had the biggest defeat in parliamentary history. She brought it back, and it had the fourth biggest defeat in parliamentary history. Her deal has failed, and the House has voted against no deal. Once again, the Prime Minister is acting in her own interest, not the interest of the whole United Kingdom.

The Prime Minister has failed, this place has failed, and Scotland is watching. The only way forward now is to take the decision back to the people. Will the Prime Minister give the people a say in such a referendum? The people of Scotland deserve a choice on the future, and if Westminster fails, Scotland will act.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - -

There is an enormous responsibility. It is a huge honour and privilege to sit in this Chamber, to be elected as a Member of Parliament and to represent our constituents, and we all have a responsibility. Parliament gave the decision to the British people in a referendum in 2016, and the result of that referendum was that we should leave the European Union. I believe that if people are to be able to have trust in their politicians and faith in this Parliament, it is imperative that this Parliament delivers the Brexit that people voted for.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 13th March 2019

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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13 Mar 2019, 12:13 p.m.

First, I am sure that Members from across the whole House will want to join me in sending our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of Jodie. I know there is nothing that we can do or say that is going to ease the pain the family are going through at her loss.

We are very clear that judges must have the powers they need to impose tough sentences on those involved in serious violence and knife crime. The law already provides for a mandatory prison sentence for a second offence of carrying a knife, and conviction of a knife or offensive weapon offence is now more likely to result in some form of custodial sentence—and for longer—than at any point in the last 10 years. Obviously, individual sentencing decisions are a matter for the courts, but we are catching and prosecuting more people who carry a knife, and those who are convicted are now more likely to go to prison and for longer. As I set out in Prime Minister’s questions last week, both I and the Home Secretary are working to see what more we can do to deal with the serious violence and knife crime that has beset so many of our communities.

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

13 Mar 2019, 12:14 p.m.

May I associate myself with the remarks of the Prime Minister on the tragedy in Ethiopia and the tragic loss of life?

On this day, we of course commemorate the sad loss of the 16 young children and their schoolteacher in Dunblane who were cruelly cut down by Thomas Hamilton. The sanctity of young life is something we remember today when we hear the news from the hon. Member for Moray (Douglas Ross) that his wife Krystle has given birth to their young son, and I am sure the whole House will want to congratulate him.

A no deal will result in unprecedented harm. Does the Prime Minister really want to be the first Prime Minister in history to deliberately plunge the United Kingdom economy into recession?

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

13 Mar 2019, 12:15 p.m.

First of all, I am pleased to add my congratulations to my hon. Friend the Member for Moray and his wife on the birth of their son. I am also sure that the thoughts of the whole House are with the right hon. Gentleman in remembering the terrible loss of young life we saw in Dunblane.

The right hon. Gentleman will of course hear the spring statement from my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in a short time, and I am pleased to say that it will show the strength of the United Kingdom’s economy, in which Scotland is able to participate as a member of the UK.

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

13 Mar 2019, 12:16 p.m.

In 16 days the United Kingdom runs the risk of crashing out of the European Union with no deal, which we know from the Government’s own analysis will crash the economy. Why does the Prime Minister not show some leadership today, do the right thing and whip all her MPs to take no deal off the table on 29 March and forever?

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

You can only take no deal off the table by doing one of two things: either revoke article 50, which means betraying the vote of the referendum; or agree a deal. If the right hon. Gentleman wants to take no deal off the table, he should have voted for the deal.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 6th March 2019

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Northern Ireland Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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6 Mar 2019, 12:22 p.m.

I recognise that this is an issue of real concern to many constituents. That is why we have committed to clamping down on those agents who abuse the system and protecting leaseholders and renters who are suffering at the hands of rogue agents, every day, from unexpected costs or from poor-quality repairs for excessive fees. We have asked Lord Best to chair a working group to look at regulating and professionalising property agents that will include reviewing the standards around the transparency of service charges and other fees and charges—how they are presented to consumers—and putting them into a statutory code for managing agents. But I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Communities Secretary will have heard the issue that my hon. Friend has raised and be happy to meet him to discuss this further.

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

6 Mar 2019, 12:23 p.m.

Tove Macdonald is 87 years old. She was brought up under Nazi occupation in Denmark. She has lived in Scotland for 59 years. Why, Prime Minister, is she being forced to register in a country she has called home for almost the last 60 years?

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

We want to ensure that EU citizens who are living here have their rights protected. We want to be able to ensure that they have the necessary support that they need and, indeed, the recognition of their status here in the United Kingdom. If the right hon. Gentleman is interested in defending and protecting the rights of EU citizens here in this country, then I hope he will vote for the deal, which does exactly that.

