Debates between Theresa May and John Bercow

There have been 224 exchanges between Theresa May and John Bercow

1 Wed 26th April 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
16 interactions (709 words)
2 Wed 19th April 2017 Early Parliamentary General Election
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (68 words)
3 Wed 19th April 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
9 interactions (387 words)
4 Wed 29th March 2017 Article 50
Cabinet Office
31 interactions (3,554 words)
5 Wed 29th March 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for International Development
7 interactions (197 words)
6 Thu 23rd March 2017 London Attack
Cabinet Office
7 interactions (1,807 words)
7 Wed 22nd March 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (324 words)
8 Wed 15th March 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
19 interactions (652 words)
9 Tue 14th March 2017 European Council
Cabinet Office
14 interactions (1,431 words)
10 Wed 8th March 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
2 interactions (98 words)
11 Wed 1st March 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
6 interactions (375 words)
12 Wed 22nd February 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for International Development
8 interactions (404 words)
13 Wed 8th February 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
18 interactions (692 words)
14 Mon 6th February 2017 Points of Order
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (193 words)
15 Mon 6th February 2017 Informal European Council
Cabinet Office
12 interactions (431 words)
16 Wed 1st February 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
11 interactions (427 words)
17 Wed 25th January 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (96 words)
18 Wed 18th January 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
7 interactions (431 words)
19 Wed 11th January 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for International Development
6 interactions (288 words)
20 Mon 19th December 2016 European Council 2016
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (1,762 words)
21 Wed 14th December 2016 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
6 interactions (255 words)
22 Wed 30th November 2016 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
2 interactions (139 words)
23 Wed 23rd November 2016 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (126 words)
24 Wed 16th November 2016 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for International Development
8 interactions (319 words)
25 Wed 2nd November 2016 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (222 words)
26 Mon 24th October 2016 European Council
Cabinet Office
4 interactions (1,519 words)
27 Wed 19th October 2016 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
13 interactions (619 words)
28 Wed 14th September 2016 Prime Minister
Cabinet Office
4 interactions (420 words)
29 Wed 7th September 2016 G20 Summit
Cabinet Office
8 interactions (494 words)
30 Wed 7th September 2016 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (187 words)
31 Wed 20th July 2016 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
2 interactions (118 words)
32 Tue 14th June 2016 Football Fan Violence: Euro 2016
Home Office
5 interactions (180 words)
33 Mon 13th June 2016 Orlando Attack: UK Security Measures
Home Office
8 interactions (367 words)
34 Mon 13th June 2016 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
5 interactions (189 words)
35 Mon 6th June 2016 Removal of Foreign National Offenders and EU Prisoners
Home Office
6 interactions (553 words)
36 Wed 27th April 2016 Hillsborough
Home Office
5 interactions (372 words)
37 Wed 20th April 2016 Border Force Budget 2016-17
Home Office
2 interactions (69 words)
38 Mon 22nd February 2016 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
2 interactions (87 words)
39 Thu 21st January 2016 Litvinenko Inquiry
Home Office
2 interactions (191 words)
40 Mon 11th January 2016 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
2 interactions (250 words)
41 Mon 16th November 2015 Paris Terrorist Attacks
Home Office
5 interactions (1,810 words)
42 Mon 16th November 2015 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
2 interactions (216 words)
43 Wed 4th November 2015 Draft Investigatory Powers Bill
Home Office
5 interactions (494 words)
44 Mon 12th October 2015 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
2 interactions (83 words)
45 Wed 16th September 2015 Migration
Home Office
7 interactions (2,207 words)
46 Tue 8th September 2015 Refugee Crisis in Europe
Home Office
2 interactions (487 words)
47 Wed 15th July 2015 Water Cannon
Home Office
5 interactions (163 words)
48 Wed 24th June 2015 Border Management (Calais)
Home Office
2 interactions (74 words)
49 Thu 11th June 2015 Anderson Report
Home Office
2 interactions (244 words)
50 Mon 23rd March 2015 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
4 interactions (392 words)
51 Mon 5th January 2015 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
3 interactions (123 words)
52 Mon 10th November 2014 Criminal Law
Home Office
20 interactions (989 words)
53 Mon 10th November 2014 Business of the House (Today)
Home Office
11 interactions (521 words)
54 Mon 13th October 2014 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
2 interactions (333 words)
55 Tue 2nd September 2014 Child Sex Abuse (Rotherham)
Home Office
2 interactions (91 words)
56 Tue 22nd July 2014 Points of Order
Home Office
7 interactions (193 words)
57 Tue 22nd July 2014 Police Reform
Home Office
5 interactions (224 words)
58 Thu 12th June 2014 HM Passport Office
Home Office
10 interactions (1,377 words)
59 Mon 9th June 2014 Extremism
Home Office
6 interactions (121 words)
60 Mon 28th April 2014 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
5 interactions (225 words)
61 Wed 12th February 2014 Points of Order
Home Office
3 interactions (107 words)
62 Wed 12th February 2014 Hillsborough
Home Office
2 interactions (1,641 words)
63 Thu 30th January 2014 Immigration Bill
Home Office
6 interactions (2,095 words)
64 Wed 29th January 2014 Syrian Refugees
Home Office
8 interactions (270 words)
65 Mon 2nd December 2013 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
5 interactions (279 words)
66 Wed 27th November 2013 Romanian and Bulgarian Accession
Home Office
3 interactions (711 words)
67 Mon 4th November 2013 Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed
Home Office
4 interactions (548 words)
68 Mon 28th October 2013 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
11 interactions (482 words)
69 Tue 22nd October 2013 Immigration Bill
Home Office
2 interactions (106 words)
70 Mon 15th July 2013 2014 JHA Opt-out Decision
Home Office
2 interactions (351 words)
71 Tue 9th July 2013 Treaty on the Functioning of the EU
Home Office
8 interactions (2,280 words)
72 Thu 9th May 2013 Home Affairs
Home Office
2 interactions (396 words)
73 Wed 24th April 2013 Abu Qatada
Home Office
2 interactions (798 words)
74 Tue 26th March 2013 UK Border Agency
Home Office
4 interactions (979 words)
75 Tue 12th February 2013 Points of Order
Home Office
3 interactions (223 words)
76 Tue 12th February 2013 Police Integrity
Home Office
2 interactions (113 words)
77 Tue 8th January 2013 Ibrahim Magag
Home Office
2 interactions (89 words)
78 Mon 3rd December 2012 Points of Order
Home Office
3 interactions (168 words)
79 Tue 16th October 2012 Extradition
Home Office
10 interactions (1,653 words)
80 Mon 15th October 2012 European Justice and Home Affairs Powers
Home Office
2 interactions (809 words)
81 Mon 9th July 2012 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
3 interactions (120 words)
82 Tue 19th June 2012 European Convention on Human Rights
Home Office
3 interactions (562 words)
83 Mon 21st May 2012 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
4 interactions (182 words)
84 Thu 19th April 2012 Abu Qatada
Home Office
9 interactions (899 words)
85 Tue 17th April 2012 Point of Order
Home Office
3 interactions (390 words)
86 Tue 17th April 2012 Abu Qatada
Home Office
7 interactions (1,578 words)
87 Fri 23rd March 2012 Alcohol Strategy
Home Office
6 interactions (255 words)
88 Mon 19th March 2012 Points of Order
Home Office
5 interactions (197 words)
89 Mon 19th March 2012 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
2 interactions (53 words)
90 Mon 20th February 2012 UK Border Agency
Home Office
6 interactions (1,695 words)
91 Mon 6th February 2012 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
2 interactions (156 words)
92 Mon 12th December 2011 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
5 interactions (166 words)
93 Mon 7th November 2011 UK Border Force
Home Office
3 interactions (1,337 words)
94 Mon 12th September 2011 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
2 interactions (64 words)
95 Thu 11th August 2011 Public Disorder
Home Office
3 interactions (361 words)
96 Mon 18th July 2011 Metropolitan Police Service
Home Office
6 interactions (1,683 words)
97 Mon 27th June 2011 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
2 interactions (135 words)
98 Tue 7th June 2011 Prevent Strategy
Home Office
4 interactions (1,390 words)
99 Thu 31st March 2011 Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill
Home Office
3 interactions (591 words)
100 Thu 10th March 2011 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Transport
2 interactions (64 words)
101 Mon 7th March 2011 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
2 interactions (74 words)
102 Wed 16th February 2011 Sex Offenders Register
Home Office
2 interactions (64 words)
103 Wed 26th January 2011 Point of Order
Home Office
3 interactions (300 words)
104 Wed 26th January 2011 Counter-terrorism Review
Home Office
6 interactions (2,181 words)
105 Mon 24th January 2011 Points of Order
Home Office
2 interactions (111 words)
106 Mon 13th December 2010 Public Order Policing
Home Office
4 interactions (852 words)
107 Tue 23rd November 2010 Points of Order
Home Office
9 interactions (344 words)
108 Tue 23rd November 2010 Controlling Migration
Home Office
5 interactions (173 words)
109 Mon 1st November 2010 Aviation Security Incident
Home Office
8 interactions (463 words)
110 Thu 28th October 2010 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Transport
2 interactions (171 words)
111 Mon 6th September 2010 Phone Tapping
Home Office
3 interactions (276 words)
112 Mon 6th September 2010 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
5 interactions (178 words)
113 Mon 26th July 2010 Policing in the 21st Century
Home Office
2 interactions (77 words)
114 Wed 30th June 2010 Speaker’s Statement
Home Office
3 interactions (289 words)
115 Mon 28th June 2010 Points of Order
Home Office
3 interactions (170 words)
116 Mon 21st October 2019 European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill and Extension Letter
Department for Exiting the European Union
2 interactions (46 words)
117 Sat 19th October 2019 European Union (Withdrawal) Acts
Department for Exiting the European Union
2 interactions (132 words)
118 Wed 24th July 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
12 interactions (670 words)
119 Wed 17th July 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (259 words)
120 Wed 10th July 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (144 words)
121 Wed 3rd July 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
8 interactions (437 words)
122 Wed 26th June 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
8 interactions (403 words)
123 Wed 19th June 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
6 interactions (322 words)
124 Wed 12th June 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (323 words)
125 Wed 22nd May 2019 Leaving the European Union
Cabinet Office
16 interactions (2,671 words)
126 Wed 22nd May 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (279 words)
127 Wed 1st May 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for International Development
6 interactions (389 words)
128 Thu 11th April 2019 European Council
Cabinet Office
8 interactions (373 words)
129 Wed 10th April 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (234 words)
130 Wed 3rd April 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
14 interactions (583 words)
131 Fri 29th March 2019 United Kingdom’s Withdrawal from the European Union
Attorney General
7 interactions (1,015 words)
132 Wed 27th March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (119 words)
133 Mon 25th March 2019 European Council
Cabinet Office
16 interactions (2,013 words)
134 Wed 20th March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
12 interactions (657 words)
135 Wed 13th March 2019 UK’s Withdrawal from the European Union
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
6 interactions (518 words)
136 Wed 13th March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (454 words)
137 Tue 12th March 2019 European Union (Withdrawal) Act
Cabinet Office
9 interactions (1,165 words)
138 Wed 6th March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
12 interactions (508 words)
139 Wed 27th February 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
7 interactions (353 words)
140 Tue 26th February 2019 Leaving the European Union
Cabinet Office
16 interactions (2,687 words)
141 Wed 20th February 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (207 words)
142 Wed 13th February 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
8 interactions (489 words)
143 Tue 12th February 2019 Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
26 interactions (3,205 words)
144 Wed 30th January 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (276 words)
145 Tue 29th January 2019 European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018
Cabinet Office
6 interactions (834 words)
146 Wed 23rd January 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
2 interactions (100 words)
147 Mon 21st January 2019 Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (2,772 words)
148 Wed 16th January 2019 No Confidence in Her Majesty’s Government
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (254 words)
149 Tue 15th January 2019 European Union (Withdrawal) Act
Attorney General
12 interactions (2,293 words)
150 Mon 14th January 2019 Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (165 words)
151 Wed 19th December 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
10 interactions (399 words)
152 Mon 17th December 2018 European Council
Cabinet Office
8 interactions (1,747 words)
153 Wed 12th December 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
7 interactions (308 words)
154 Mon 10th December 2018 Exiting the European Union
Cabinet Office
16 interactions (2,557 words)
155 Wed 5th December 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
7 interactions (317 words)
156 Tue 4th December 2018 European Union (Withdrawal) Act
Cabinet Office
7 interactions (894 words)
157 Mon 3rd December 2018 G20 Summit
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (175 words)
158 Wed 28th November 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (199 words)
159 Mon 26th November 2018 Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
6 interactions (1,883 words)
160 Thu 22nd November 2018 Progress on EU Negotiations
Cabinet Office
14 interactions (642 words)
161 Wed 21st November 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (137 words)
162 Thu 15th November 2018 EU Exit Negotiations
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (709 words)
163 Wed 14th November 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
10 interactions (474 words)
164 Wed 31st October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
6 interactions (367 words)
165 Wed 24th October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
8 interactions (352 words)
166 Mon 22nd October 2018 October EU Council
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (2,437 words)
167 Wed 17th October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (127 words)
168 Mon 15th October 2018 EU Exit Negotiations
Cabinet Office
6 interactions (488 words)
169 Wed 10th October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
8 interactions (450 words)
170 Wed 12th September 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (124 words)
171 Wed 5th September 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
4 interactions (228 words)
172 Wed 18th July 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
17 interactions (897 words)
173 Mon 16th July 2018 NATO Summit
Cabinet Office
8 interactions (530 words)
174 Mon 9th July 2018 Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
19 interactions (2,920 words)
175 Wed 4th July 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (208 words)
176 Mon 2nd July 2018 June European Council
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (892 words)
177 Wed 27th June 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
6 interactions (246 words)
178 Wed 20th June 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
3 interactions (179 words)
179 Wed 13th June 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
33 interactions (1,571 words)
180 Mon 11th June 2018 G7
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (40 words)
181 Wed 6th June 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
9 interactions (426 words)
182 Wed 16th May 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
8 interactions (320 words)
183 Mon 14th May 2018 Tributes: Baroness Jowell
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (925 words)
184 Wed 2nd May 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
3 interactions (49 words)
185 Wed 25th April 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
11 interactions (713 words)
186 Wed 18th April 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (318 words)
187 Tue 17th April 2018 Military Action Overseas: Parliamentary Approval
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (295 words)
188 Mon 16th April 2018 Syria
Cabinet Office
23 interactions (875 words)
189 Wed 28th March 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (588 words)
190 Mon 26th March 2018 European Council
Cabinet Office
10 interactions (2,025 words)
191 Wed 21st March 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
5 interactions (397 words)
192 Wed 14th March 2018 Salisbury Incident
Cabinet Office
16 interactions (2,019 words)
193 Wed 14th March 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
2 interactions (119 words)
194 Mon 12th March 2018 Salisbury Incident
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (234 words)
195 Wed 7th March 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
19 interactions (883 words)
196 Mon 5th March 2018 UK/EU Future Economic Partnership
Cabinet Office
18 interactions (2,393 words)
197 Wed 28th February 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
8 interactions (365 words)
198 Wed 21st February 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
10 interactions (505 words)
199 Wed 7th February 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
8 interactions (266 words)
200 Wed 24th January 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Scotland Office
8 interactions (360 words)
201 Wed 17th January 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (148 words)
202 Wed 10th January 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
16 interactions (643 words)
203 Wed 20th December 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
20 interactions (825 words)
204 Mon 18th December 2017 European Council
Cabinet Office
11 interactions (242 words)
205 Wed 13th December 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (236 words)
206 Mon 11th December 2017 Brexit Negotiations
Cabinet Office
18 interactions (702 words)
207 Wed 6th December 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
7 interactions (327 words)
208 Wed 22nd November 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (145 words)
209 Wed 15th November 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
6 interactions (157 words)
210 Wed 1st November 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
6 interactions (427 words)
211 Wed 25th October 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
14 interactions (544 words)
212 Mon 23rd October 2017 European Council
Cabinet Office
32 interactions (2,453 words)
213 Wed 18th October 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
26 interactions (1,182 words)
214 Wed 11th October 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
10 interactions (520 words)
215 Mon 9th October 2017 UK Plans for Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (2,452 words)
216 Wed 13th September 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
10 interactions (393 words)
217 Wed 19th July 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
6 interactions (300 words)
218 Mon 10th July 2017 G20
Cabinet Office
16 interactions (1,324 words)
219 Wed 5th July 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
10 interactions (549 words)
220 Wed 28th June 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
7 interactions (334 words)
221 Mon 26th June 2017 European Council
Cabinet Office
19 interactions (2,455 words)
222 Thu 22nd June 2017 Grenfell Tower
Cabinet Office
36 interactions (1,679 words)
223 Wed 21st June 2017 Debate on the Address
Cabinet Office
10 interactions (443 words)
224 Tue 13th June 2017 Election of Speaker
Cabinet Office
4 interactions (1,200 words)

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 26th April 2017

(3 years, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

If the right hon. Gentleman wants to talk about the NHS, perhaps he should talk about Labour’s custodianship of the NHS in Wales. There is somewhere that the NHS has been cut, and that is in Wales under the Labour party.