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

6 Mar 2019, midnight

What a disgrace—a woman who has lived here for almost 60 years, and the Prime Minister wants her to register to stay here. Tove has children. She has grandchildren. She has married in Scotland. She has friends here. She has built her life here. Why is the Prime Minister making Tove register after almost 60 years? Will she end this heartless policy? Will she tell Tove and all EU citizens who have come to the UK to work, live and love that the UK is their home, without precondition?

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

We have consistently said to EU citizens who have been living here for many years, as in the example that the right hon. Gentleman gave, and others who have come here more recently that we recognise the contribution they have made to our society and our economy, and we want them to stay. That is why we put EU citizens’ rights at the front of the negotiations with the European Union. It is why we have negotiated those citizens’ rights in the withdrawal agreement, and it is why this Government have given a confirmation and a guarantee that those rights will be protected even if we leave with no deal. That is the right way to protect the interests of EU citizens here in the United Kingdom. The right hon. Gentleman should recognise the commitment that this Government have given to all EU citizens in the United Kingdom. This is their home. We want them to stay, and they can stay.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 27th February 2019

(1 year, 12 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Wales Office
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)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

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
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

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
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

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
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

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.]

Leaving the European Union

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Tuesday 26th February 2019

(1 year, 12 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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26 Feb 2019, 1:05 p.m.

Of course, we have the framework for that long-term relationship with the European Union set out in the political declaration—that is the set of instructions to the negotiators for the next stage—but my right hon. and learned Friend is right that we still have to go through that second stage of negotiations. He asked about any extension to article 50, should that be necessary. I am very clear that I do not want to see an extension to article 50. Should we be in the position that such a proposal was put before this House, I would want it to be as short as possible.

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

26 Feb 2019, 1:05 p.m.

I thank the Prime Minister for advance sight of her statement. I have to say that I find myself once again agreeing with the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke). There is the possibility that we will extend article 50 beyond the end of June. In the light of that, may I give a helpful suggestion to the Prime Minister? The Scottish National party is already putting in place candidates for the European elections. May I suggest that the Conservatives consider doing the same?

There are only 19 parliamentary days until Brexit day, yet the Prime Minister wants to delay the meaningful vote until 12 March—why? From 12 March, there are only 10 parliamentary days before Brexit. We will have lost nine days in which this issue could have been resolved. The Dutch Prime Minister says:

“We are sleep walking into no deal scenario.”

There was no breakthrough in the 45-minute meeting with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Council President Donald Tusk said that an extension of article 50 would be the “rational” decision. Although, that would suggest that this Government are capable of making rational decisions—there is little evidence of that.

Prime Minister, your strategy to run down the clock is disastrous. Is it not the case that you have continued to fail to reach an agreement on the backstop? Is it not the case that you cannot get the alternative arrangements on the backstop that you promised at the end of—

Break in Debate

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

26 Feb 2019, 1:08 p.m.

Mr Speaker, is it not the case that the Government cannot get the alternative arrangements on the backstop that were promised at the end of January, because the EU will not renegotiate? The EU has repeatedly made it clear that the withdrawal agreement is non-negotiable. What does the Prime Minister not get about that?

Prime Minister, businesses and citizens are worried about no deal—worried about the supply of medicines and food. It is the height of irresponsibility for any Government to threaten their citizens with such consequences. The Prime Minister sits and laughs at what she is doing to the people of the United Kingdom—what a disgrace! This Prime Minister indicates that she is simply not fit for office. Prime Minister, will you accept the overwhelming advice of business, MPs and your Cabinet? Rule out no deal and extend article 50, but do it today. This should not be left until the middle of March.

Mr Speaker, we cannot trust this Prime Minister. Parliament should take the opportunity to impose the timeline that she has set out today, so that she cannot dodge this.

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

26 Feb 2019, 1:09 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman made various references to the discussions with the European Union. He asked why the meaningful vote was not being brought back this week, or before the latest date of 12 March. The answer is that we are taking this time to negotiate the changes required by this House to the deal that we negotiated with the European Union. That includes the work that has been done on alternative arrangements. As I indicated in my statement, further work on those alternative arrangements has already been agreed with the European Union. There were all those questions about there not being an opportunity to renegotiate or get any changes, but that is not the case; we are in talks with the European Union and we are talking about the issues that this House required.

Finally, the right hon. Gentleman talked about uncertainty: the uncertainty of not having the arrangements in place. If he wants to end uncertainty and if he wants to deal with the issues he raised in his response to my statement, then he should vote for a deal—simples.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 20th February 2019

(2 years ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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20 Feb 2019, 12:17 p.m.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise this issue. We are working with Shelter. I urge that work to go ahead to a fruitful conclusion. Stuart Carroll, one my local councillors, has raised this issue with me and has come in to work with No. 10. It is an important issue and we are working on it to find a satisfactory resolution soon.