The right hon. Gentleman is right: in something over six weeks we will be back at these Dispatch Boxes. The only question is: where will we be standing? Who will be Prime Minister of this great country? He says that the choice is clear, and it is. Every vote for him is a vote for a chaotic Brexit; every vote for me is a vote to strengthen our hand in negotiating the best deal for Britain. Every vote for him is a vote to weaken our economy; every vote for me is a vote for a strong economy with the benefits felt by everyone across the country. Every vote for him is a vote for a coalition of chaos, a weak leader propped up by the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish nationalists; every vote for me is a vote for strong and stable leadership in the national interest, building a stronger and more secure future for this country.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. The exchanges between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have been unprecedentedly comprehensive. We wish to hear questions from Back Benchers.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I believe that the hon. Gentleman is standing down at the election, and he has said that that is due to his “significant and irreconcilable differences” with the leadership of his party. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. I am trying to help Back Benchers to be heard. Please help the Chair to help Back-Bench Members.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

What is important for the steel industry in this country is that this Government have taken action to support it. I was very pleased, when I visited Wales yesterday, to be able to visit a company that works with the steel industry galvanising steel products. The company talked about the greater amount of work that it is seeing and the improvements in the steel industry. This Conservative Government have taken steps to support the steel industry and will continue to do so.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. The hon. Gentleman has got his point across with considerable force.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

It is perfectly possible that I will find myself in Southampton over the coming weeks. As I have said before in this House, there is general agreement that the current funding formula is not fair. Labour did nothing in 13 years of government to address that. It is important that we get it right and we will respond to the consultation in due course. What is good news for schools in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency is that 7,000 more children are now in good or outstanding schools in his constituency. Under our proposed reforms, overall funding for schools in his constituency would rise.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

As he steps down after 44 years’ service in the House, I call Sir Alan Haselhurst.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I will give an assurance to all those people who voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union—and to all people across the country, regardless of how they voted, who now want to see this Government getting on with the job of Brexit and making a success of it—that we want to see control of our borders, control of our laws and control of our money, and that that is what we will deliver.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

In wishing the right hon. Gentleman all the best for the future, I call Sir Simon Burns.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

The right hon. Gentleman is right to say that, as we leave the European Union, we want to ensure that we are a truly global Britain and that we have trade deals around the rest of the world. The reason that we want those trade deals—as well as the strong, secure, deep and special partnership with the European Union on trade—is so that we can ensure prosperity across the whole of this country and jobs for ordinary working families.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. I will now take points of order. [Interruption.] We will come to points of order in a moment, but right hon. and hon. Members deserve an attentive audience. If, inexplicably, some right hon. and hon. Members are leaving the Chamber, perhaps they could do so quickly and quietly.

Early Parliamentary General Election

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 19th April 2017

(3 years, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. The Prime Minister is perfectly well able to fend for herself, but what the hon. Gentleman has said is a breach of order and I must ask him to withdraw it. He is versatile in the use of language—he used to pen articles for newspapers; he is a journalist—so withdraw, man, and use some other formulation if you must. At the very least, however, withdraw it.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
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 know that it has taken the right hon. Gentleman a little time to get the hang of Prime Minister’s questions, but he stands up week in, week out and asks me questions and I respond to those questions. With a stronger—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. The Leader of the Opposition must be heard, and the Prime Minister must be heard.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

We have a stronger economy, with the deficit two thirds down, but people will have a real choice at this election. They will have a choice between a Conservative Government who have shown that we can build a stronger economy and a Labour party with an economic policy that would bankrupt this country. What voters know is that under Labour it is ordinary working people who pay the price of the Labour party. They pay it with their taxes, they pay it with their jobs, and they pay it with their children’s futures.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

The principle behind the changing of housing benefit is the right one, which is to say that it is only fair that people are not able to make decisions when they are on benefit that they would not be able to make if they are actually in work. However, it is right that we ensure that those young people who have a particular difficulty with staying at home are supported through the system, which is why significant exemptions are in place. We recognise that need and have taken it on board.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

The next question is a closed question.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. The House is rather over-excited. The question has been heard. The answer will be heard.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

This House and this Parliament voted to trigger article 50, but the Labour party made it clear that it was thinking of voting against the final deal, the Scottish nationalists have said that they will vote against the legislation necessary to leave the European Union, the Liberal Democrats say that they are going to grind government to a standstill, and the House of Lords has threatened to stop us every inch of the way. I think it is right now to ask the British people to put their trust in me and the Conservative party to deliver on their vote last year—a Brexit plan that will make a success for this country and deliver a stronger, fairer, global Britain in the future.

Article 50

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 29th March 2017

(3 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister (Mrs Theresa May)
- Hansard -

Today, the Government act on the democratic will of the British people, and they act, too, on the clear and convincing position of this House. A few minutes ago in Brussels, the United Kingdom’s permanent representative to the EU handed a letter to the President of the European Council on my behalf confirming the Government’s decision to invoke article 50 of the treaty on European Union. The article 50 process is now under way and, in accordance with the wishes of the British people, the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back. Britain is leaving the European Union. We will make our own decisions and our own laws, take control of the things that matter most to us, and take the opportunity to build a stronger, fairer Britain— a country that our children and grandchildren are proud to call home. That is our ambition and our opportunity, and it is what this Government are determined to do.

At moments such as these—great turning points in our national story—the choices that we make define the character of our nation. We can choose to say that the task ahead is too great. We can choose to turn our face to the past and believe that it cannot be done. Or we can look forward with optimism and hope, and believe in the enduring power of the British spirit. I choose to believe in Britain and that our best days lie ahead. I do so because I am confident that we have the vision and the plan to use this moment to build a better Britain.

Leaving the European Union presents us with a unique opportunity. It is this generation’s chance to shape a brighter future for our country—a chance to step back and ask ourselves what kind of country we want to be. My answer is clear: I want the United Kingdom to emerge from this period of change stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking than ever before. I want us to be a secure, prosperous, tolerant country, a magnet for international talent and a home to the pioneers and innovators who will shape the world ahead. I want us to be a truly global Britain: the best friend and neighbour to our European partners, but a country that reaches beyond the borders of Europe, too—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
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Order. I apologise for having to interrupt the Prime Minister. Mr Boswell, calm yourself. You must try to learn to behave in a statesmanlike fashion. That is your long-term goal—it may be very long-term, but it should be a goal. I say this to the House: you can study the record; I will want all colleagues to have the chance to question the Prime Minister. This is a very important statement, but it is reasonable to expect that she gets a courteous hearing, and that every other colleague then gets a courteous hearing.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I want us to be a truly global Britain: the best friend and neighbour to our European partners, but a country that reaches beyond the borders of Europe, too—a country that goes out into the world to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike. That is why I have set out a clear and ambitious plan for the negotiations ahead. It is a plan for a new deep and special partnership between Britain and the European Union—a partnership of values; a partnership of interests; a partnership based on co-operation in areas such as security and economic affairs; and a partnership that works in the best interests of the United Kingdom, the European Union and the wider world. Perhaps now, more than ever, the world needs the liberal, democratic values of Europe—[Laughter.]

Mr Speaker
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Order.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

Perhaps now, more than ever, the world needs the liberal, democratic values of Europe—values that the United Kingdom shares. That is why, although we are leaving the institutions of the European Union, we are not leaving Europe. We will remain a close friend and ally. We will be a committed partner. We will play our part to ensure that Europe is able to project its values and defend itself from security threats, and we will do all that we can to help the European Union to prosper and succeed.

In the letter that has been delivered to President Tusk today, copies of which I have placed in the Library of the House, I have been clear that the deep and special partnership that we seek is in the best interests of the United Kingdom and of the European Union, too. I have been clear that we will work constructively in a spirit of sincere co-operation to bring this partnership into being, and I have been clear that we should seek to agree the terms of this future partnership, alongside those of our withdrawal, within the next two years.

I am ambitious for Britain, and the objectives I have set out for these negotiations remain. We will deliver certainty wherever possible so that business, the public sector and everybody else has as much clarity as we can provide as we move through the process. That is why tomorrow we will publish a White Paper confirming our plans to convert the acquis into British law so that everyone will know where they stand, and it is why I have been clear that the Government will put the final deal agreed between the UK and the EU to a vote in both Houses of Parliament before it comes into force.

We will take control of our own laws and bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain. Leaving the European Union will mean that our laws will be made in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, and those laws will be interpreted not by judges in Luxembourg, but in courts across this country.

We will strengthen the Union of the four nations that comprise our United Kingdom. We will negotiate as one United Kingdom, taking account of the specific interests of every nation and region of the UK. When it comes to the powers that we will take back from Europe, we will consult fully on which should reside in Westminster and which should be passed on to the devolved Administrations. But no decisions currently taken by the devolved Administrations will be removed from them. It is the expectation of the Government that the devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will see a significant increase in their decision-making power as a result of this process.

We want to maintain the common travel area with the Republic of Ireland. There should be no return to the borders of the past. We will control immigration so that we continue to attract the brightest and the best to work or study in Britain, but manage the process properly so that our immigration system serves the national interest. We will seek to guarantee the rights of EU citizens who are already living in Britain, and the rights of British nationals in other member states, as early as we can. This is set out very clearly in the letter as an early priority for the talks ahead.

We will ensure that workers’ rights are fully protected and maintained. Indeed, under my leadership, the Government will not only protect the rights of workers but build on them. We will pursue a bold and ambitious free trade agreement with the European Union that allows for the freest possible trade in goods and services between Britain and the EU’s member states, that gives British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate within European markets, and that lets European businesses do the same in Britain. European leaders have said many times that we cannot cherry-pick and remain members of the single market without accepting the four freedoms that are indivisible. We respect that position and, as accepting those freedoms is incompatible with the democratically expressed will of the British people, we will no longer be members of the single market.

We are going to make sure that we can strike trade agreements with countries from outside the European Union, too, because important though our trade with the EU is and will remain, it is clear that the UK needs to increase significantly its trade with the fastest growing export markets in the world. We hope to continue to collaborate with our European partners in the areas of science, education, research and technology so that the UK is one of the best places for science and innovation. We seek continued co-operation with our European partners in important areas such as crime, terrorism and foreign affairs. And it is our aim to deliver a smooth and orderly Brexit, reaching an agreement about our future partnership by the time the two-year article 50 process has concluded, and then moving into a phased process of implementation in which Britain, the EU institutions and member states prepare for the new arrangements that will exist between us.

We understand that there will be consequences for the UK of leaving the EU. We know that we will lose influence over the rules that affect the European economy. We know that UK companies that trade with the EU will have to align with rules agreed by institutions of which we are no longer a part, just as we do in other overseas markets—we accept that. However, we approach these talks constructively, respectfully and in a spirit of sincere co-operation, for it is in the interests of both the United Kingdom and the European Union that we should use this process to deliver our objectives in a fair and orderly manner. It is in the interests of both the United Kingdom and the European Union that there should be as little disruption as possible. And it is in the interests of both the United Kingdom and the European Union that Europe should remain strong, prosperous and capable of projecting its values in the world.

At a time when the growth of global trade is slowing and there are signs that protectionist instincts are on the rise in many parts of the world, Europe has a responsibility to stand up for free trade in the interests of all our citizens. With Europe’s security more fragile today than at any time since the end of the cold war, weakening our co-operation and failing to stand up for European values would be a costly mistake. Our vote to leave the EU was no rejection of the values that we share as fellow Europeans. As a European country, we will continue to play our part in promoting and supporting those values during the negotiations and once they are done.

We will continue to be reliable partners, willing allies and close friends. We want to continue to buy goods and services from the EU, and sell it ours. We want to trade with the EU as freely as possible, and work with one another to make sure we are all safer, more secure and more prosperous through continued friendship. Indeed, in an increasingly unstable world, we must continue to forge the closest possible security co-operation to keep our people safe. We face the same global threats from terrorism and extremism. That message was only reinforced by the abhorrent attack on Westminster bridge and this place last week, so there should be no reason why we should not agree a new deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU that works for us all.

I know that this is a day of celebration for some and disappointment for others. The referendum last June was divisive at times. Not everyone shared the same point of view or voted the same way. The arguments on both sides were passionate. But when I sit around the negotiating table in the months ahead, I will represent every person in the United Kingdom: young and old; rich and poor; city, town, country, and all the villages and hamlets in between; and, yes, those EU nationals who have made this country their home. It is my fierce determination to get the right deal for every single person in this country for, as we face the opportunities ahead of us on this momentous journey, our shared values, interests and ambitions can—and must—bring us together.

We all want to see a Britain that is stronger than it is today. We all want a country that is fairer so that everyone has the chance to succeed. We all want a nation that is safe and secure for our children and grandchildren. We all want to live in a truly global Britain that gets out and builds relationships with old friends and new allies around the world. These are the ambitions of this Government’s plan for Britain—ambitions that unite us, so that we are no longer defined by the vote we cast, but by our determination to make a success of the result.

We are one great Union of people and nations with a proud history and a bright future. Now that the decision to leave has been made and the process is under way, it is time to come together, for this great national moment needs a great national effort—an effort to shape a stronger future for Britain. So let us do so together. Let us come together and work together. Let us together choose to believe in Britain with optimism and hope, for if we do, we can make the most of the opportunities ahead. We can together make a success of this moment, and we can together build a stronger, fairer, better Britain—a Britain our children and grandchildren are proud to call home. I commend this statement to the House.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. Calm yourselves. Mr Docherty-Hughes, you are an exceptionally over-excitable individual brandishing your Order Paper in a distinctly eccentric manner. Go and entertain yourself somewhere else if you cannot calm yourself. The Prime Minister.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

The right hon. Gentleman has said this afternoon on a number of occasions, as he has on many occasions in this House before, that Scotland voted to remain in the European Union and should therefore be treated differently. My constituency voted to remain in the European Union. [Interruption.] The point is that we are one United Kingdom, and it was a vote of the whole of the United Kingdom. What I hear from people outside this Chamber—by the way, the right hon. Gentleman seems to forget the something like 400,000 SNP supporters who voted to leave the European Union—from individuals and businesses alike, whether they voted to remain or to leave, is that the vote having been taken, the decision having been given to people of the United Kingdom, we should now respect that vote and get on with the job of delivering for everybody across the whole of the United Kingdom.

The right hon. Gentleman refers to the issue of Scottish independence and its impact on membership of the European Union. It is the case, and the European Union has reinforced the Barroso doctrine, that if Scotland were to—[Interruption.] SNP Members seem to find it amusing but, just to remind everybody, the Barroso doctrine is that if Scotland were to become independent from the United Kingdom—if it had voted for independence in 2014—it would cease to be a member of the European Union. We will be ensuring that the substance of the deal that we achieve—I am interested in the outcomes of this deal—will be the best possible for the people of the whole United Kingdom.

The right hon. Gentleman talks about democratic representation and democratic responsibility. Perhaps the Scottish Government might like to consider why they have not passed a single piece of legislation in Holyrood for the past year.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. In congratulating the hon. Member for Morley and Outwood (Andrea Jenkyns) on the excellent news to which the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Jason McCartney) has just referred, I think it right also to congratulate the hon. Member for Filton and Bradley Stoke (Jack Lopresti), who I think had some hand in the matter as well. [Laughter.] Well, he had a role, anyway.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am glad that I did not have to give clarification of your statement. I congratulate both my hon. Friends on the birth of Clifford George this morning, and I am sure that the whole House will send its best wishes to mother and father, and to their baby son.

As others have said in the House, it is important for us to take into account the views of the various parts and regions of the United Kingdom. We have some very important deals, including a number of city deals, around the country, and the devolution deals. The directly elected Mayors will be in place on 4 May. We will also, of course, look into how we can further boost the economies throughout the United Kingdom, including the northern powerhouse and the midlands engine. I was in Birmingham yesterday to discuss exactly that issue.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. I heard the hon. Member for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill (Philip Boswell) earlier from his seat, and I think that it is now time to hear him from his feet.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I simply say to the hon. Gentleman that it is, of course, possible to be a passionate European without believing that the UK should be a member of the European Union. This is a difference in terms of the values that we share. Working together co-operatively, across Europe, on the issues that he raises is important. Of course, I do believe, as those on the Conservative Benches do, that the key determinant of security and defence across Europe has been NATO. We continue to play our part in NATO, but I recognise that there are those on the continent of Europe who very much feel that for them the EU has been part of that process of delivering security and peace into the future. I want to ensure that we can continue to work together, so that we continue to see peace and security across our European continent.

Mr Speaker
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I call the fellow wearing the Elgar tie: Sir Gerald Howarth.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I have to say to the hon. Gentleman that the answer I give him will be the answer I have given throughout this statement, and indeed have given in the past: we will be working for that comprehensive free trade agreement that will enable businesses to trade freely with the European Union single market, and to trade in both goods and services with the European single market. That is what we want to achieve. I recognise the need for business to have as much certainty as possible as soon as possible. One of the things in the letter that I know business has been asking for is the concept of the implementation period, so that there is not a cliff edge when we leave, and so that they are able to put any new arrangements in place and have notification of that. That is exactly what I have suggested to President Tusk we should, at an early stage, agree will be a principle that we will abide by.

Mr Speaker
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I call a Canterbury knight: Sir Julian Brazier.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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Obviously a key element of the negotiations will be ensuring that we see no disruption to aviation arrangements so that people are able to continue flying between the UK and other parts of the European Union and elsewhere in the world. We recognise the importance of our aviation industry in terms of not just the work of the airlines themselves and our airports, but aviation manufacturing, which is also important to us.

Mr Speaker
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Order. There must be some relief from the toil of being a Whip. I call Mr Mike Weir.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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My hon. Friend has put his finger on the issue that I believe led to many people voting to leave the European Union: they wanted to feel that decisions about their future were being taken here in the United Kingdom and not in Brussels.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

From among the ranks of the boisterous bunch of the Scottish National party, I think we should hear a voice of serenity and good conduct. I call Michelle Thomson.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I can give reassurance to my hon. Friend; we have set up a Joint Ministerial Council with the Government of Gibraltar to discuss the particular issues they have and to make sure that their concerns are taken into account as we enter these negotiations. We are committed to continuing to engage with Gibraltar as we leave the EU.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

The hon. Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Mr MacNeil) is a jovial jackanapes, so I think we should put him out of his misery and hear from the feller.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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The hon. Gentleman, with his background, will know that the treaty on European Union enables the member state to trigger article 50 in the way in which we have done. It is then for the European Union to respond to that by setting out the basis of two years of negotiations.

Mr Speaker
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May I thank all 113 Back-Bench Members who questioned the Prime Minister? May I also thank the Prime Minister, who has been with us for the past three hours and 21 minutes, and attending to this statement for the past two hours and 46 minutes? In the name of courtesy, we ought to say a big thank you to her.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 29th March 2017

(3 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Department for International Development
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I say to the right hon. Gentleman that we are taking forward the views of the United Kingdom into the negotiations with the European Union on the United Kingdom exiting the European Union. The Scottish nationalist party consistently talks—[Hon. Members: “National.”]

Mr Speaker
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Order. Ms Cherry, this is very unseemly heckling. You are a distinguished QC; you would not behave like that in the Scottish courts—you would be chucked out.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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The SNP consistently talks about independence as the only subject it wishes to talk about. What I say to the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues is this: now is not the time to be talking about a second independence referendum. On today of all days we should be coming together as a United Kingdom to get the best deal for Britain.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I am very happy—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
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Order. Boris is sitting perfectly comfortably, and there is an air of repose about the fellow, to which we are accustomed. Let us hear from the Prime Minister.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I am very happy to tell the hon. Lady that, of course, when this country leaves the European Union, we will have control of our budgets and we will decide how that money is spent.

London Attack

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Thursday 23rd March 2017

(3 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister (Mrs Theresa May)
- Hansard -

Yesterday, an act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy, but today we meet as normal, as generations have done before us and as future generations will continue to do, to deliver a simple message: we are not afraid, and our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism. We meet here, in the oldest of all Parliaments, because we know that democracy, and the values that it entails, will always prevail. Those values—free speech, liberty, human rights and the rule of law—are embodied here in this place, but they are shared by free people around the world.

A terrorist came to the place where people of all nationalities and cultures gather to celebrate what it means to be free, and he took out his rage indiscriminately against innocent men, women and children. This was an attack on free people everywhere, and on behalf of the British people, I would like to thank our friends and allies around the world who have made it clear that they stand with us at this time. What happened on the streets of Westminster yesterday afternoon sickened us all.

While there is an ongoing police investigation, the House will understand that there are limits to what I can say, but, having been updated by police and security officials, let me set out what, at this stage, I can tell the House. At approximately 2.40 pm yesterday, a single attacker drove his vehicle at speed into innocent pedestrians who were crossing Westminster bridge, killing two people and injuring around 40 more. In addition to 12 Britons admitted to hospital, we know that the victims include three French children, two Romanians, four South Koreans, one German, one Pole, one Irish, one Chinese, one Italian, one American and two Greeks, and we are in close contact with the Governments of the countries of all those affected. The injured also included three police officers who were returning from an event to recognise their bravery; two of those three remain in a serious condition.

The attacker then left the vehicle and approached a police officer at Carriage Gates, attacking that officer with a large knife, before he was shot dead by an armed police officer. Tragically, as the House will know, 48-year-old PC Keith Palmer was killed.

PC Palmer had devoted his life to the service of his country. He had been a member of the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command for 15 years, and a soldier in the Royal Artillery before that. He was a husband and a father, killed doing a job he loved. He was every inch a hero, and his actions will never be forgotten. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”] I know that the whole House will join me in sending our deepest condolences to his family, and to the families and friends of all those who have been killed or injured in yesterday’s awful attacks. I know also that the House will wish to thank all those who acted with such speed and professionalism yesterday to secure this place and ensure that we are able to meet, as we are doing today.

At 7.30 pm last night, I chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee, Cobra, and will have further briefings and meetings with security officials today. The threat level to the UK has been set at “severe”—meaning an attack is highly likely—for some time. This is the second highest threat level. The highest level—“critical”—means that there is specific intelligence that an attack is imminent. As there is no such intelligence, the independent joint terrorism analysis centre has decided that the threat level will not change in the light of yesterday’s attack.

The whole country will want to know who was responsible for this atrocity and the measures that we are taking to strengthen our security, including here in Westminster. A full counter-terrorism investigation is already under way. Hundreds of our police and security officers have been working through the night to establish everything possible about this attack, including its preparation and motivation, and whether there were any associates involved in its planning. And while there remain limits on what I can say at this stage, I can confirm that overnight the police have searched six addresses and made eight arrests in Birmingham and London.

It is still believed that this attacker acted alone, and the police have no reason to believe that there are imminent further attacks on the public. His identity is known to the police and MI5, and when operational considerations allow, he will be publicly identified. What I can confirm is that the man was British-born and that—some years ago—he was once investigated by MI5 in relation to concerns about violent extremism. He was a peripheral figure. The case is historic: he was not part of the current intelligence picture. There was no prior intelligence of his intent or of the plot. Intensive investigations continue, and as Acting Deputy Commissioner Rowley confirmed last night, our working assumption is that the attacker was inspired by Islamist ideology.

We know the threat from Islamist terrorism is very real, but while the public should remain utterly vigilant, they should not, and will not, be cowed by this threat. As Acting Deputy Commissioner Rowley has made clear, we are stepping up policing to protect communities across the country and to reassure the public. As a precautionary measure, this will mean increasing the number of patrols in cities across the country, with more police and more armed police on the streets.

Since June 2013, our police, security and intelligence agencies have successfully disrupted 13 separate terrorist plots in Britain. Following the 2015 strategic defence and security review, we protected the police budgets for counter-terrorism and committed to increase cross-Government spending on counter-terrorism by 30% in real terms over the course of this Parliament. Over the next five years, we will invest an extra £2.5 billion in building our global security and intelligence network, employing over 1,900 additional staff at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, and more than doubling our global network of counter-terrorism experts working with priority countries across Europe, the middle east, Africa and Asia.

In terms of security here in Westminster, we should be clear first of all that an attacker attempted to break into Parliament and was shot dead within 20 yards of the gates. If his intention was to gain access to this building, we should be clear that he did not succeed. The police heroically did their job. But, as is routine, the police, together with the House authorities, are reviewing the security of the parliamentary estate, co-ordinated with the Cabinet Office, which has responsibility for the security measures in place around the Government secure zone. All of us in this House have a responsibility for the security and safety of our staff, and advice is available for Members who need it.

Yesterday, we saw the worst of humanity, but we will remember the best. We will remember the extraordinary efforts to save the life of PC Keith Palmer, including those of my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood). [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”] And we will remember the exceptional bravery of our police, security and emergency services who once again ran towards the danger even as they encouraged others to move the other way. On behalf of the whole country, I want to pay tribute to them for the work they have been doing to reassure the public, treat the injured and bring security back to the streets of our capital city. That they have lost one of their own in yesterday’s attack only makes their calmness and professionalism all the more remarkable.

A lot has been said since terror struck London yesterday. Much more will be said in the coming days. But the greatest response lies not in the words of politicians but in the everyday actions of ordinary people. For beyond these walls today, in scenes repeated in towns and cities across the country, millions of people are going about their days and getting on with their lives. The streets are as busy as ever, the offices full, the coffee shops and cafés bustling. As I speak, millions will be boarding trains and aeroplanes to travel to London and to see for themselves the greatest city on Earth. It is in these actions—millions of acts of normality—that we find the best response to terrorism: a response that denies our enemies their victory, that refuses to let them win, that shows we will never give in; a response driven by that same spirit that drove a husband and father to put himself between us and our attacker, and to pay the ultimate price; a response that says to the men and women who propagate this hate and evil, “You will not defeat us.” Mr Speaker, let this be the message from this House and this nation today: our values will prevail. I commend this statement to the House.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

My hon. Friend is right that it is important we defeat such extremism and deal with it at that earlier stage. A lot of work is being done within communities and working with communities. Obviously, there is the work that the police do to encourage people within communities to come forward with information when it is possible to do so and they have such concerns. That is important: people need to have the confidence of feeling that they can do that. It is important to create the environment within communities where people who recognise there are those who are trying to destroy our way of life actually feel able to take action about it. My hon. Friend is right: bringing communities together is an important part of what the Government are doing on a number of fronts.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. I had intended to call another Birmingham Member, the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden), who, sadly, has left the Chamber. In the absence of that hon. Member, let us hear the voice of Jack Dromey.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

This act of terror was not done in the name of a religion; it was done, as I said earlier, as a result of a warped ideology. All acts of terror are evil acts underpinned by warped ideologies of different sorts, but whatever the ideology, it is an attempt to divide us and to destroy our way of life that drives the evil acts of the terrorists. We stand together with the Muslim community and with other communities around this country and say that what unites us is greater than what divides us. We must be very clear that we share the values of democracy, of the rule of law and of freedom. These are what make the society in which we all live.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

I thank the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and all colleagues for what they have said and for the way in which they have said it.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 22nd March 2017

(3 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. People should not keep yelling out, “What about Eileen?” The Prime Minister is giving her response to the Leader of the Opposition, including the references to Eileen.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

What matters for all of us who are concerned about education in this country is that we ensure that the quality of education that is provided for our children enables them to get on in life and have a better future. That is what this Government are about. It is about ensuring that in this country you get on on the basis of merit, not privilege; it is about ensuring that every child—[Interruption]—every child across this country has the opportunity of a good school place. That is what we have been delivering for the past seven years, and it is what we will deliver into the future—and every single policy that has delivered better education for children has been opposed by the right hon. Gentleman.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

I am extremely grateful to the hon. Gentleman, but I did do that a couple of days ago.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I did not have that opportunity a couple of days ago, so I am happy to join my hon. Friend in wishing Dame Vera Lynn a very happy 100th birthday this week. It is right that we recognise the service that she gave to this country, as many others did.

My hon. Friend raises the important issue of transport links in Kent, which I have discussed with him and other Kent MPs on a number of occasions. In addition to the M20 lorry park, I assure him that the Department for Transport is fully committed to delivering a long-term solution as quickly as possible. It is currently considering the findings of the lower Thames crossing consultation, and Highways England will be doing more detailed work on the A2. The Home Office will be looking very closely at what measures need to be in place for Brexit for those coming across the border into Dover.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 15th March 2017

(3 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Northern Ireland Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. We made a commitment not to raise tax, and we put our commitment into the tax lock. The measures that we put forward in the Budget last week were consistent with those locks. As a number of my parliamentary colleagues have been pointing out in recent days—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. This is intolerable. [Interruption.] I take no view on the matter, but I do take a view on the importance of hearing the questions and the answers.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

As a number of my parliamentary colleagues have been pointing out in recent days, the trend towards greater self-employment does create a structural issue in the tax base on which we will have to act. We want to ensure that we maintain, as they have said, fairness in the tax system. We will await the report from Matthew Taylor on the future of employment; consider the Government’s overall approach to employment status and rights to tax and entitlements; and bring forward further proposals, but we will not bring forward increases to national insurance contributions later in this Parliament.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has got the hang of this. He is supposed to ask me a question when he stands up—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
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Order. Let us hear the answer.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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The right hon. Gentleman talks about schools. What have we done? We have protected the core schools budget and introduced the pupil premium. This Budget delivers money for more than 100 new schools, ensuring good school places for every child. This Budget delivers on skills for young people; we want them to be equipped for the jobs of the future. The Budget delivers £500 million for technical education. We also recognise the pressure on social care. This Budget delivers £2 billion more funding for social care—funding that would not be available with Labour’s economic policies.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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If he wants—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. There is too much noise in the Chamber. Hon. Members on the SNP Benches are very over-excited individuals. I want to hear the Prime Minister’s reply. Let us hear the reply.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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If the hon. Member for Aberdeen South (Callum McCaig) wants to talk about figures in relation to the UK economy, it is the world’s sixth largest economy, and this Government have reduced the deficit by two thirds. If he would care to look at today’s employment figures she will see that employment is at a record high and unemployment has not been lower since 1975.

Break in Debate

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

Mr Speaker
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Order. The hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) was shouting from beyond the Bar, which is very disorderly. On top of that, a few moments ago he was gesticulating in a most eccentric manner. I am becoming concerned about the hon. Gentleman, who must now calm himself.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

Thank you, Mr Speaker. My hon. Friend the Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Dr Johnson) is absolutely right. As she says, her constituency voted overwhelmingly to leave the European Union. The point is that the people of the United Kingdom voted by a majority to leave the European Union. As we do that, we will ensure that the deal we achieve in our negotiations is the right deal for the whole of the United Kingdom—for people in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I welcome the measures in the spring Budget to improve school places for children, and to ensure that we put money—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. The hon. Member for Lichfield (Michael Fabricant) is another very eccentric fellow shouting very loudly. You must not shout down your own Prime Minister! Let us hear the Prime Minister.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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Thank you, Mr Speaker. I welcome the measures in the spring Budget to ensure we put money into schools, skills and social care. I would have thought the right hon. Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) would accept that putting money into schools, skills and social care is good for this country.

European Council

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Tuesday 14th March 2017

(3 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister (Mrs Theresa May)
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With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on last week’s European Council, and the next steps in preparing to trigger Article 50 and beginning the process of leaving the European Union.

The summit began by re-electing Donald Tusk as President of the European Council. I welcomed this because we have a close working relationship with President Tusk and recognise the strong contribution he has made in office. In the main business of the Council, we discussed the challenge of managing mass migration; the threats from organised crime and instability in the western Balkans; and the measures needed to boost Europe’s growth and competitiveness, which will remain important for us as we build a new relationship between the EU and a self-governing global Britain. In each case, we were able to show once again how Britain will continue to play a leading role in Europe long after we have left the European Union.

On migration, I welcomed the progress in implementing the action plan we agreed at the informal EU summit in Malta last month. This included Italy strengthening asylum processes and increasing returns, and Greece working to implement the EU-Turkey deal, where the UK is providing additional staff to support the interviewing of Iraqi, Afghan and Eritrean nationals.

At this Council, I argued that we must do more to dismantle the vile people-smuggling rings who profit from the migrants’ misery and who are subjecting many to unimaginable abuses. With co-ordinated and committed action, we can make a difference. Indeed, just last month an operation between our National Crime Agency and the Hellenic coastguard led to the arrest of 19 members of an organised immigration crime group in Greece. As I have argued before, we need a managed, controlled and truly global approach, and that is exactly what the Council agreed. We need to help to ensure that refugees claim asylum in the first safe country they reach, and help those countries to support the refugees so they do not have to make the perilous journey to Europe. We need a better overall approach to managing economic migration, one which recognises that all countries have the right to control their borders. Engaging our African partners in this global approach will be crucial, and this will be an important part of the discussions at the Somalia conference which the UK will be hosting in London in May.

Turning to the deteriorating situation in the western Balkans, I made clear my concerns about the risks it presents to the region and to our wider collective security. Organised criminals and terrorists are ready to exploit these vulnerabilities, and we are seeing increasingly brazen interference by Russia and others. In light of the alleged Montenegro coup plot, I called on the Council to do more to counter destabilising Russian disinformation campaigns and to raise the visibility of the western commitment to this region.

The UK will lead the way. The Foreign Secretary will be visiting Russia in the coming weeks, where I expect him to set out our concerns about reports of Russian interference in the affairs of the Government of Montenegro. We will provide strategic communications expertise to the EU institutions to counter disinformation campaigns in the region, and we will host the 2018 western Balkans summit. In the run-up to that summit, we will enhance our security co-operation with our western Balkans partners, including on serious and organised crime, anti-corruption and cyber-security.

More broadly, I also re-emphasised the importance that the UK places on NATO as the bedrock of our collective defence, and I urged other member states to start investing more, in line with NATO’s target, so that every country plays its full part in sharing the burden. For it is only by investing properly in our defence that we can ensure we are properly equipped to keep our people safe.