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

20 Feb 2019, 12:18 p.m.

May I associate myself with the remarks of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition on the sad death of Paul Flynn? He will be missed by many, and thoughts and prayers are with Sam and his family. He was a unique and truly gifted parliamentarian. It was a pleasure to serve on a Committee with him and it was a pleasure to have known him.

Westminster is broken. We are in the middle of a constitutional crisis and on the brink of a Brexit disaster, yet this place is at war with itself. The Tories and the Labour party are imploding. Scotland deserves better. We need a way out. Time is running out. Will this House get to vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal next week, and if not, when?

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

20 Feb 2019, 12:19 p.m.

Obviously, we are in discussions with the European Union and will bring a vote back when it is possible to bring a deal back that deals with the issue that the House of Commons has raised. We have listened to the House of Commons. We are working on the views of the House with the European Union, and we will bring a vote back when it is the right time to do so.

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

Quite simply, that is not good enough. Time is running out. Three and a half thousand jobs have been lost from Honda; the NFU says that a no-deal Brexit is the “stuff of nightmares”; and 100,000 jobs in Scotland are under threat. Prime Minister, you are bringing the UK economy to its knees. How many warnings, how many jobs and how many resignations will it take for the Prime Minister to stop this madness? If you do not act, Prime Minister, Scotland will.

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

20 Feb 2019, 12:19 p.m.

I say to the right hon. Gentleman that we see debt down, the deficit down, jobs up, taxes down—oh, taxes down not in Scotland of course, where the SNP is putting taxes up. He says it is not good enough, but I will tell him what is not good enough: it is an SNP that wants to take Scotland out of the United Kingdom, knowing full well that being a member of the United Kingdom is worth £1,400 every year for each person in Scotland. He talks about damaging the economy; the only people who are going to damage the economy in Scotland are sitting on the SNP Benches.

Break in Debate

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

I say to the hon. Lady, as I say to every Member of this House, that there will come a further point, in this Chamber, when every Member will have a decision to take on whether we want to ensure that we deliver on the vote of the referendum—most Members stood on a manifesto to do that—by leaving the EU with a deal. That will be a decision for all Members of this House. I know where I stand: I believe we should be leaving with a deal. I hope that the hon. Lady agrees.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 13th February 2019

(2 years ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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13 Feb 2019, 12:20 p.m.

I thank my hon. Friend for raising that with me. Obviously, the quality of school buildings is an important issue in our education system. That is why we are putting more money into it—we are investing £23 billion in school buildings through to 2021. He raised the specific issue of Tiverton High School, and I will make sure that a Minister from the Department for Education will be happy to meet him—and the headteacher and the council, if that is appropriate—to discuss this issue.

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

13 Feb 2019, 12:20 p.m.

I congratulate so many of my colleagues on sporting yellow today as a mark of solidarity with those from Catalonia who are on trial for the political principle of supporting self-determination.

Will the Prime Minister rule out bringing the meaningful vote to this House less than two weeks before 29 March?

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

13 Feb 2019, 12:20 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman was present yesterday when I made my statement to the House and he heard the process that we will be following. Of course, a debate is taking place tomorrow, and then, as we have made clear, if a meaningful vote has not been brought back and passed by this House, we will make a statement on 26 February and have a debate on an amendable motion on the 27th.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am afraid that that was no answer from a Prime Minister who continues to run the clock down. This is the height of arrogance from a Government set on running the clock down. Just 44 days from a no-deal scenario, the Prime Minister is hamstrung by her own party and rejected by European leaders. The Prime Minister must stop playing fast and loose. Businesses are begging for certainty; the economy is already suffering. Prime Minister, you have come to the end of the road, rumbled by your own loose-lipped senior Brexit adviser. Will the Prime Minister now face down the extremists in her own party and extend article 50?

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

13 Feb 2019, 12:20 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman talks about certainty for business. He can give business certainty by voting for the deal—that is what gives business certainty. He complains about no deal, but of course, it was the Scottish National party who wanted to leave the UK without a plan—[Interruption.] Perhaps we should remind the SNP that independence would have meant leaving the EU with no deal.

Leaving the EU

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Tuesday 12th February 2019

(2 years ago)

Commons Chamber

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

12 Feb 2019, 1:02 p.m.

My right hon. and learned Friend is absolutely right that the economic partnership agreement with Japan came into force on 1 February. Of course, prior to that, we had been trading with Japan on World Trade Organisation arrangements. It has been the policy of the Government, in relation to the trade deals that have been agreed between the European Union and countries around the world, that we see continuity in those agreements at the point at which we leave the European Union—we have also been working to see continuity were we to leave with no deal—but we also want to ensure that we can enhance our trade arrangements with countries around the world, and so build our own trade agreements with those countries. The best and most sensible approach is to maintain trading relations as they are as we leave the European Union, and then build and enhance those trading relations with our own independent trade agreements.