Turning to growth and competitiveness, I want us to build a new relationship with the EU, as I have said, that will give our companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate in the European market, and allow European businesses to do the same here. So a successful and competitive European market in the future will remain in our national interest. At this Council, I called for further steps to complete the single market and the digital single market.

I also welcomed the completion of the free trade agreement between the EU and Canada and pressed for an agreement with Japan in the coming months. For these agreements—[Interruption.] Yes, just wait for it. These agreements will lay the foundation for our continuing trading relationships with these countries as we leave the EU.

At the same time, we will also seize the opportunity to forge our own new trade deals and to reach out beyond the borders of Europe to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike. This weekend, we announced a two-day conference with the largest ever Qatari trade delegation to visit the UK, building on the £5 billion of trade we already do with Qatar every year. We will also strengthen the unique and proud global relationships we have forged with the diverse and vibrant alliance of the Commonwealth, which we celebrated on Commonwealth day yesterday.

Finally, last night the Bill on article 50 successfully completed its passage through both Houses unchanged. It will now proceed to Royal Assent in the coming days, so we remain on track with the timetable I set out six months ago. I will return to this House before the end of this month to notify when I have formally triggered article 50 and begun the process through which the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. This will be a defining moment for our whole country, as we begin to forge a new relationship with Europe and a new role for ourselves in the world.

We will be a strong, self-governing global Britain with control once again over our borders and our laws. We will use this moment of opportunity to build a stronger economy and a fairer society, so that we secure both the right deal for Britain abroad and a better deal for ordinary working people at home.

The new relationship with the EU that we negotiate will work for the whole of the United Kingdom. That is why we have been working closely with the devolved Administrations, including the Scottish Government, listening to their proposals and recognising the many areas of common ground that we have, such as protecting workers’ rights and our security from crime and terrorism.

So, Mr Speaker, this is not a moment to play politics or create uncertainty and division. It is a moment to bring our country together, to honour the will of the British people and to shape for them a brighter future and a better Britain. I commend this statement to the House.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I am tempted to say to my hon. Friend: “Nice try, but I don’t think that was an application for a job at the Treasury.”

Mr Speaker
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The hon. Gentleman seems to be able to contain his misery.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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We have membership of the single market because we are a member of the European Union, which involves—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. Somebody is overexcited. The question has been asked, and the Prime Minister should not have to fight to be heard. The right hon. Lady must be heard.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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Being a member involves accepting certain other requirements from the European Union, requirements that people voted not to be part of when they voted on 23 June. That is why I have consistently said that Members of this House must stop thinking that the only option is membership of the single market or nothing—it is not. There is an option of having a comprehensive free trade agreement that gives us the sort of access that we want to have.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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The 1964 London fisheries convention is one issue which the Government are looking at, and we will be looking at it in relation to our future relationship with Europe as we come out of the European Union and therefore out of the common fisheries policy. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
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Yes indeed. It is a very important matter. I think that we will learn more about it. The hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Alan Brown) obviously knows all about it.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I assure the hon. Gentleman that the Government will look at the issue very seriously. Obviously there are a number of concerns in respect of what he has said, and I will certainly look at the issue carefully.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

I am extremely grateful to the Prime Minister and all 66 Back-Bench Members who questioned her following the Leader of the Opposition.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 8th March 2017

(3 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Wales Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I can assure my hon. Friend that we very much want to ensure that we are doing that. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is looking at our digital strategy and ensuring that broadband is available in rural areas and, indeed, at good speeds in other areas, which might be less rural than my hon. Friend’s constituency.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Finally, Mr Tim Farron. [Interruption.] Order. I do not know whether Members are cheering because it is “finally” or because of the popularity of the hon. Gentleman, but he is going to be heard.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 1st March 2017

(3 years, 12 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

The way we are dealing with disability benefits is to ensure that payments are going to those who are most vulnerable. What we are doing in relation to personal independence payments is ensuring that the agreement of this Parliament is being put into practice. The right hon. Gentleman talks about funding and he talks about borrowing. I understand that today—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. We cannot have a constant debate while the Prime Minister is answering the question. The question has been put and was heard, and the answer must be heard without a constant hubbub in the background.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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The right hon. Gentleman talks about accepting the court’s decision and paying for that. When asked how Labour would pay for the increase if it was put in place, I understand that the Labour shadow Health Secretary said today, “Err, we’ve not outlined that yet.” That just sums up the Labour party and the Labour party leadership. After the result in Copeland last week, the hon. Member for Lancaster and Fleetwood (Cat Smith) summed up the by-election result by saying that it was an “incredible result” for the Labour party. I think that word describes the right hon. Gentleman’s leadership: incredible.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I think I should say for clarity to Members of this House that I am not in a position to know whether or not you took a shower this morning, Mr Speaker.

My hon. Friend has raised a very important point. It is completely unnecessary to add plastics to products like face washes and body scrub, where harmless alternatives can be used. As she said at the end of her question, our consultation to ban microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products closed recently. We are aiming to change legislation by October 2017, and we also ask for evidence of what more can be done in future to prevent other sources of plastic from entering the marine environment, because we are committed to being the first generation ever to leave the environment in a better state than when it was inherited. I am sure that, together, we can all work to bring an end to these harmful plastics clogging up our oceans.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

I think both Philip and Sally are very reassured by what the Prime Minister has just said.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 22nd February 2017

(4 years ago)

Commons Chamber

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Department for International Development
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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First, the right hon. Gentleman should consider correcting the record, because 54% of hospital trusts are considered good or outstanding—quite different from the figure he cited. Secondly, I will take no lessons on the NHS from the party—[Interruption.] Oh, the deputy leader of the Labour party says we should take lessons on the NHS, but I will not take any lessons from the party that presided over the failure that happened at Mid Staffs hospital. Labour says we should learn lessons. I will tell the House who should learn lessons: the Labour party, which still fails to recognise that if you are going to fund the NHS—we are putting money in, and there are more doctors, more operations and more nurses—you need a strong economy. We now know, however, that Labour has a different sort of phrase for its approach to these things. Remember when it used to talk about “boom and bust”? Now it is borrow and bankrupt. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
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Order. We must get through Back Benchers’ questions and the Prime Minister’s answers to them. I call Mr Michael Tomlinson.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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If I may say so, that was a neat reference to pie at the end of the question.

I am happy to congratulate Sutton on their extremely good run in the FA cup. It makes a huge difference to a local area when its football club is able to progress to that extent, to be up there with the big boys, and to do as well as Sutton did. I am also happy to congratulate Lincoln City—I see that my hon. Friend the Member for Lincoln is sitting next to my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Scully)—on their success. We wish them well for the future.

Mr Speaker
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Finally, I call Michelle Thomson.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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Before I respond to the hon. Lady’s question, I am afraid that I owe a couple of apologies. I am sorry for mixing up my hon. Friends the Members for Stroud (Neil Carmichael) and for Lincoln (Karl MᶜCartney). I was obviously getting carried away with the football fever that my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam introduced into the Chamber.

The hon. Member for Edinburgh West (Michelle Thomson) mentioned the Green Investment Bank. If I may, I will write to her with a response to her question.

Mr Speaker
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I think it is fair to say that in dealing with the matter the Prime Minister has deployed a very straight bat.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 8th February 2017

(4 years ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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The right hon.—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. It is bad enough when Members who are within the curtilage of the Chamber shout; those who are not absolutely should not do so. It is a discourtesy to the House of Commons—nothing more, nothing less. Please do not do it.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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The right hon. Gentleman referred at an early stage of his question to Blackburn. I am happy to say that compared to 2010 there are 129 more hospital doctors and 413 more nurses in Blackburn’s East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. He then went on to talk about waiting times. Waiting times can be an issue. Where is it that you wait a week longer for pneumonia treatment, a week longer for heart disease treatment, seven weeks longer for cataract treatment, 11 weeks longer for hernia treatment, and 21 weeks longer for a hip operation? It is not in England—it is in Wales. Who is in power in Wales? Labour.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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What we have given all councils is the opportunity to raise a 3% precept on council tax, to go into social care. The right hon. Gentleman talks about understanding. What the Labour party fails to understand—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
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Order. There is far too much noise. Mr Pound, calm yourself—you are supposed to be a senior statesman—and Mr Rotheram, you should reserve your shouting for the stands at Anfield.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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As I say, all councils have the opportunity to raise the 3% precept, to put that funding into the provision of social care. What the Labour party fails to understand is that this is not just a question of looking at money; it is a question of looking at spreading best practice and finding a sustainable solution. I have to say to the right hon. Gentleman that if we look at social care provision across the entire country, we will see that the last thing that social care providers need is another one of Labour’s bouncing cheques.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I have made clear to the right hon. Gentleman what has been made available to every council, which is the ability to raise the precept. I have to say to him—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
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Order. As colleagues know, I never mind how long Prime Minister’s questions take. The questions and the answers must be heard.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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The right hon. Gentleman comes to the Dispatch Box making all sorts of claims. Yet again, what we get from Labour is alternative facts; what it really needs is an alternative leader.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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The deal that is on offer to all councils is the one that I have already set out. Let me be very clear with the right hon. Gentleman. As ever, he stands up and consistently asks for more spending, more money, more funding. What he always fails to recognise is that you can spend money on social care and the national health service only if you have a strong economy to deliver the wealth that you need. There is a fundamental difference between us. When I talk—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. I am sorry, but there is still too much noise in the Chamber. People observing our proceedings, both here and outside, want the questions heard and the answers heard, and they will be.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

There is a difference between us. When I talk about half a trillion pounds, it is about the money we will be spending on the NHS this Parliament. When Labour Members talk about half a trillion pounds, it is about the money they want to borrow: Conservatives investing in the NHS; Labour bankrupting Britain.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I find that a rather curious question from the hon. Gentleman. As it happens, last night I was out of the House between the two votes. I switched on the BBC parliamentary channel and I saw the hon. Gentleman speaking. I turned over to something else. I switched back to the parliamentary channel and he was still speaking. I switched over to something else. I switched back and he was still speaking. He is the last person to complain about filibustering in this House. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
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Order. Mr Docherty-Hughes, you seem to be in a state of permanent over-excitement. Calm yourself, man. Take some sort of medicament and it will soothe you. We must hear Mrs Villiers.

Points of Order

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 6th February 2017

(4 years ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister (Mrs Theresa May)
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Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. I did not in any way intend to be disorderly in this House, and if the hon. Lady is concerned about the reference that I made to her, of course I will apologise for that. I have to say to her, though, that for the last 36 years I have been referred to by my husband’s name. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. No sedentary shrieking from the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) is required. I have the matter in hand. Two points, very simply: first of all, I thank the Prime Minister for what she has just said. Secondly, in so far as there is any uncertainty on this matter, let me dispel that uncertainty. I do so from my own knowledge and on the professional advice of the Clerk. We refer in this Chamber to Members by their constituencies or, if they have a title—for example, shadow Minister—by their title. To refer to them by another name is not the right thing to do. But the Prime Minister has said what she has said, and I thank her for that. We will leave this matter there.

Informal European Council

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 6th February 2017

(4 years ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I can reassure the hon. Gentleman that the Government are indeed putting into practice our commitment to give support to child refugees who have already made it across into Europe and to bring them to the UK. Many child refugees have already been brought to the UK under that scheme.

Mr Speaker
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Ah yes, the good doctor! I call Dr Julian Lewis.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I have been very clear: we are having a number of engagements with the various devolved Administrations, taking their issues into account. We are currently, as we agreed at the last Joint Ministerial Committee plenary session, intensifying the discussions with the Scottish Government on the issues raised in the Scottish White Paper. The decision to trigger article 50 is one that this House has been very clear should be taken. This House voted overwhelmingly on Second Reading that that should be the step we take, and we will be doing so on behalf of the UK.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

I call Sir Desmond Swayne. [Interruption.] He is a very good-natured fellow but he was chuntering at me at precisely the wrong moment. We will forgive him. I thought he was standing—

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The four member states who do it are the United Kingdom, Greece, Poland and Estonia. I am pleased to say that some of the rest are making every effort to do it as well, and are progressing well towards the 2% target.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. I remember as a Back Bencher in Department of Trade and Industry questions that the hon. Member for Ilford South (Mike Gapes) had No. 1, and I rather irreverently called out, “Get in there, Gapes.” Now is his opportunity. I call Mr Mike Gapes.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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We want to be able to provide reassurance to people who are EU citizens living here in the UK, and to provide that reassurance also to EU citizens living elsewhere in Europe. I remind the hon. Lady that during the Scottish independence referendum the First Minister told EU nationals that they would lose the right to stay here if the—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. All this finger-wagging at the Prime Minister is rather unseemly. It does not constitute statesmanship of the highest order. The question has been asked, the Prime Minister is going to answer, and that answer must be heard with courtesy.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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The First Minister said that they would lose the right to stay here if the EU did not allow an independent Scotland to rejoin, and of course the EU made it very clear that Scotland could not consider that it was going to get automatic membership of the European Union.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 1st February 2017

(4 years ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

First, the right hon. Gentleman is right that following the meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee plenary on Monday morning, we agreed to intensify discussion on issues related to the bringing back of powers from Brussels and where those powers should lie within the UK—to intensify that in the run-up to the triggering of article 50 and beyond the triggering of article 50.

On the other question, the right hon. Gentleman really should listen to the answers that are given, because he is trying to imply something that is not there. [Hon. Members: “Oh!”] Yes. We are very clear that we want to see a frictionless border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, but I am also clear that one of the objectives of our negotiation is to see as frictionless a border as possible between the UK and the rest of the European Union. Of course, if he is so worried about having a frictionless border between Scotland and countries in the EU, he should not want to take Scotland out of the EU by wanting to see it independent. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. We should not have to allow for the reaction from the SNP Benches to every answer before we proceed to the next question.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
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Order. I have issued no response and the hon. Gentleman not only should not breach parliamentary protocol but should not tempt me.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I will tell you what standing up for British values is. I and this Government introduced the first Modern Slavery Act in this country. I have ensured that stop and search has reduced, because I do not believe that anyone on the streets of this country should be stopped and searched because of the colour of their skin, and I ensured justice for the families of Hillsborough.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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Throughout my political career I have fought Liberal Democrats, and nothing that they do ever surprises me, but I join my hon. Friend in commending the Bill before the House. This House has a very simple decision to take. We gave the right of judgment on this matter to the British people, and they made their choice: they want to leave the EU. The question every Member must ask themselves as they go through the Lobby tonight is: do they trust the people?

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Well, the right hon. Gentleman is here now, so let us hear the fellow—Tim Farron.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I have already said that there will be a vote on the deal in this Parliament. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Mr Shelbrooke, calm yourself. You are in a state of excessive excitement, even by your standards.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 25th January 2017

(4 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

The hon. Gentleman seems to know a lot about these ducal matters; it is most interesting. I am fascinated by the reply, so let’s hear it.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

The hon. Gentleman is right that one of the tasks we will have when we leave the European Union is to decide what support is provided to agriculture as a result of our being outside the common agricultural policy. I assure him that we are taking the interests of all parts of the United Kingdom into account when we look at that system and what it should be in future.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 18th January 2017

(4 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

The hon. Lady might recognise that the great repeal Bill will deal with a number of complex issues. At its heart will be the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972. As we look at the Bill and at negotiating our way out of the European Union, we will need to look at the whole issue of reserved matters and devolved matters, but there are many aspects—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. Members of the Scottish National party, led by the right hon. Member for Moray (Angus Robertson) on the Front Bench, who is supposed to be a statesmanlike figure, should demonstrate some calm and reserve while they are being answered by the Prime Minister.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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The hon. Lady knows full well that if any part of proposed legislation brought before this House applies only to England, it will be subject to English votes for English laws.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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Just looking at the figures on what has happened in health in the hon. Gentleman’s area, I see that there are more doctors in his NHS foundation trust and significantly more nurses, but the—[Interruption.] I know what the hon. Gentleman is talking about and I am about to comment on it, but the hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Angela Rayner), who is shouting from a sedentary position, might have recognised that he started off talking about the NHS, which is what I am also commenting on. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. I am not going to allow an exchange across the Dispatch Box or across the House at this point. The Prime Minister was asked a question [Interruption.] Order. I require no help from the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr Mahmood), which is of zilch value. The Prime Minister will answer, and she will be heard with courtesy, including by the hon. Gentleman.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

The hon. Member for Blackpool South (Gordon Marsden) asked me about pressures on the national health service. We are seeing more doctors and nurses in his Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and health funding in the hon. Gentleman’s area will be £3 billion this year, and that will be rising with a further £450 million by 2020-21.

As I have said in this House before, we are putting extra money into social care. We are giving local authorities the opportunity to raise more money and spend it on social care. But this is not just about more money; it is about ensuring best practice is spread throughout the country and it is about a long-term solution to sustainable social care for the future, an issue that has been ducked by Governments, including a Labour Government for 13 years.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 11th January 2017

(4 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

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Department for International Development
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I certainly agree with my hon. Friend that new nuclear does have a crucial role to play in securing our future energy needs, especially as we are looking to move to a low-carbon society. The industrial strategy that the Government will be setting out will have a strong emphasis on the role of regions in supporting economic growth and ensuring that the economy works for everyone. Like him, I very much welcome the proposals from NuGen and Toshiba to develop a new nuclear power station at Moorside in Cumbria. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy continues to work closely with NuGen and other developers as they bring their proposals forward.

Mr Speaker
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I call Jeremy Corbyn.

Hon. Members: “Hear, hear!”

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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What the hon. Lady is referring to, of course, is the plans that are being put forward at local level to consider—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
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Order. There is far too much noise. I must say to the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Paula Sherriff) that if she were behaving like this in another public place she would probably be subject to an antisocial behaviour order.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I return to the point, Mr Speaker. Decisions about services in the local area are rightly taken by the local national health service, because we believe that it is local clinicians, and also local patients and leaders, who know what is best for their areas. So it is about trying to tailor the services to provide the best possible services for the needs of local people, modernising the care and facilities and making services appropriate to the local area. This trust has an extensive improvement plan to ensure that both hospitals within it can care for patients attending accident and emergency in as timely a way as possible.

European Council 2016

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 19th December 2016

(4 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister (Mrs Theresa May)
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With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on last week’s European Council.

Both the UK and the rest of the EU are preparing for the negotiations that will begin when we trigger article 50 before the end of March next year, but the main focus of this Council was, rightly, on how we can work together to address some of the most pressing challenges that we face. These include responding to the migration crisis, strengthening Europe’s security and helping to alleviate the suffering in Syria. As I have said, for as long as the UK is a member of the EU we will continue to play our full part, and that is what this Council showed, with the UK making a significant contribution on each of those issues.

On migration, from the outset the UK has pushed for a comprehensive approach that focuses on the root causes of migration as the best way to reduce the number of people coming to Europe. I have called for more action in source and transit countries to disrupt the smuggling networks, to improve local capacity to control borders, and to support sustainable livelihoods, both for people living there and for refugees. I have also said that we must better distinguish between economic migrants and refugees, swiftly returning those who have no right to remain and thereby sending out a deterrence message to others thinking of embarking on perilous journeys.

The Council agreed to action in all these areas, and the UK remains fully committed to playing our part. We have already provided training to the Libyan coastguard. The Royal Navy is providing practical support in the Mediterranean and Aegean. We will also deploy 40 additional specialist staff to the Greek islands to accelerate the processing of claims, particularly from Iraqi, Afghan and Eritrean nationals, and to help to return those who have no right to stay. Ultimately, we need a long-term, sustainable approach, for that is the best way to retain the consent of our people to provide support and sanctuary to those most in need.

I turn to security and defence. Whether it is deterring Russian aggression, countering terrorism or fighting organised crime, the UK remains firmly committed to the security of our European neighbours. That is true now, and it will remain true once we have left the EU. At this Council we welcomed the commitment from all member states to take greater responsibility for their security, to invest more resources and to develop more capabilities. That is the right approach, and, as the Council made clear, it should be done in a way that complements rather than duplicates NATO.

A stronger EU and a stronger NATO can be mutually reinforcing, and that should be our aim. We must never lose sight of the fact that NATO will always be the bedrock of our collective defence in Europe, and we must never allow anything to undermine it. We also agreed at the Council to renew tier 3 economic sanctions on Russia for another six months, maintaining the pressure on Russia to implement the Minsk agreements in full.

I turn to the appalling situation in Syria. We have all seen the devastating pictures on our TV screens and heard heartbreaking stories of families struggling to get to safety. At this Council we heard directly from the mayor of eastern Aleppo, a brave and courageous man who has already witnessed his city brought to rubble, his neighbours murdered and children’s lives destroyed. He had one simple plea for us: to get those who have survived through years of conflict, torture and fear to safety. Together with our European partners, we must do all we can to help.

The Council was unequivocal in its condemnation of President Assad and his backers, Russia and Iran, who must bear the responsibility for the tragedy in Aleppo. They must now allow the UN to safely evacuate the innocent people of Aleppo—Syrians whom President Assad claims to represent. We have seen some progress in recent days, but a few busloads is not enough when there are thousands more who must be rescued, and we cannot have those buses being attacked as they have been.

On Thursday afternoon my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary summoned the Russian and Iranian Ambassadors to make it clear that we expect them to help. Over the weekend, the UK has been working with our international partners to secure agreement on a UN Security Council resolution that would send in UN officials to monitor the evacuation of civilians and provide unfettered humanitarian access. That has been agreed unanimously this afternoon, and we now need it to be implemented in full. President Assad may be congratulating his regime forces on their actions in Aleppo, but we are in no doubt. This is no victory; it is a tragedy, and one we will not forget. Last week’s Council reiterated that those responsible must be held to account.

Alongside our diplomatic efforts, the UK is going to provide a further £20 million of practical support for those who are most vulnerable. That includes £10 million for trusted humanitarian partners working on the front line in some of the hardest-to-reach places in Syria to help them to deliver food parcels and medical supplies to those most in need, and an additional £10 million to UNICEF to help it to provide life-saving aid supplies for Syrian refugees now massing at the Jordanian border. As the mayor of Aleppo has said, it is, sadly, too late to save all those who have been lost, but it is not too late to save those who remain. That is what we must now do.

I turn to Brexit. I updated the Council on the UK’s plans for leaving the European Union. I explained that two weeks ago this House voted by a considerable majority—almost six to one—to support the Government by delivering the referendum result and invoking article 50 before the end of March. The UK’s Supreme Court is expected to rule next month on whether the Government require parliamentary legislation in order to do this. I am clear that the Government will respect the verdict of our independent judiciary, but I am equally clear that whichever way the judgment goes, we will meet the timetable I have set out.

At the Council, I also reaffirmed my commitment to a smooth and orderly exit. In this spirit, I made it clear to the other EU leaders that it remains my objective that we give reassurance early on in the negotiations to EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in EU countries that their right to stay where they have made their homes will be protected by our withdrawal. This is an issue that I would like to agree quickly, but that clearly requires the agreement of the rest of the EU.

Finally, I welcomed the subsequent short discussion between the 27 other leaders on their own plans for the UK’s withdrawal. It is right that the other leaders prepare for the negotiations, just as we are making our own preparations. That is in everyone’s best interests.

My aim is to cement the UK as a close partner of the EU once we have left. As I have said before, I want the deal we negotiate to reflect the kind of mature, co-operative relationship that close friends and allies enjoy: a deal that will give our companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate in the European market and allow European businesses to do the same here, and a deal that will deliver the deepest possible co-operation to ensure our national security and the security of our allies, but a deal that will mean that when it comes to decisions about our national interest, such as how we control immigration, we can make these decisions for ourselves, and a deal that will mean our laws are once again made in Britain, not in Brussels. With a calm and measured approach, this Government will honour the will of the British people and secure the right deal that will make a success of Brexit for the UK, for the EU and for the world. I commend this statement to the House.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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The Council was updated by Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande, who have obviously been leading in relation to discussions on the Minsk agreement. Everyone is concerned about the fact that the agreement still has not been put in place. I believe that we needed to roll over the sanctions in order to show our continuing rigour, and our continuing expectation that Russia will abide by the requirements.

Mr Speaker
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Ah, yes, the good doctor. Dr Julian Lewis.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I assure the hon. Gentleman that our focus is on ensuring that the UK’s voice is heard when we put forward our opinion on matters such as the sanctions against Russia and the importance of maintaining those sanctions until the Minsk agreement is implemented.

Mr Speaker
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In the pursuit of a soothing, emollient and understated voice, I call Philip Davies.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
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Order. The Prime Minister could always introduce an addendum to her last answer, which would doubtless bring great happiness into the life of the hon. Member for Rhondda.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I must apologise to the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant); I was thinking of the Magnitsky law, which he frequently raises in connection with Russia. I apologise for that.

My hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Bob Stewart), of course, has personal experience of providing support in circumstances where we need to provide humanitarian aid and support to people. The matter will be taken up by the United Nations, of course; the role that the United Kingdom can play will be a matter for consideration and discussion under the UN’s auspices.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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We recognise the importance of the talks that are taking place. The UK’s position is very simple. As a guarantor, we stand ready to do what is necessary to play our part, but it is important that that is primarily led by the two leaders, who have pushed these discussions in Cyprus under the auspices of the United Nations. We do therefore stand ready to attend the talks on 12 January. The European Union, which currently has observer status in these matters, has also indicated its readiness to be present. We are all saying that we will be present if that is going to aid coming to a settlement. We must focus not on whether we want to be there but on the result that we are going to get. The aim must be to see a settlement and reunification.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Ah yes—a notable legal egghead: Mr Robert Neill.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 14th December 2016

(4 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker
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Order. There is far too much noise in the Chamber. We have heard the question, but I want to hear the Prime Minister’s answer.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I join the hon. Gentleman in wishing everybody a happy Christmas. I will of course have an opportunity to do that again on Monday, when I am sure the House will be as full for the statement on the European Council meeting. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”] Funny, that seemed to come from this side of the House but not from the Labour side. I have to say that the Foreign Secretary is doing an absolutely excellent job. He is, in short, an FFS—a fine Foreign Secretary.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to raise this issue. I am sure that everybody in this House would wish to send a very clear message: download this single for the Jo Cox Foundation. It is a very important cause. We all recognise that Jo Cox was a fine Member of this House and would have carried on contributing significantly to this House and to this country, had she not been brutally murdered. It is right that the Chancellor has waived VAT on the single. Everybody involved in it gave their services for free, and I am having a photograph with MP4 later this afternoon. Once again, let us encourage everybody to download the single.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

For the benefit of those observing our proceedings from outside, I should state that the Prime Minister was, of course, referring to the outstanding parliamentary rock band MP4.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 30th November 2016

(4 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Wales Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I am interested in the results of the Legatum Institute commission’s report on this issue. I believe absolutely that free trade is the right way to go—it is through free trade that we increase growth and prosperity—which is why I have said I want this country to be a global leader in free trade and why we will not just look to forge new trade deals with other countries as we leave the EU but see how we can improve trade with other countries before we leave it, so that we will continue to strengthen our economy. I am sure that the Secretary of State for International Trade will be happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss the results of the commission’s report.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

I warmly welcome the hon. Member for Blyth Valley (Mr Campbell) back to his place.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 23rd November 2016

(4 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

Billions of pounds extra into social care through the social care precept and the better care fund; half a trillion pounds being spent on the national health service; a record level of investment in mental health in the national health service—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. Members must not shout down or attempt to shout down the Prime Minister. The question has been asked and was heard, and the answer must be heard.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

There is a fundamental point that the right hon. Gentleman refrains from mentioning: we can afford to pay for the national health service and for social care only if we have a strong economy creating wealth, and that is precisely what he is going to hear from the Chancellor of the Exchequer in a few minutes’ time.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 16th November 2016

(4 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Department for International Development
Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. It is always interesting to hear the thoughts of the right hon. Member for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart) but they should not be articulated from a sedentary position and will have to wait for another occasion.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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Before I answer my hon. Friend’s question, may I wish his wife all the very best in the treatment she is going through at the moment? The thoughts of the House are with her.

My hon. Friend is right. We have a manifesto commitment to increase the personal allowance. By increasing it from £6,475 in 2010-11 to £11,000 in 2016-17 and £11,500 next year, we have cut income tax for more than 30 million people and have taken 4 million people out of paying income tax altogether. That is important. It has helped people at the lower end of the income scale.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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The right hon. Gentleman does not actually seem to understand that the customs union is not just a binary decision, but let us set that to one side. Let us look at what we need to do: get the best possible deal for access to, trading with and operating within the single European market. He stands up time and again in Prime Minister’s questions and says to me that he wants access to the single European market. I might remind him that it was only a couple of years ago that he wanted to take Scotland out of the single European market by making it independent. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
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Order. [Interruption.] Order. Mr Docherty-Hughes, you are in a very emotional condition. I normally regard you as a cerebral denizen of the House. Try to recover your composure, man!

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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And on 23 June, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, and that is what the Government will deliver. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. Members should not seek to shout down the Prime Minister. The question was asked, and the answer has been provided.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 2nd November 2016

(4 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker
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West country cheese! I think we are clear.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

My hon. Friend’s invitation to some west country cheese and cider is difficult to refuse, so I look forward at some stage to coming down to Somerset and being able to sample those products. He is absolutely right, as others in this Chamber have been, about the importance of our agricultural sector to economies across the UK. Particular parts of the UK rely heavily on the agricultural sector, and we will be taking their needs and considerations into account as we negotiate and deliver the best possible deal for this country in leaving the EU.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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May I take this opportunity, which is my first, to welcome my hon. Friend to this Chamber? I congratulate him on his excellent result in the by-election.

My hon. Friend’s question brings back many happy memories for me, because when I was a child Chipping Norton was our local town. I used to go there and spend my pocket money assiduously in the shops, so I have done my bit for his high street in Chipping Norton. We are very clear, as a Government, that the action we have taken on issues such as business rates is there to help to support small businesses.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

We are always grateful for a bit of extra information, and we have now had it.

European Council

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 24th October 2016

(4 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister (Mrs Theresa May)
- Hansard -

With permission, Mr Speaker, I will make a statement on my first European Council.

I went to the Council last week with a clear message for my 27 European counterparts. The UK is leaving the EU, but we are not leaving Europe, and we are not turning our backs on our friends and allies. For as long as we are members of the EU, we will continue to play a full and active role. After we leave, we will be a confident, outward-looking country, enthusiastic about trading freely with our European neighbours and co-operating on our shared security interests, including on law enforcement and counter-terrorism work. That is the right approach for Britain to take. It was in that spirit that we were able to make a significant contribution at this Council on ensuring a robust European stance in the face of Russian aggression, on addressing the root causes of mass migration, and on championing free trade around the world. Let me say a word about each.

Russia’s indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Aleppo and the atrocities that we have seen elsewhere in Syria are utterly horrific. It is vital that we keep up the pressure on Russia and the Syrian regime to stop the appalling actions and to create the space for a genuine political transition in Syria. It was the UK that put this issue on the agenda for the Council. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made the case for a robust response at the Foreign Affairs Council last Monday, and I spoke personally to Chancellor Merkel and President Tusk ahead of the Council last week. The Council strongly condemned the attacks, called for an immediate cessation of hostilities, and demanded that those responsible for breaches of international humanitarian law and human rights be held accountable—but we need to go further, which is why we agreed that, if current atrocities continue, the EU will consider “all available options”. We also agreed that everything should be done to bring in humanitarian aid to the civilian population.

On Friday in Geneva, the UK secured an extraordinary session of the UN Human Rights Council to press for a ceasefire to enable humanitarian access to Aleppo. There are millions of innocent civilians trapped there and in other besieged locations across Syria in desperate need of food, shelter and healthcare. The UK is already the second largest bilateral humanitarian donor to this crisis. If we can secure the access needed to Aleppo and other besieged areas, we stand ready to accelerate over £23 million of aid for the UN to distribute on the ground to help the most vulnerable in the hardest-to-reach parts of Syria.

Turning to the migration crisis, the Home Secretary will be giving a statement on Calais shortly. At the European Council, I confirmed that the UK will continue to provide practical support to our European partners, including through our naval presence in the Aegean and the Mediterranean. As part of that effort, HMS Echo will take over from HMS Enterprise in the central Mediterranean early next year. However, I also reiterated the case that I made last month at the United Nations for a new global approach to migration based on three fundamental principles: first, ensuring that refugees claim asylum in the first safe country they reach; secondly, improving the way we distinguish between refugees and economic migrants; and thirdly, developing a better overall approach to managing economic migration, which recognises that all countries have the right to control their borders and that all countries must commit to accepting the return of their own nationals when they have no right to remain elsewhere. This new approach includes working more closely with both source and transit countries, and the Council agreed to do more to help those countries prevent illegal migration and to return migrants who have no right to stay in EU countries.

On trade, I am determined that as we leave the EU, Britain will be the most passionate, the most consistent and the most convincing advocate of free trade anywhere in the world, so as we look beyond our continent, we will seize the opportunities of Brexit to forge an ambitious and optimistic new role for Britain in the world. As part of this, I have been clear that the UK is already discussing our future trading relationships with third countries. As I made clear to the other member states last week, this will not undermine the EU’s trade agenda. In fact, it is not even in competition with it, and for as long as we remain a member of the EU, we will continue to back the EU’s free trade negotiations.

I share everyone's disappointment over the stalled talks between the EU and Canada, and we will, of course, do anything we can to try to help get those discussions back on track. I remind those who suggest that these difficulties have a bearing on our own future negotiations that we are not seeking to replicate any existing model that any other country has for its trade with the European Union. We will be developing our own British model—a new relationship for the UK with the EU—for when we are outside the EU, a deal that is ambitious and bold for Britain.

I updated the European Council on our position on Brexit. I have said that we will invoke article 50 no later than the end of March next year, and that as part of the withdrawal process, we will put before Parliament a great repeal Bill which will remove from the statute book once and for all the European Communities Act. The legislation that gives direct effect to all EU law in Britain will no longer apply from the date upon which we formally leave the European Union, and the authority of EU law in Britain will end.