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

12 Feb 2019, 1:05 p.m.

Sometimes I think the Prime Minister must live in a parallel universe. We have just heard that she wanted this concluded in December. Talk about rewriting history—it was the Prime Minister who denied us the right to have a meaningful vote. [Interruption.] She sits there laughing. Sometimes you should be honest with yourself, never mind being honest with the people of the United Kingdom.

Here we are, once again: a statement from a Prime Minister lost in a Brexit fantasy. We are 45 days from Scotland being dragged out of the European Union against our will, 45 days from economic catastrophe. She talks about Japan. Goods leaving Japan in the next few days will arrive after we leave the European Union, and we do not know what the tariff regime will be for those imported cars and training shoes, or whatever else. The ongoing mess of this Government never ceases to amaze.

Does the Prime Minister understand that EU leaders have refused to budge on any changes to the withdrawal agreement? Donald Tusk said on 6 February that the EU is not making any other offer. What does the Prime Minister not understand in that statement? Why does she not understand that the EU will not reopen the withdrawal agreement that she signed up to? Does she realise the danger of running down the clock? Forty-five days to go, and here we are with a Government who cannot even deliver a ferry contract.

Prime Minister, your response to my letter requesting sight of what economic analysis you have done on your own deal poses more questions than answers. The question is simple: have you done an economic assessment of your deal’s impact on the UK economy? I want a simple yes or no.

Prime Minister, you are asking this House to vote on your deal and you cannot even be honest about the economic impact. You expect MPs to vote for this, but your binary choice is simply laughable. A growing number are calling for an extension to article 50. Extend article 50 today.

The Prime Minister’s deal is a fraud. Ending freedom of movement and leaving the biggest trading bloc in the world, this will be catastrophic for Scotland. The UK is already suffering the cost of Brexit. Will she put an end to this economic madness?

Prime Minister, as students get set for university applications and as business owners look to prepare for the new financial year, your Government are causing a new wave of uncertainty. We on these Benches refuse to accept Scotland being dragged out of the European Union against our will. Ultimately, Scotland will have a choice: be an independent European nation or remain part of an inward-looking UK. Scotland’s voice must be respected.

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

12 Feb 2019, 1:05 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman has been making the same points in response to my statements, regardless of their content, for some time now. He talks about the economic analysis, and we published an economic analysis of the Government’s proposals.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

12 Feb 2019, 1:05 p.m.

That’s not true.

Break in Debate

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

12 Feb 2019, 1:06 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I say to the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Ian Blackford) that, in his intervention from a sedentary position, I think he may have inadvertently misled the House on this matter.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

12 Feb 2019, 1:06 p.m.

Liar.

Break in Debate

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

12 Feb 2019, 2:52 p.m.

I said that the Government had put forward a deal and that an economic analysis was done on that deal. The political declaration was part of what was brought to the House. The right hon. Gentleman says there was no reference to that in the economic analysis. The economic analysis indicated what might be the impact of the various elements of the spectrum of choice on friction at the border. It reflected the fact that the political declaration had not confirmed the point at which friction would or would not occur. That was in the economic analysis published before the meaningful vote.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 30th January 2019

(2 years ago)

Commons Chamber

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

My hon. Friend raises an important issue and points out not only the good news of the 10-year high in the number of first-time buyers but the opportunities available for local authorities to provide for this. We are clear that the planning system has a key role in delivering more affordable homes, and the national planning policy framework, which was revised last year, is central to that. It includes a wider definition of affordable housing, and local authorities are expected to consider the new definition—which includes starter homes and discounted market sales homes—in identifying the types of housing their communities need. There is an expectation that major developments will make a minimum of 10% of homes available for affordable ownership, including starter homes and discounted market sales homes. We have made good progress on first-time buyers, but there is more for us to do and this Government are doing it.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) (SNP)
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30 Jan 2019, 12:14 p.m.

Two weeks ago, the Prime Minister told this House that if we voted down the deal in the hope of going back to Brussels and negotiating an alternative deal, no such alternative deal would exist, yet last night she told the House that she would go back to Brussels to seek an alternative arrangement. So what is it? Has the Prime Minister inadvertently misled the House, or has this Government’s incompetence reached a whole new level?

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

30 Jan 2019, 12:14 p.m.

The very simple fact that the right hon. Gentleman appears to have omitted is that the deal was brought to the House of Commons and the House rejected that deal. Therefore, we looked to see what could be changed, what we could take back to Brussels and what we could fight for to ensure that the deal could get the support of this House. I was going to respond to his point of order last night, but unfortunately, when I looked, he had left. I think he had gone to do a Sky News interview—[Interruption.] I want to confirm absolutely the commitment of this Government to the Belfast/Good Friday agreement, and the remarks that he made last night in relation to that were frankly irresponsible.

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

The only thing that is irresponsible are the actions of this Prime Minister—[Interruption.]

Break in Debate

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
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30 Jan 2019, 12:21 p.m.

The Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and this House of Commons have rejected the Prime Minister’s deal. The UK Government told Scotland in 2014 that being part of the UK meant continued EU membership. The UK Government told us that we would be part of a family of equal nations. Prime Minister, Scotland wants to stay in the EU. We are scunnered by this Government ignoring Scotland. Does the Prime Minister accept that she promised Scotland everything but delivered nothing?

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

Scotland is part of the United Kingdom and voted in 2014 to stay part of the United Kingdom, and the United Kingdom will be leaving the European Union. If the right hon. Gentleman wants to talk about the impact on Scotland in the future, perhaps he should look at the figures for exports that came out just this morning. Over 60% of Scotland’s exports go to the rest of the UK. That is more than Scotland’s trade with the rest of the world and over three times more than with the rest of the European Union. However, he represents a party that wants to erect a border between Scotland and England. The biggest threat to the future of Scotland is sitting on the SNP Benches.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 23rd January 2019

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

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Wales Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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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)
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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.

Leaving the EU

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Monday 21st January 2019

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

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

21 Jan 2019, 3:59 p.m.

My right hon. and learned Friend talks about some degree of regulatory alignment. He might not have noticed that, last summer, the Government put forward a proposal that included a degree of regulatory alignment, with a parliamentary lock on that regulatory alignment, and that the proposal raised concerns among a number of Members of this House. Some Members said that they did not consider the proposal to be the proper way forward.

I actually think that what we need in the future is a good trade relationship with the European Union. What we have in the political declaration is recognition that regulatory alignment and alignment with standards followed by the European Union are in balance with the question of checks at the border, and there is a spectrum of where that balance results. I have argued for frictionless trade; there are those in the European Union who have not accepted the concept of frictionless trade, but who do accept the concept of reducing friction at the border as far as possible.

My right hon. and learned Friend also said that he did not see potential trade deals with the rest of the world. Today, I had lunch with the Prime Minister of New Zealand and one of the topics we discussed was precisely a future trade deal between the United Kingdom and New Zealand—[Interruption.] Just before Opposition Members start talking about the size of New Zealand, that is not just a trade deal with New Zealand, but United Kingdom membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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

I thank the Prime Minister for the advance copy of her statement.

All of us share the Prime Minister’s abhorrence and disgust at the bombing in Derry over the weekend. We are delighted that the efforts of the emergency services ensured that there was no loss of life. In the light of that incident, however, it was disturbing to see media reports this morning of at least the potential reopening of the Good Friday agreement. I welcome the Prime Minister’s comments this afternoon, but will she confirm that she will seek neither to amend or to add to the Good Friday agreement in any way? Many of us remember the dark days that Northern Ireland went through. This weekend’s attack was a frightening reminder of the fragility of the peace in Northern Ireland.

On the subject of talks, the Scottish National party entered willingly into talks with the Prime Minister last week, and we remain ready to engage in those talks on the basis that we can discuss pausing article 50, taking no deal of the table, and a people’s vote. The Prime Minister talks about “no preconditions”, but in the letters that have gone back and forth between the two of us, she insists that the United Kingdom must leave the European Union on 29 March. That is not consistent with a desire to discuss a people’s vote. All preconditions must be taken off the table if we are to engage in meaningful dialogue. We know that the Prime Minister’s strategy is now to run down the clock. There is no sign that she is interested in meaningful talks or meaningful change.

Prime Minister, take no deal off the table. She tells me that she has no desire for no deal. The Foreign Secretary has no desire for no deal. The Chancellor has no desire for no deal. The Leader of the Opposition has no desire for no deal. The SNP has no desire for no deal, and nor do the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru or the Greens. Let us stop this charade. To have a people’s vote, we would have to extend article 50. It is not true that the only option is to revoke it—although we would welcome that. After last week’s result—a defeat by 230 votes—the Prime Minister has not come here with fundamental change. This Government are a farce and an embarrassment, and their leadership is shambolic.