The Government will give Parliament the opportunity to discuss our approach to leaving the European Union. In addition to regular updates from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, my own statements following Council meetings, and the deliberations of the new Committee on Exiting the European Union, the Government will make time available for a series of general debates on the UK’s future relationship with the EU. These will take place before and after the Christmas recess, and I expect will include debate on the high-level principles that the Government will pursue in the negotiations.

Members on all sides will recognise that the Government must not show their hand in detail as we enter these negotiations, but it is important that Members have this opportunity to speak on the issues that matter to their constituents as we make our preparations to leave the EU. Although we have not yet formally started the Brexit negotiations, I made it clear at last week’s European Council that my aim is to cement Britain as a close partner of the EU once we have left. I want the deal we negotiate to reflect the kind of mature, co-operative relationship that close friends and allies enjoy; a deal that will give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with, and operate within, the European market, and allow European businesses to do the same here; a deal that will deliver the deepest possible co-operation to ensure our national security and the security of our allies; a deal that is in Britain’s interests and the interests of all our European partners. But it will also be a deal that means we are a fully independent, sovereign nation, able to do what sovereign nations do, which means we will, for example, be free to decide for ourselves how we control immigration. It will mean our laws are made not in Brussels but here in this Parliament, and that the judges interpreting those laws will sit not in Luxembourg but in courts right here in Britain.

The negotiations will take time. There will be difficult moments ahead, and as I have said before, it will require patience and some give and take. But I firmly believe that if we approach this in a constructive spirit, we can ensure a smooth departure. We can build a powerful new relationship that works both for the UK and for the countries of the EU, and we can secure the deal that is right for the British people, whose instruction it is our duty to deliver. I commend this statement to the House.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

This is an issue the hon. Gentleman has campaigned long and hard on. He has asked this question of David Cameron in the past when he was Prime Minister and he has asked it of me as Home Secretary, and I am sure he has asked it of previous Foreign Secretaries. We have our own rules and regulations in terms of how we determine who is able to enter the UK. The hon. Gentleman talks about the old position; it was the position of the UK Government and it remains the position of the UK Government.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

There is much to be said for a bit of repetition, which is not a novel phenomenon in the House of Commons.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 19th October 2016

(4 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Wales Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I am very happy to wish my hon. Friend a very happy birthday today: many happy returns! I hope that Mrs Bone is going to treat the occasion in an appropriate manner. [Laughter.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. I want to hear what is coming next.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

Calm down, Mr Speaker.

On the serious issue about prisons, I welcome the fact that my hon. Friend applauds the policy we are following of closing out-of-date prisons and building new ones. I hear the lobbying he has made for Wellingborough, and I can assure him that Wellingborough is one of the sites that is being considered. The Secretary of State will look at the issue very carefully and make an announcement in due course.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I recognise that the hon. Lady has taken a particular interest in this issue. I am sure that she will recognise, as I hope other Members do, why it was that I set up the inquiry. For too long, people who had been subjected to child—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

For too long, the voices of people who had been subjected to child sexual abuse went unheard and they felt that they were not getting justice. That is why it is very important that the inquiry is able to continue and to find that justice for them.

I have to say to the hon. Lady that one of the important aspects of this is that, over the years, too many people have had concerns that those in positions of power have intervened to stop them getting justice. There were stories around about the inquiry and about individuals related to the inquiry, but the Home Secretary cannot intervene on the basis of suspicion, rumour or hearsay.

The hon. Lady refers to the statement that was made in this House yesterday about information being discussed with a director general at the Home Office. She will also have noted that it was asked that that conversation would be confidential, and it was, as far as I am aware, treated as such. It is important for us to recognise that when the Home Office was officially informed of issues, it acted. It is now for the inquiry to get on and deliver for victims and survivors.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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As a former Secretary of State for Wales, my right hon. Friend is well aware of the impact of the Aberfan disaster on south Wales and those local communities. As I said in my opening remarks, the events were absolutely tragic and the thoughts of the whole House are with those affected by them. I can give the commitment that she is asking for to Wales and to working with the Welsh Government. I am clear that this Government will deliver a country that works for everyone, and that means every part of the United Kingdom. Of course, the Wales Bill will put in place a historic transfer of powers to the Welsh Assembly. It will allow the Welsh Government to focus on the job of transforming the Welsh economy and, of course, we are talking to the Welsh Government about how we go forward with negotiations for leaving the EU.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. Progress today has been very slow, so I appeal to colleagues to speed up. I call Stephen Pound.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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I assure my right hon. Friend that no decision has been taken on the site of airport expansion in the south-east. As she will know from her previous background, the Davies commission said that airport capacity in the south-east should be expanded and the Government accepted that argument. The Davies commission identified three sites, all of which it said would be credible and deliverable, and the Government will take a decision this month.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

It is fitting that we finish with a question from Mr Gerald Jones.

Prime Minister

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 14th September 2016

(4 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

The right hon. Gentleman has got some of his facts wrong—plain and simple. We have more teachers in our schools today than in 2010. We have more teachers joining the profession than leaving it. We have fewer pupils in supersize classes than there have been previously. I simply say this to him: he has opposed every measure that we have introduced to improve the quality of education in this country. He has opposed measures that increase parental choice, measures that increase the freedom of head teachers to run their schools, and the opportunity for people to set up free schools. Those are all changes that are leading to improvements in our education system, and we will build on them with our new policies.

I recognise that this may very well be the last time that the right hon. Gentleman has an opportunity to face me across the Dispatch Box—certainly if his MPs have anything to do with it. I accept that he and I do not agree on everything—well, we probably do not agree on anything—but I must say that he has made his mark. Let us think of some of the things he has introduced. He wants coal mines without mining them, submarines without sailing them, and he wants to be Labour leader without leading them. One thing we know is that whoever is Labour leader after the leadership election, it will be the country that loses.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. May I just point out to the House that progress today at this Question Time session has been absurdly slow? I ask the House on behalf of our constituents to show some respect for those colleagues who want to question the Prime Minister, and I am determined to get down the list. I call Craig Williams.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I join the right hon. Gentleman in recognising once again the work of the individual police constable—[Interruption.] I apologise—the three police constables who apprehended the suspect while being under attack. As I said earlier, our police officers bravely go where others would not go in order to protect the public. They do so much in the line of duty and, for some, when they are off duty as well. They are prepared to go and face danger in order to protect us.

On the issue of resources, I remind the right hon. Gentleman that we have protected police budgets over the period of the comprehensive spending review settlement, in the face of a proposal from his Front Benchers that we should cut them by 5% to 10%.

G20 Summit

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 7th September 2016

(4 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

That is an extremely important matter, but it is not obvious to me how it appertains to the G20.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

I will try to limit my response to the key issues in my statement that the right hon. Gentleman picked up. First, on the issue of immigration, he says that a points-based system has been rejected. What the people of the United Kingdom voted for on 23 June, as part of the vote to leave the European Union, was to have control over people who move from the European Union into the United Kingdom. A points- based system does not give us that control. A points-based system means that anybody who meets a certain set of criteria is automatically allowed to enter the country. It does not give the Government the opportunity to control and make the decisions about who can enter the country. It is that issue of control that we will be looking for as we decide the relationship that we will have with the European Union in future.

The right hon. Gentleman said a lot about trade deals with other countries, about the EU, about opportunities and so forth. What I saw at the G20, in my discussions with a number of other world leaders, was a great willingness to seize the opportunities that come from the UK leaving the European Union and to do exactly the sort of trade deals that my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Sir William Cash) has just referred to. I think we should, as a United Kingdom, be willing to seize those opportunities. We should be ambitious in the deals that we wish to do around the world. As I have said, we should be the global leader in free trade. We should be taking those opportunities and ensuring that, as we leave the European Union, we are able to have the relationships that will ensure growth and prosperity for the whole of the United Kingdom, including growth and prosperity for Scotland.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

The hon. Gentleman must be the oldest and most long-serving Member in the history of the House of Commons.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Let me reassure the hon. Gentleman that negotiations will look to ensure, as I have said in a number of answers, that we secure growth in jobs and prosperity in the United Kingdom. That applies to the relationship we will have with the European Union post-Brexit and to the trade deals that we will be able to strike around the rest of the world. That is where we are focusing our efforts, and we will continue to do so.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
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Discussions were taking place with the Irish Government, prior to the decision for us to leave the European Union, to consider how we could enhance and improve the current arrangements for the common travel area. Of course, those discussions now continue in the future against the background of the different circumstances.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

I am extremely grateful to the Prime Minister and to all colleagues.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 7th September 2016

(4 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Cabinet Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

The right hon. Gentleman does not seem to quite understand what the vote on 23 June was about. The United Kingdom will leave the European Union and we will build a new relationship with the European Union. That new relationship will include control over the movement of people from the EU into the UK, and it will include the right deal for trade in goods and services. That is how to approach it. I also say to him that, in looking at the negotiations, it would not be right for me or this Government to give a running commentary on them—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. Just as I said that the right hon. Gentleman must be heard, so must the Prime Minister’s answer be heard, and it will be.

Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

And it would not be right to prejudge those negotiations. We will be ensuring that we seize the opportunities for growth and prosperity across the whole of the United Kingdom, including growth and prosperity in Scotland. As we saw from the figures released this summer, what really gives growth and prosperity in Scotland is being a member of the United Kingdom.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 20th July 2016

(4 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Northern Ireland Office
Theresa May Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard -

The vote that took place on 23 June sent a very clear message about immigration. It sent the clear message that people want control of free movement from the European Union, and that is precisely what we will ensure that we get in the negotiations that we will undertake. I also remain absolutely firm in my belief that we need to bring net migration down to sustainable levels, and the Government believe that that means tens of thousands. It will take some time to get there, but now, of course, there is the added aspect of the controls that we can bring in relation to people moving from the European Union.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Finally, I call Mr Tim Farron. [Interruption.]

Football Fan Violence: Euro 2016

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Tuesday 14th June 2016

(4 years, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

My hon. Friend makes an important point. We are working with the French authorities to ensure that they have as much information as possible about the individuals who might be troublemakers. Given our expertise with police spotters, greater numbers of them will be in France for the match on Thursday, so that they can provide exactly that support to the French authorities.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

I see in his place the record-setting, long-serving Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee. I call Mr Keith Vaz.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

I have seen a newspaper report of those remarks, which were utterly irresponsible and not remarks that we would expect to hear from anyone. I would not expect anyone to support the violence that was perpetrated by Russian fans against England fans, or to express any belief that that was in any respect the right way to behave. I think that it was an utterly appalling statement. I have indicated that there are issues to be addressed in the future in relation to football in Russia, given everything that has been seen.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

He sounds a very bigoted fellow indeed.

Orlando Attack: UK Security Measures

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 13th June 2016

(4 years, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

I am happy to raise that matter with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and to ask it to look specifically at that proposal.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

The hon. Gentleman will be reassured to know that the rainbow flag will fly about Portcullis House throughout the appropriate weekend. That was decided some time ago; it is not something that I needed to announce, but it is pertinent to the point he has raised.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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I absolutely commend my right hon. Friend for his remarks. He took an important step many years ago—I remember because I was party chairman at the time. It was a significant step for him, for the Conservative party and for politics in general in the UK. As he says, our thoughts are with the people of Orlando at this time.

Mr Speaker
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If memory serves me, it was in July 2002, so the 14th anniversary thereof will soon be upon us.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

The hon. Gentleman raises an important point, which goes to the heart of the initial comments made by the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth (Stephen Doughty), who said that it is not just about standing up and saying things—it is actually about doing as well. There are many ways in which people can show their solidarity with members of the LGBT community, and I would encourage them to do so.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

I thank the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth (Stephen Doughty), the Home Secretary, the shadow Home Secretary, the spokesperson for the Scottish National party and all colleagues for what they have said over the past 40 minutes or so and for the obviously sincere, eloquent and compelling way in which they have said it. I hope that in the light of the sentiments expressed by colleagues, they will approve when I say that, on their behalf and in all of our names, I intend to write to the Mayor of Orlando. In doing so, I write both to convey our profound shock and absolute sympathy, and to underline the fact of our complete solidarity with the LGBTI community in Orlando, with the LGBTI community across the United States, and indeed with all the people of the United States at this exceptionally difficult and trying time.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 13th June 2016

(4 years, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

My hon. and learned Friend is right to point to the work that has been done so far by the ECPG, which is a joint public and private sector group across various agencies; indeed, the National Crime Agency is one of its sponsors. A report on the insolvency scheme to which she referred is due shortly, and the future of the project is being considered. The outcome of that report will be part of those considerations.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

I gently remind Front Benchers that we must accommodate Back Benchers. I am not having the time eaten up by Front Benchers.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

My hon. Friend is right to mention this very important Bill. The measures in the Bill are essential to enable both law enforcement and our security and intelligence agencies to protect us from not only terrorism but serious and organised crime, paedophiles and others. I assure her that we are putting in place world-leading safeguards and oversight arrangements, which will ensure that the balance between privacy and the need to exercise these powers is properly kept.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

If she can ask her question in one short sentence, I shall call Carol Monaghan.

Removal of Foreign National Offenders and EU Prisoners

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 6th June 2016

(4 years, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

He certainly should not be locked up!

Theresa May Portrait The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May)
- Hansard -

Since 2010, the Government have removed over 30,000 foreign national offenders, including 5,692 in 2015-16—the highest number since records began. The number of removals to other EU countries has more than tripled, from 1,019 in 2010-11 to 3,451 in 2015-16. We aim to deport all foreign national offenders at the earliest opportunity; however, legal or re-documentation barriers can frustrate immediate deportation. Increased rates of detection can also lead to the population of foreign national offenders increasing despite a record number of removals.

Over 6,500 of the FNOs in the UK are still serving a custodial sentence. The Ministry of Justice has been working to remove EU prisoners under the EU prisoner transfer framework decision, which is a compulsory means of prisoner transfer that allows us to send foreign criminals back to their home country to serve their sentence. The record number of FNO deportations we have achieved has been due to changes made by the Government. We have reset the balance between article 8 of the European convention on human rights and the public interest in deportation cases. We have also introduced a “deport first, appeal later” power, which means foreign national offenders may appeal against deportation only from their home country, unless they will face a real risk of serious irreversible harm there. More than 3,500 foreign national offenders have been removed since that came into force in July 2014, and many more are going through the system.

The police now routinely carry out checks for overseas criminal convictions on foreign nationals who are arrested, and refer them for deportation. In 2015, the UK made over 100,000 requests for EU criminal record checks—an increase of 1,100% compared with 2010—and in December, the European Council agreed that conviction data relating to terrorists and serious and organised criminals should be shared systematically. We must never give up trying to improve our ability to deal with FNOs and tackle the barriers to deportation: we have just legislated to GPS-tag FNOs who are subject to a deportation order, and we are legislating to establish an FNO’s nationality as early as possible to avoid delays during deportation proceedings.

Before 2010, there was no plan for deporting foreign national offenders. Their rights were given a greater priority than the rights of the public here, and they were routinely abusing the appeals system to avoid deportation. This Government have put in place a strategy for removing foreign national offenders, which is increasing removals, protecting the public and saving the taxpayer money.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

rose—

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

On prisons, in particular, rather than boats.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

Perhaps a prison ship might deal with the question.

Of course our border controls are important because we want to ensure, where we can, that we are able to identify those whom we do not wish to have in the United Kingdom, to make sure that they do not cross our borders and that, when we identify them in the United Kingdom, we are able to take action to deport them. As I said earlier, as part of the deal that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister negotiated in Brussels, it will be easier for us in future, should we remain in the European Union, to both deport criminals from other EU countries, and ensure that they do not reach the UK in the first place.

Hillsborough

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 27th April 2016

(4 years, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

I think that that is important. It is important when information is spread to the public through the media that the veracity of that information is an issue that must be considered. My hon. Friend asks me what the overall, abiding lesson that we need to take from this is. I think it is about the whole issue that my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve) referred to, which is the culture and the attitude that is taken. It is about public institutions whose job is to work in the public interest, who should be institutions that can be trusted by the public and whose job is often to protect the public not, when something happens, instinctively wanting to protect themselves instead, but always having the view that whatever has happened and whatever the answer, they must actually find the truth for the public.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. I hope the House will forgive me, but at the risk of stating the obvious, if colleagues are concerned about being able to make their own contribution, let me say that I will of course call every colleague. This is a little different from other days, and there is therefore some latitude: Members must say what they want to say. I am sorry if people have other commitments, but if Members stay in the Chamber, they will be heard.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

The hon. Gentleman has referred to the leadership of South Yorkshire police. As I said earlier, people will vote for a police and crime commissioner next week, thus conferring that democratic accountability.

I responded earlier to questions from my hon. Friends about the wording of the statement issued by South Yorkshire police, but let me say again that I think it behoves them to recognise the import of yesterday’s verdicts. I hope that we will not see attempts to suggest that those verdicts were somehow not clear, or were in any way wrong. That jury sat through 296 days of evidence, and they were clear about the role of South Yorkshire police officers.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

I thank the Home Secretary, the shadow Home Secretary, and all colleagues for what they have said, and for the manner in which the exchanges on the statement have been conducted.