The Prime Minister must now step up. We must extend article 50 and end this impasse by bringing forward a second EU referendum. Do it for all sorts of reasons, but do it for the EU citizens living in the UK and now facing a registration scheme. I am grateful—I congratulate the Prime Minister—for the fact that fees have been waived for EU nationals, after a campaign led by the Scottish National party and our Government in Edinburgh, but it is shameful that people here, many of whom have been living here for decades, are being forced to register to stay in their own home. That is the fundamental fact. Not in our name. Where is the humanity of this?

We in Scotland have another choice. We did not vote for Brexit. We will not be dragged out of Europe by a Tory Government we did not vote for. We might not be able to save the UK, but we can save Scotland. We have an escape route from the chaos of Brexit: an independent Scotland. Scottish independence will result in our country being a destination in Europe—a country at the heart of Europe, while the rest of the UK turns inward, isolated from its European neighbours. We want no part of it.

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

21 Jan 2019, 4:04 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman raises a number of issues. He talked about the Belfast agreement. As I said in my statement, this Government will not reopen the Belfast agreement. I have never considered doing that and I would not do it. We remain committed to the Belfast agreement and to maintaining our commitments under it.

The right hon. Gentleman talked about the question of no deal and running down the clock. We are not running down the clock. I brought to the House a deal that had been negotiated with the European Union, and the House has rejected that. I say once again to the right hon. Gentleman, as I did earlier to the Leader of the Opposition and to other Members, that it is very simple: you cannot wish away no deal. Either you stay in the European Union or you have a deal. I believe that it is right for us to leave the European Union because that was what people voted for in the referendum in 2016. If somebody does not want no deal, they have to be willing to agree a deal. The point about sitting down and talking with people across this House is to identify those issues on which it will be possible for us to make changes such that we can secure support around this House.

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his comments about the announcement we made today about the fees for applications for citizens. I commend my hon. Friends the Members for South Leicestershire (Alberto Costa) and for Bexhill and Battle (Huw Merriman) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham (Dame Cheryl Gillan), but the issue was also raised by other Members across this House.

Finally, I will say to the right hon. Gentleman, as I have said before and will continue to say, that for the Scottish National party to stand up and say that the best economic future for Scotland is to be outside the United Kingdom is to fly—[Hon. Members: “Hooray!”] Well, I have to say to every one of those Members who is cheering that thought that that is to fly in the face of economic reality, because the reality is—[Hon. Members: “Hooray!”]

No Confidence in Her Majesty’s Government

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 16th January 2019

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

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

I am about to conclude, so I will not take any more interventions.

We are living through a historic moment in our nation’s history. Following a referendum that divided our nation in half, we dearly need to bring our country back together. Last night’s vote showed that we have a long way to go, but I do not believe that a general election is the path to doing that, and I do not believe that a Government led by the Leader of the Opposition is the path to doing that either. We must find the answer among ourselves in this House, and, with the confidence of the House, this Government will lead that process.

This is the Government who have already delivered record employment, put more money in the pockets of ordinary working people and given the NHS the biggest cash boost it has ever received from any Government of any colour. This is the Government who are fighting the burning injustices of poverty, inequality and discrimination, which for too long have blighted the lives of too many of our people. This is the Government who are building a country that works for everyone.

As we leave the European Union, we must raise our sights to the kind of country we want to be—a nation that can respond to a call from its people for change; a nation that can build a better future for every one of its people; and a nation that knows that moderation and pragmatism are not dirty words, but how we work together to improve people’s lives. That is our mission. That is what we are doing, and, with the backing of the House, it is what we will continue to do. I am proud of what we have achieved so far, and I am determined that the work will go on. In that, I know that we have the confidence of the country. We now ask for the confidence of this House. Reject this motion.

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

16 Jan 2019, 2:19 p.m.

It is a pleasure to follow the Prime Minister. Of course, I wish her no ill will and, if she does choose to resign today, may I wish her all the best for her future career?

In many respects, we should not be having this debate. If we reflect on what happened last night, we see a Government who brought their Brexit deal before Parliament and lost by a majority of 230—something quite unprecedented—with the Prime Minister’s own Back Benchers and the Opposition, in a united manner, voting against this Government. If we go back just a short few weeks to December, there was of course a motion of confidence within the Conservative party and in that situation a majority of Government Back Benchers voted against the Prime Minister. The right hon. Member for Rayleigh and Wickford (Mr Francois) said earlier in an intervention that the members of the ERG would be going through the Lobby to support the Government tonight. That says it all. It is the ERG that has captured the Prime Minister.