Border Force Budget 2016-17

(1st reading: House of Commons)
Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 20th April 2016

(4 years, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

There are service standards for people coming through the border at our airports, and we meet those standards. These proceedings are very interesting because, on the one hand, people are calling for more border security, and, on the other, the hon. Gentleman is saying that he wants to get through the border rather more quickly.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

I can confirm that the hon. Gentleman always looks to be a happy chappie.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 22nd February 2016

(5 years ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Yes, but not too much detail, given the time.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

The measure has two important impacts. First, it makes companies think about whether there is slavery in their supply chains. Secondly, their declarations of the action they have taken—or of the fact that they have taken no action—will be available to consumers, who will be able to make choices about which companies to do business with as a result. We are looking at a number of options for ensuring that that information is publicly available in one place.

Litvinenko Inquiry

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Thursday 21st January 2016

(5 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

We are extremely grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for what has to be described as a comprehensive question.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

First, on the results of the inquiry, what Sir Robert Owen has found in relation to the individuals responsible for the murder of Alexander Litvinenko and, indeed, the responsibility of the Russian state will come as no surprise, as I said in my statement, because successive Governments have made the assessment that there was state involvement in this act. That is why the Government at the time took a number of measures, some of which remain in place today, in relation to our relationship with the Russian state. I assure my right hon. Friend that it is in no sense business as usual and that there is not the sort of relationship that we would have with most states.

As I indicated, action has already been taken against Mr Patrushev in his current role in the form of sanctions. As my right hon. Friend himself indicated in his question, relationships with a Head of State are a different matter. As I indicated earlier, the Prime Minister will raise this matter with President Putin.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 11th January 2016

(5 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May)
- Hansard -

Colleagues across the House will recognise the dedication and commitment of the emergency services in response to the current widespread flooding. It has been a demonstration of public service at its best and a testament to the ability of our police and fire and rescue services to work together to keep the public safe from harm. We believe we must build on this foundation and encourage greater collaboration between local police and fire services—an issue raised in questions previously. On 5 January, the Prime Minister informed the House that responsibility for fire and rescue policy in England had transferred to the Home Office with immediate effect, and I am delighted that the Minister for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice, himself a former firefighter, is the new fire Minister, in addition to his policing, victims and criminal justice responsibilities.

This machinery of government change is a natural progression of the Government’s work on emergency services collaboration. Police and fire services are sharing control rooms and back-office services, and we will shortly publish legislative proposals to enable police and crime commissioners to take on the governance of local fire and rescue services where a local case is made. I am keen to go further still and apply the lessons of police reform in the last Parliament to the fire and rescue service and ensure that policing learns from the tremendous success of fire prevention in recent years.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

That was extremely informative but far too long. We need to be briefer from now on.

Paris Terrorist Attacks

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 16th November 2015

(5 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May)
- Hansard -

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement about the terrorist attacks in Paris, our response and the threat we face from terrorism in the United Kingdom.

The full details of last Friday’s horrific attack in Paris are still emerging, but at least 129 innocent people, including at least one British national, have been killed, with more than 352 injured and 99 of those declared critical. As the names of those brutally murdered become known and we learn more about the appalling events of that night, our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost loved ones, suffered injuries or are affected by these horrific events. These were co-ordinated attacks, designed to inflict the maximum number of casualties on people who were simply enjoying their daily lives—our way of life. Those killed and injured include people from many countries across Europe and other countries around the world.

The international investigation into the attacks is ongoing, but we know that Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has claimed responsibility. This is not the first time ISIL has struck in Europe. We have seen attacks either inspired or directed by the group in France, Belgium and Denmark, as well as attacks in Lebanon, Turkey and Kuwait, and the ongoing devastating violence in Syria and Iraq. And in June, 30 British nationals along with others were killed by a gunman at a tourist resort in Tunisia. It also looks increasingly likely that the Russian Metrojet plane that crashed two weeks ago in Egypt was brought down by a bomb. The scale of this latest attack and the degree of co-ordination and planning leave us with little doubt that the threat is evolving.

In the UK, the threat level, set by the independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, remains at “severe”, meaning that an attack is highly likely and could occur without warning. In the past months, a number of serious plots have been disrupted here in the UK. Over 750 people are thought to have travelled to Syria and Iraq, and approximately half of those have returned.

Our law enforcement and security and intelligence agencies are working constantly day and night to keep the people of this country safe and secure, and the Government are taking all necessary steps to make sure they have the powers, the capabilities and resources they need. As soon as the attacks took place, we took steps to maintain the security of the UK. The police have increased their presence on some streets and at some locations, and they will be intensifying their approach at events in big cities. Officers are working closely with London’s communities and businesses to provide advice and reassurance.

Border Force has intensified checks on people, goods and vehicles entering the UK from the near continent and elsewhere. Additionally, in order to help the French authorities secure their own border, Border Force and the police have been undertaking additional and targeted security checks against passengers and vehicles travelling to France via both maritime and rail ports and a number of airports across the country.

Yesterday I chaired a meeting of Cobra to review the situation and our response. As I said in a statement afterwards, UK police and security services are working extremely closely with their French and Belgian counterparts to identify all those involved and pursue anyone who may have been involved in the preparation of these barbaric attacks. Members will be aware that a number of arrests have been made in Belgium and France in the last 24 hours.

As I informed the House following the events in Paris in January, we have long had detailed plans for dealing with these kind of attacks in the UK. Since the attacks in Mumbai in 2008, we have improved our police firearms response, building the capability of our police and the speed of our military response. The emergency services have also improved their preparedness for dealing specifically with marauding gun attacks. Specialist joint police, ambulance and fire teams are now in place at important locations across England, with equivalents in Scotland and Wales. This summer, the police and the emergency services tested this response as part of a major counter-terrorism exercise. As I have told the House previously, the police can call on appropriate military assistance when required across the country.

Nevertheless, in the light of events in France, it is right that we should review our response to firearms attacks, and we are doing so urgently to ensure that any lessons are learned. The UK has some of the toughest firearms laws in the world. The sort of weaponry used in the attacks in Paris in January, and those that appear to have been used last Friday, are not readily available in the UK. We must therefore focus on tackling firearms entering and moving throughout the EU, and ensuring that we have the right capabilities at the UK border to detect firearms being smuggled in.

This Friday I will attend an extraordinary meeting of the European Justice and Home Affairs Council, where I will press the need for greater information-sharing, passenger name records, and action on firearms. In the United Kingdom we have seen tough legislation work, so we want to see action taken to make a difference to the availability of firearms in Europe, particularly assault rifles.

It is imperative that Europe pulls together to defeat this threat. France is one of our oldest allies, and we work very closely with it on matters of national security and counter-terrorism. Yesterday I spoke to my counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve, the French Minister of the Interior, to offer our deepest condolences to France, and to make it clear that the United Kingdom stands ready to provide any additional support and assistance. I am very grateful to Minister Cazeneuve and to the French for maintaining a police presence at Calais during a very difficult time. I have also spoken to the Belgian Interior Minister, Jan Jambon, to offer our assistance. Today, as the House will know, the Prime Minister is at the G20 in Turkey, where he is discussing the crisis in Syria urgently with other Heads of State. He will make a statement to the House tomorrow.

Since 2010, the Government have undertaken significant work to strengthen our response to the threat that we face from terrorism. In 2014, we passed legislation to ensure that law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies could continue to access the information that they needed. Although that legislation will not expire until the end of 2016, last week we published a draft Investigatory Powers Bill. The Bill will improve the oversight and safeguards of the police and agencies’ use of investigatory powers, while also ensuring that they have the tools that they need to keep us safe. Following any terrorist attack, we always consider the legal powers that we have to keep our country secure, but it is important that this landmark legislation undergoes proper parliamentary scrutiny.

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 includes measures to deal specifically with the problem of foreign fighters, and to prevent radicalisation. It includes a power to seize, temporarily, the passports of people suspected of travelling to engage in terrorism overseas, extends our ability to refuse airlines authority to carry people who pose a risk to the UK, and introduces a statutory Prevent duty for a wide range of public bodies. Through our existing Prevent and intervention programmes, we identify people at risk and work to help them to turn their lives around. Our Channel process, in particular, engages vulnerable people in conversations to prevent them from being drawn further into extremism or violent acts.

The police and the security and intelligence agencies do an incredible job to keep the people of this country safe. Their work often goes unseen and unrecognised, but we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude. We have protected the counter-terrorism policing budget since 2010, and earlier this year, in his Budget speech, my right hon Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed that counter-terrorism spending across Government would be protected over the course of the spending review. Today we have announced that we will go further. Through the strategic defence and security review, we will make new funding available to the security and intelligence agencies to provide for an additional 1,900 officers—an increase of 15%—at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, in order to respond better to the threat that we face from international terrorism, cyber-attacks, and other global risks.

We will also boost aviation security. The Prime Minister has ordered a rapid review of security at a number of airports around the world, and aviation specialists will conduct assessments over the next two months at locations in the middle east and north Africa in particular. That follows additional measures that the UK and the United States have introduced at a number of potentially vulnerable airports over the past year. Those steps will be reviewed to establish whether they go far enough. Tomorrow, at the National Security Council, we will discuss the Government‘s policy on aviation security. and we will present a proposal to more than double Government spending on aviation security over the current Parliament.

The events in Paris have shocked and appalled people around the world. In France, people have queued up to donate blood, lit candles, and laid flowers. In Britain, Australia, America, Mexico, Canada, Brazil and many other countries, iconic landmarks and buildings have been lit in the colours of the French tricolour. People of all faiths have condemned the violence, and British Muslims —indeed, Muslims worldwide—have said very clearly that these events are abhorrent. The attacks have nothing to do with Islam, which is followed peacefully by millions of people throughout the world. The terrorists seek to divide us and destroy our way of life, but theirs is an empty, perverted and murderous ideology. They represent no one, and they will fail. France grieves, but she does not grieve alone. People of all faiths, all nationalities, and all backgrounds around the world are with her, and together we will defeat them.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. Before I call the shadow Home Secretary, the House will wish to know that on behalf of the House of Commons I will be conveying our heartfelt sympathies to my colleague Claude Bartolone, the President of the Assemblée Nationale. Our thoughts today are with our colleagues in Paris.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

I understand that it should be possible, in the not-too-distant future, to debate on the Floor of the House the matters that my hon. Friend raised. Of course, in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, we took in hand a number of powers relating to those who would travel to Syria, or are returning from it. That has increased the powers available to the police, and to security and intelligence agencies.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. Accommodating all interested colleagues will require great brevity, in which exercise we can, as so often, be led by Gisela Stuart.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 16th November 2015

(5 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

As the right hon. Gentleman would expect, and as I have made clear over the past couple of days, following the events that took place in Mumbai in 2008 we enhanced and broadened the capabilities of the police to deal with the sort of marauding firearms attack that we saw there. We are looking at the attacks that took place in Paris on Friday to see whether there are any further lessons that need to be learned. It is absolutely right that we review the preparations that we have in place to see whether any changes are needed in relation to the capabilities of the police, or indeed the training of the police. The right hon. Gentleman and some of his colleagues tend to think simply in terms of questions of money and numbers, but very often it is about training and preparation for the sorts of attacks that might take place.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. As Members know, it is my usual practice to run exchanges on important ministerial statements very fully, and therefore I simply signal to those who have not been able to catch my eye at this time, on account of constraints of time, that if they are here at 3.30 there will be a very full opportunity to explore these matters at that point.

Draft Investigatory Powers Bill

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 4th November 2015

(5 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

On the right hon. Lady’s last point, there is no intention to change the role of the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation. As she will know, we have made some adaptations to that role in respect of what it covers and the reporting requirements, but there is no intention to change that role. Indeed, we are having discussions with David Anderson, ensuring that he has extra support for the role he is required to carry out.

I apologise to my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) and others who have raised this issue. The appointment of the investigatory powers commission will be a prime ministerial one, and the Prime Minister will appoint such members of other judicial commissions as are considered necessary. The Bill will set out the relevant qualifications that judicial commissioners will need to have to undertake their role.

As the right hon. Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) will know, the existing commissioners report annually on the work they undertake. It is a great pity that that part of our process of oversight has never really been seen by the public, precisely because the reports usually show that the agencies are doing a very good job, so do not hit the headlines in the way that different sorts of reports would. We expect the independent investigatory powers commissioner to ensure that recommendations are made and to make public any views on the processes that emerge.

Mr Speaker
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Order. More than three dozen hon. and right hon. Members are still seeking to catch my eye. If I am to have any realistic chance of accommodating them without intruding excessively on subsequent business, brevity is now required.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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It will not be possible for law enforcement agencies to access browsing history; they will just be able to access the first device or social media site that the individual device accessed, for the limited purposes I have set out—IP resolution, to see whether somebody is looking at an illegal website or to find out the communications services accessed. The arrangements for authorisation are those in existence for communications data in telephony, which were looked at by the Joint Committee on the draft Communications Data Bill. It felt that that was the right process to lead to serious and proper consideration of access—albeit not the browsing history—and that the right measures were already being taken in that authorisation process.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. I do not wish to embarrass any individual hon. Member, but may I just gently point out that a Member who was not here at the start of the statement or who has gone in and out of the Chamber during the course of it should not be standing and expecting to be called? We have a very long-established practice that a Member must be present at the start of a statement and remain present throughout the exchanges, and I think on the whole the House will think that is a very proper courtesy.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 12th October 2015

(5 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

We will reform the scheme to ensure that the widows, widowers and civil partners of police officers who have died on duty do not have to choose between solitude and financial security. The Government will lay these regulations in the coming weeks and the change will be backdated until 1 April 2015.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. The Home Secretary has clearly brought great happiness to the right hon. Member for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart), and that will be recorded in the Official Report. We are extremely grateful.

Migration

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 16th September 2015

(5 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May)
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With permission, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a statement updating the House on the UK’s response to the migration situation in Europe and the middle east.

Last week, many right hon. and hon. Members across the House spoke passionately and thoughtfully about the distressing scenes that we have witnessed over the summer—men, women and children taking extraordinary risks as they have travelled to reach Europe, some by rickety vessels over the sea, others by land and by foot. Many are fleeing the brutal conflict in Syria, where war has wrought devastation and destruction on so many innocent lives.

As I told the House last week, the UK can be proud that since the start of that conflict we have been at the forefront of the humanitarian response. We are providing more than £1 billion in aid, making us the second biggest bilateral donor in the world. Our contribution is almost as much as the rest of the European Union put together. Since 2011, we have taken more than 5,000 Syrian refugees and asylum seekers, and last week, the Prime Minister announced that we will resettle 20,000 Syrians in need of protection over the course of this Parliament.

I can tell the House that plans to welcome those refugees are progressing at pace. On Monday the Prime Minister announced the appointment of a new Minister solely responsible for overseeing this work. The Under-Secretary of State for Refugees, my hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Richard Harrington), will be responsible for co-ordinating and delivering this expansion of our resettlement programme across Government, as well as co-ordinating the provision of UK support to Syrians in the region. He will report primarily to me and to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. He will also report to the Secretary of State for International Development on the provision of support and assistance to Syrian refugees in the region. My right hon. Friend the Immigration Minister will continue to be responsible for our asylum system for Syrians and people of all nationalities who need our protection. One of my hon. Friend’s first commitments will be to host a meeting of non-governmental organisations to agree with our partners how best to harness the strong desire expressed by the public, and a range of organisations, to welcome these refugees to the UK. This will take place over the next week.

The response of the British public has been one of overwhelming generosity, and many have been moved to make very kind offers of assistance. In order to harness that tremendous generosity, we have set up a web page on gov.uk to provide advice for those who want to help. In collaboration with Her Majesty’s Government, the Red Cross has set up a helpline for anyone who wants advice on the ways in which they can be of assistance to Syrians in need of protection in the UK.

In addition to appointing the new Minister, I have established a dedicated gold command team within the Home Office to bring together important partners such as the Local Government Association, the Department for International Development, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and NGOs. This team is working closely with local authorities across the UK to ensure that refugees will have the support and care they need locally on arrival.

Last Friday, I chaired a cross-Government meeting that brought together the Secretaries of State for Communities and Local Government, for Work and Pensions, for International Development, for Education, and for the Wales and Scotland Offices, as well as Ministers from five other Government Departments and representatives from the Local Government Association, to drive forward this important work. Together we agreed the plan of action, which includes urgent work to expand the criteria for our existing Syrian vulnerable persons resettlement scheme and to scale up our current processes. We have also had a number of productive discussions with the UNHCR. On Monday in Brussels I spoke to the UNHCR, António Guterres, who welcomed our decision to take more refugees from the region and gave his full support to the Government’s plan.

In welcoming vulnerable refugees to the UK, it is imperative that we have in place the support and help they need and deserve. I know that hon. Members, and the general public, are keen to know more detail on the numbers and when people are expected to arrive, but I must underline that the scale of the expansion needs careful and meticulous planning to ensure we get it right. My hon. Friend the Minister and I will continue to update the House on that point, but I am pleased to tell the House that we are looking forward to welcoming the first wave of new arrivals in the coming days, and we are working at speed to plan for even more in the coming weeks.