The reality of where we stand today is that, when the Prime Minister went to the United Kingdom in an election in 2017, in anticipation of getting a majority, the Conservatives got a bloody nose and she came back as a minority Prime Minister. [Interruption.] Well, you can only—

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

16 Jan 2019, 2:21 p.m.

rose—

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

16 Jan 2019, 2:21 p.m.

I will give way in a moment. [Interruption.] I say to those on the Government Benches, if they would just settle down a little, that they would love to be in the position that the Scottish National party is in because we have a majority of seats from the people of Scotland.

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

16 Jan 2019, 2:21 p.m.

I thought perhaps the right hon. Gentleman could just inform the House: how many seats in Westminster—how many Westminster MPs—did the SNP have before the 2017 election and how many did they have after the 2017 election?

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

16 Jan 2019, 2:22 p.m.

I am grateful to the Prime Minister for that intervention. I say to her that there are 59 seats in Scotland, the Scottish National party hold 35 of them—a majority of seats—and we have won every election to the Scottish Parliament since 2007. The Prime Minister could only dream of being a situation where she has a majority.

Let us come back to the fundamentals of this. We have a Prime Minister who is captured by her right-wing Brexiteers. The issue is, when you have a minority, you have to be able to work across party. We have a situation where the Prime Minister is beholden to the DUP, but the DUP will support her only in very certain circumstances.

This is not just about the defeat of the Government on Brexit last night. They are a Government who are stuck and cannot get their legislative programme through. They have no majority support in this House. They are a Government who are past their time. If the Government had any humility or self-respect, they would reflect on the scale of that defeat last night. We should not be having this motion of no confidence. The Government should recognise that they have no moral authority. The Government, quite simply, should go.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Wednesday 16th January 2019

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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16 Jan 2019, 12:15 p.m.

I thank my right hon. Friend for raising this, because I was particularly pleased to meet the CEO of Sirius during my trip to China and talk to people there about the work that they are doing. It is, as he says, exactly projects like this, which drive investment and exports in the north, that are what the northern powerhouse is all about. In relation to the particular discussions my right hon. Friend mentioned, I am sure he will understand these are commercially sensitive, so it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the specific discussions. But this, as I say, is exactly the sort of project that the northern powerhouse is all about: driving investment, driving exports—good for the north.

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

16 Jan 2019, 12:16 p.m.

May I associate myself with the remarks of the Prime Minister on the atrocity in Kenya and, of course, our solidarity with the people there?

Yesterday, the Attorney General said that any new deal would be much the same as the one already on the table. We know that the European Union will not renegotiate. If the Prime Minister survives today to bring forward her plan B, will she concede that plan B will basically be a redressing of plan A?

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

16 Jan 2019, 12:17 p.m.

As I said in one of my answers to the Leader of the Opposition, what we want to do, following the defeat that we had in this House last night, is listen to parliamentarians and find out: what is it that would secure the support of this House? That is the question that we will be asking, but that is against the background of ensuring that we deliver on the referendum result—that we leave the European Union and we recognise what people were voting for when they voted in that referendum: an end to free movement, ensuring that we could have our own trade policy with the rest of the world and be fairer to our farmers and fairer to our fishermen, but maintain that good relationship with our neighbours in the EU.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
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16 Jan 2019, 12:17 p.m.

I am afraid that simply did not address the question. The EU will not renegotiate. The Prime Minister has no answer. She has failed. What an omnishambles from this Government, suffering a historic and a humiliating defeat—the worst for any UK Government. Westminster is in chaos, but in Scotland we stand united. Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain, and we will not allow our country to be dragged out of the European Union or brought down by this Tory Government. The Prime Minister knew that this deal was dead since Chequers; she knew it was dead when she moved the meaningful vote; and she knows, as we all know, that last night was the last straw. The Prime Minister must now seek the confidence of the people, not simply the confidence of this House. The only way forward is to extend article 50 and ask the people of Scotland and of the United Kingdom whether they want the Prime Minister’s deal or they want to remain in the European Union. The Prime Minister now must legislate for a people’s vote.

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

As the right hon. Gentleman knows and as I have said before, this House legislated for a people’s vote. It legislated for a people’s vote that was held in 2016, and that vote determined that the United Kingdom should leave the European Union. He talks about “our country”. Our country is the whole of the United Kingdom—England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland—and it is for the whole of the United Kingdom that we will be looking for a solution that secures the support of this House and ensures that this Parliament delivers on the vote of the people.

European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Tuesday 15th January 2019

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

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

15 Jan 2019, 6:54 p.m.

Everybody in this House is committed to ensuring that we maintain the arrangements of the Belfast/Good Friday agreement and that we maintain the many benefits that have come from the peace process in Northern Ireland. That should not be disrupted or affected in any sense.

Whatever future relationship is negotiated, or that people want to see negotiated, the insurance policy is essential. All of the other proposals—Canada, Norway or any number of variations on those models—require the insurance policy, which is the so-called backstop. No backstop simply means no deal, now and for the foreseeable future. I do not want to see anybody being able to exploit no deal, and bringing doubt about the future of our Union as a result.

Let us remember what the withdrawal agreement delivers for the people of Northern Ireland: an implementation period—certainty for businesses; protection of citizens’ rights—certainty for thousands of families; no hard border—unfettered access to British and EU markets; protection of the single electricity market across the island of Ireland, securing energy supply in Northern Ireland; continued security co-operation with our European allies, which the Police Service of Northern Ireland says is essential; and, above all, the protection of the historic Belfast/Good Friday agreement. The deal we have puts our Union first.

The Leader of the Opposition’s speech is characteristic of his whole approach to Brexit: long on criticism and short on coherence. He claims that he will be able to renegotiate the deal in a matter of weeks and get a drastically different outcome, despite the European Union making it clear that that is impossible. Everything he does is designed to avoid taking any difficult decisions. He says one thing to one group and another thing to another group. His general election manifesto said that freedom of movement will end; on Sunday he said:

“I am not against the free movement of people.”

When asked about Brexit by a German newspaper, he said that we cannot stop it, that the referendum took place and that article 50 has been triggered; in his speech at Wakefield last week, and again this evening, he said that a second referendum is an option on the table. He says that Labour would run an independent trade policy, but he wants to join the customs union. He says he is opposed to no deal, but he also says he is opposed to the withdrawal agreement and the backstop, without which there is no deal. The question is: what is his position? He has failed in his responsibility to provide a credible alternative to the Government of the day. By pursuing from the start a cynical course designed to serve his own political interest, not the national interest, he has forfeited the right to command loyalty from those of his MPs who take a more pragmatic view. He does not care whether we leave or not, with a deal or not, as long as he can maximise disruption and uncertainty and the likelihood of a general election.

I hope that Labour Members who faithfully pledged to their constituents that they would respect the result of the referendum think carefully before voting against a deal that delivers Brexit, and I hope that those who fear leaving without a deal whose constituents rely on manufacturing jobs think very carefully before rejecting a deal that is the only guaranteed way to take no deal off the table.

This is the most significant vote that any of us will ever be part of in our political careers. After all the debate, all the disagreement and all the division, the time has come for all of us in the House to make a decision—a decision that will define our country for decades to come, a decision that will determine the future for our constituents, their children and their grandchildren, a decision that each of us will have to justify and live with for many years to come.

We know the consequences of voting for the deal—they are laid out in black and white in the pages of the withdrawal agreement—but no one who votes against the deal will be able to tell their constituents what real-world outcome they voted for, because a vote against the deal is a vote for nothing more than uncertainty, division and the very real risk of no deal.

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

15 Jan 2019, 6:57 p.m.

On any of the analyses of Brexit, economic growth will be lower than if we stay in the EU. Will the Prime Minister not realise, on the basis of the knowledge and the fact that people will lose opportunities as a consequence of Brexit, that the alternative is to extend article 50, go back and give the people a say? Let’s act in all our interests on the basis of the information we now have.

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

15 Jan 2019, 6:58 p.m.

Parliament gave the British people a choice. The Government of the time, all parties and all those campaigning in the referendum were absolutely clear that, whatever the decision of the referendum, it would be respected by Government and Parliament. I believe we have a duty to deliver on that referendum vote and to do so in a way that protects people’s jobs and our security and Union. A vote against the deal is a vote for nothing more than uncertainty, division and the very real risk of no deal or no Brexit at all.

It does not have to be that way. Tonight, we can choose certainty over uncertainty. We can choose unity over division. We can choose to deliver on our promise to the British people, not break that promise and endanger trust in politics for a generation. As Members of Parliament, we have a duty to serve not our own self-interest or that of our parties, but the people we were elected to represent. It is the people of this country we were sent here to serve—the people of this country who queued up at polling stations, cast their ballots and put their faith in us.

The people of this country entrusted us with the sacred right to build for them and their children and grandchildren the brighter future they expect and deserve. If we act in the national interest and back this deal tonight, tomorrow we can begin to build that future together. If we act in the national interest and back this deal tonight, we can build a country that works for everyone. Together, we can show the people whom we serve that their voices have been heard, that their trust was not misplaced, that our politics can and does deliver, and that politicians can rise above our differences and come together to do what the people asked of us. That is the test that history has set for us today, and it will determine the future of our country for generations.

We each have a solemn responsibility to deliver Brexit and take this country forward, and, with my whole heart, I call on this House to charge that responsibility together. I commend the motion to the House.

Leaving the EU

Debate between Theresa May and Ian Blackford
Monday 14th January 2019

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office