This is of course a crisis that affects the whole of the EU. That is why, together with the interior ministers of Germany and France, I called for an extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council to be held on Monday to discuss the immediate situation. At the meeting, Ministers from across Europe agreed on the need for bold and concerted action, and I stressed our desire to work with our European partners. I also made it clear that we do not support all of the Commission’s recent proposals, which include the relocation of 120,000 people already in Europe. As I have said before, the UK believes that this approach risks encouraging even more people to risk their lives making the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean or into Europe.

Instead, we should, as the UK is doing, be resettling people directly from the region, including Syrian refugees from Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, such as those the Prime Minister met on his visit to the region on Monday. This is important for three particular reasons. First, it ensures that we are taking the most vulnerable people, not just those who are sufficiently fit or who have enough money to make the journey to Europe. Secondly, it deters people, of any age or wealth, from attempting the perilous journeys that have already led to so many tragic deaths. Thirdly, it helps to break the business model of the callous criminal gangs preying on human misery in this way.

I made it clear once again at the Council meeting on Monday that the UK will not be participating in a compulsory EU relocation scheme, and our position on this has been acknowledged clearly by the Commission and other member states. The UK will, however, continue to build on the considerable practical assistance we are already providing to the member states experiencing particular pressures, and help them to build functioning asylum systems with the resilience to withstand increased pressures. We have already provided over 1,000 expert working days to countries such as Greece and Italy—more than any other member state. We are also committed to supporting our European partners in ensuring the full and proper management of the EU’s external border.

I set out our strong support for the Commission’s hotspots proposals for screening centres in the parts of Europe most acutely affected at the moment. These centres will identify those in need of international protection and give them quick access to asylum procedures. They must become operational immediately. Those who are not in need of protection will be rapidly returned to their countries of origin, relieving the huge pressure which unfounded claims put on member states’ asylum systems, and ensuring that our protection can be given to those who really need it.

The strain of such claims must be addressed. Claiming asylum must not be viewed as an easy means of settlement in Europe. Now more than ever we need asylum systems that can respond quickly to those genuinely in need, and all available resource must be directed appropriately. I also stressed the importance of long-term work to overcome the issue. We must use every opportunity, including the Valletta summit in November, to continue to deepen our work with our international partners, including those outside the EU, and we must work to smash the criminal gangs that lie behind so much of this disgusting trade in human misery.

The UK is already spearheading the effort, working bilaterally with a number of other European countries as well as with Europol, and I urged other member states on Monday to join us in that important work. We need to ensure that all possible information and intelligence, including from migrant debriefing, is shared across Europe and with Europol.

We also want to see the EU and its international partners take forward more ambitious efforts under initiatives such as the Khartoum and Rabat processes and the proposed multi-purpose centre in Niger. These should include concrete actions aimed at combating the people smugglers and returning illegal economic migrants.

The plight of so many Syrian refugees who have been left homeless and whose lives have been shattered is simply heart wrenching. They have experienced things most of us cannot begin to comprehend. Many have seen their friends and family killed. Others have suffered terrible injury and trauma. Most have lost the prosperity and security they once enjoyed. As the Syrian crisis has grown over the past four years, Her Majesty’s Government have done—and will continue to do—everything we can to help those in immediate need. I hope the whole House will join me in sending a message of welcome to those refugees who will soon be arriving in this country and I commend the statement to the House.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
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Order. Before we proceed—I certainly did not want to interrupt the hon. and learned Lady, who is a most experienced advocate—I just want to say to the House that from now on and in conformity with usual practice, statements should be followed by questions rather than further statements. Of course, I partly have what the hon. and learned Lady said in mind, but not only what she said. It has become quite common in recent times for people to feel that they must follow a statement with another statement. This is not for speeches to the Press Gallery; it is for a series of questions following the statement. I hope that that is helpful. It is genuinely intended to be helpful.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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The hon. and learned Lady invited me to comment on the Schengen borders and the decisions taken by a number of European Union member states who belong to the Schengen border-free zone. I would simply say that such decisions are matters for countries that are members of the Schengen zone. The United Kingdom is not a member of Schengen and will not be a member of Schengen.

The hon. and learned Lady referred to the public’s overwhelming generosity and various issues about how we are helping people. While she welcomed what we are doing, she said that we are not doing enough. I would say to her that the overwhelming generosity of the British people has been exemplified, first, by the fact that we have been willing as a Government to commit to 0.7% of GNP going to our aid budget, and secondly, by the fact that we are the second biggest bilateral donor to people in the region. The figures are striking. There is obviously a difference in terms of the support given and the sort of life and accommodation that people have, but I think these are the figures: with the money that would be spent on one individual coming to the UK, 20 people can be supported in-region. That is why we have always said that we can help more people by supporting them in the region, where, as I said in response to my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Sir William Cash), they are then able to go home when that becomes possible.

Finally, we have had significant interaction with the Scottish Government. I think that the Prime Minister spoke to the First Minister last week about this matter. We have also had interaction with the Welsh Government on it. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Refugees is due to meet the relevant Scottish Minister soon and to speak to the relevant Welsh Minister, and my right hon. Friend the Minister for Immigration spoke to his Scottish and Welsh contacts on this matter last week.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
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It is important, as the hon. Gentleman rightly observes, and he has made his point with some eloquence.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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I am always willing to consider suggestions about possible budgets to deal with these issues, and my hon. Friend is absolutely right about the gangs smuggling in refugees and illegal economic migrants. Of course, the business of some people smugglers is taking money from people and putting them on a boat that they know will probably sink in the Mediterranean, while others are human traffickers who want not just to put somebody on the journey but to ensure they are met when they arrive and are taken into some vile form of slavery. We constantly look at our effort on this, and I am pleased we have now confirmed in his place the independent anti-slavery commissioner, Kevin Hyland, who has been working with countries—in Africa, for example—looking at this terrible trade of human trafficking.

Refugee Crisis in Europe

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Tuesday 8th September 2015

(5 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

I apologise to my right hon. Friend, I mean the right hon. Gentleman—[Interruption.] Yes, that was pre-May. It is only fair to those whose interventions I rejected that I continue to make progress.

The response to the situation has shown the great generosity of the British people. When there are humanitarian crises across the world, we see an enormous outpouring of generosity from the British people. We have seen local councils, companies, churches, community and faith groups and individual people offering their help. As I have said, my right hon. Friend the Communities Secretary and I will be leading the work to ensure that those generous offers can be turned into the practical assistance that the refugees need most.

If we are to deal with the situation, however, we need to overcome this challenge in the long term, and that is about finding an end to the conflict. The only lasting solution to the problem in Syria is a political settlement to the conflict—one that rids Syria of the murderous tyranny offered by Assad as well as the warped ideology and barbarism of the ISIL terrorists seeking to exploit the violence. The Prime Minister was clear yesterday in the House that there was a strong case for the UK’s taking part in airstrikes as part of the international coalition to target ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. I hope that when the right hon. Lady winds up the debate, she will say what her position on that proposal would be if she were leader of the Labour party.

A stable Libya is also crucial to our efforts. A political settlement there will do more than anything else to help us stop people making the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean. We must support the creation of a credible national Government whom we can work with and who can work with us to secure the Libyan coastline and interior, as the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr Mahmood) indicated earlier, and we are working, unilaterally and through the EU, to ensure that our development work helps those source and transit countries from which people are fleeing not persecution but poverty. We need to make it easier for people to improve their livelihoods without making long and dangerous journeys or fuelling the people-trafficking gangs.

The extension of our existing schemes announced by the Prime Minister yesterday builds on the Government’s comprehensive approach to this unprecedented challenge: our largest ever humanitarian aid programme providing help directly in the region; protection for those who need it; stopping people making these dangerous journeys by breaking the link between illegal immigration and settlement in Europe; disrupting the criminal gangs and bolstering source and transit countries; and leading international efforts to end the conflict in Syria, to defeat ISIL and to give the refugees the most lasting help we can—the peace and stability of their normal lives.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

I call the Father of the House, Sir Gerald Kaufman.

Water Cannon

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 15th July 2015

(5 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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I think that I should probably just say thank you and sit down.

Mr Speaker
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I call Mr Nick Herbert when he has finished consulting his mobile phone.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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I am very conscious of the poll that the Mayor of London, my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Boris Johnson), undertook on the views of Londoners. I am also conscious that a number of views were expressed in 2011 by those who sadly found themselves living in parts of London that were affected. I reiterate my earlier point that people often assume that because what happened in 2011 were riots, water cannon would necessarily have been operable in every circumstance. In fact, they would not have been. There is evidence from the chief constables of West Midlands police and Merseyside police, where riots also took place in 2011, that water cannon would not have been the answer because of the nature of the riots taking place.

Mr Speaker
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In talking about Uxbridge, we must not forget South Ruislip.

Border Management (Calais)

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 24th June 2015

(5 years, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. The Home Secretary is giving her answer to the hon. Gentleman. It is not appropriate to try to raise a point of order in the middle of an answer. It is unparliamentary. It is also—dare I say it?—more than a tad discourteous.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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Thank you, Mr Speaker. I was merely saying that I think this country can be proud of the contribution we have made to help to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis.

Anderson Report

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Thursday 11th June 2015

(5 years, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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My hon. Friend raises an important point. This is partly to do with the legislation and partly to do with ensuring that we maintain relationships with the communications service providers, to whom we talk to regularly about these matters. It is also about ensuring that this is the right legislation to give people the confidence that the powers are being used appropriately and where they are necessary and proportionate.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

I am most grateful to the Home Secretary and to colleagues. It has been a huge pleasure, both in the exchanges on the business question and in the exchanges that we have just enjoyed, to accommodate a very large number of new Members. I say in the gentlest terms, as a source of encouragement to new Members, that if they decide that they no longer wish to ask a question because it has already been asked—although that would set a dangerous precedent in the House of Commons—or for any other reason, that is fine, but if they are genuinely interested in being called, then, as old hands will be able to testify, persistence is a very important principle in the operation of the affairs of the House. In short, if you really want to get called—I cannot promise you will, but I think the record shows that I do try to accommodate most people most of the time—keep standing, and the chances are that you will get there in the end. Thank you very much.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 23rd March 2015

(5 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May)
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For too long, thousands of people have been on bail for months or even years, with no independent oversight of the police’s investigation. To put a stop to this, I announced to the House in December that I was consulting on the introduction of statutory time limits for pre-charge bail. That consultation closed on 8 February, and I am grateful to the 300 individuals and organisations that responded. I have today placed in the Library of the House and on the gov.uk website a summary of the consultation responses and the Government’s response.

On the key point of independent review, it is apparent from the consultation that the model where all extensions of bail past 28 days would be done in court would not be viable, as there is unlikely to be sufficient capacity in the magistrates courts. I have therefore decided to adopt the model endorsed by the consultation under which pre-charge bail is initially limited to 28 days. In complex cases, an extension of up to three months could be authorised by a senior police officer, and in exceptional circumstances, the police will have to apply to the courts for an extension beyond three months to be approved by a magistrate. This will introduce judicial oversight of the pre-charge bail process for the first time, increasing accountability and scrutiny in a way that is manageable for the courts.

Mr Speaker
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We are all now very fully informed.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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The changes we made to the Prevent programme are very simple. We did two things when we came into office: we said Prevent should look at non-violent extremism as well as violent extremism, but we also said that the part of the Prevent programme that was about the integration of communities came better under the Department for Communities and Local Government than under the Home Office, because people were looking at this as people effectively spying on them rather than a proper integration of communities. What we are doing now is standing back and recognising that we need to deal with extremism across a broader spectrum, because Prevent has always been cast in terms of counter-terrorism. That is why in my speech today I talked about the broader partnership with Government, other agencies, communities, families and individuals to deal with extremism and give a very clear message to the extremists that they will not divide us.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 5th January 2015

(6 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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rose—

Mr Speaker
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Order. The question relates purely to the likelihood of the next migration target being met, so this is not an occasion for a general dilation on the EU. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman was not hoping for any such thing.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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My hon. Friend was attempting to tempt me, Mr Speaker, but I am grateful for your guidance in this matter. My hon. Friend is absolutely right that the Prime Minister is the only party leader who has set out an intention to deal with free movement in the European Union and to do it in a way that enables us to do what everybody wants and to have the degree of control over our borders that we wish to have.

Criminal Law

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 10th November 2014

(6 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Mr Speaker
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I said in my statement that I intended to offer latitude, so that the matters of which the House wishes to treat may be properly aired. I appreciate the hon. Gentleman’s intentions in seeking clarity from the Chair, but nothing I have heard so far has conflicted with that. I intended—and I intend—pragmatically to handle matters from where we are, which, as I think we all agree, is sub-optimal.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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Our reforms have also clarified the rules on dual criminality to ensure that an arrest warrant must be refused if all or part of the conduct for which a person is wanted took place in the UK and is not a criminal offence in this country. The National Crime Agency is now refusing arrest warrants where it is obvious that the dual criminality test has not been met. It has done so nearly 40 times since our reforms came into force in July. Under the old arrest warrant, people were being detained for long periods overseas before being charged or standing trial. We have changed the law to require that a decision to charge, and a decision to try the person, has been made in the requesting country before they can be extradited.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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rose—

Mr Speaker
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Order. Before I put the Question, I want to hear from the Home Secretary.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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Thank you, Mr Speaker. I understand that your clarification meant that it was now possible for speeches to be made in relation to the question that has now been proposed, which is that the question should not now be put. In that case, I am very happy to speak, and other Members may wish to do so as well.

Mr Speaker
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Order. Let me say, for the avoidance of doubt, that that is perfectly orderly. I did say that the question was debatable. No Member appeared to be standing, and Members seemed to be expressing a will to reach a decision by making their voices heard. However, the Home Secretary is perfectly entitled to speak on the matter, and she will now do so.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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Thank you, Mr Speaker.

The right hon. Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) appears to have been getting herself into quite a state about this particular issue. I am very happy to explain the position to the House again, very clearly. It is very simple. There is a timetable that we must follow if we are to ensure that we can opt back in to measures by 1 December—

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
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I think that the context is germane to the question of whether the motion be approved, or not approved, as the case may be. I therefore think that an excessively narrow interpretation would be wrong. I think it only right for the Home Secretary, if she wants to speak to the Question that the Question be not now put, to have an opportunity, in an orderly way, to make her case. Let me now hear what I hope will be an orderly account.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am grateful for your ruling on what matters are relevant to the speech that can be made in relation to the question that has now been put.

The motion is about whether or not we should vote on the regulations that are before the House today. As I have made very clear, we put those regulations before the House today because of the timetable with which we are dealing in relation to ensuring that we are able to opt back in to the measures that we need to opt back in to by the requisite date—1 December—if we are to ensure that there is no operational gap.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
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I would have called the hon. Gentleman to speak on this proposition in due course, but I have a feeling that he has already done so. So be it. I call the Home Secretary.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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Thank you, Mr Speaker.

As I made clear earlier, I am well aware that my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Sir William Cash), as Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, and his colleagues who chair the Justice and Home Affairs Committees, have indicated their wish for separate motions and separate debates on particular parts of the measures, including the European arrest warrant. However, I have also made clear that the Government put the regulations before the House today so that the House could see the legislative process that would be put in place. There is no requirement in legislation for any measure to be put in place for us to remain party to the European arrest warrant.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
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The hon. Gentleman can do so, but it is for the Chair—[Interruption.] No, no other debate is required, as has politely been suggested from a sedentary position. It is for the Chair to decide whether to accept what is effectively a closure motion, and the answer to the hon. Gentleman is that at this rather early stage in debating these particular matters—the previous question—I do not accept the closure motion. We are in the middle of a speech by the Home Secretary and there may be other contributions. A former senior Cabinet Minister wishes to contribute and possibly other Members, so I would take a view on that matter in due course, but not now.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
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The answer is that a considerable number of Members have applied to speak in this debate. If memory serves, approximately 20, possibly slightly more, wished to speak in the debate as a whole, not in the debate on the previous question—obviously I have had no written applications on that, because it has only just been introduced. On the overall debate today, I had approximately 20 requests to speak. If those Members do not have the opportunity to do so, they will be denied the opportunity today, but they would not, of course, be denied the opportunity subsequently.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I make the point to the shadow Home Secretary that if she says she supports—

Business of the House (Today)

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 10th November 2014

(6 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

No, no, no. The Home Secretary is entitled to say—and she will say—what she thinks, and the House must hear that.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

I have made it clear that there was no requirement under the Lisbon treaty or any legislative requirement to bring the package of 35 measures to this House.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

I think that I referred to the requirement for Members to deploy some ingenuity, and I gave quite a full explanation of the situation as I saw it. I do not recall using the word “peripherally”—I hesitate to argue with the hon. Gentleman, who is always very precise in his use of words—but I think that the substance of what I was getting at was clear. Let us now hear what the Home Secretary has to say.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am clear that it is possible in the debate on the regulations to discuss those measures that are not listed in the regulations, and that is certainly what I and other Members intend to do. The Government are very clear that what we are debating in the next debate is the regulations that transpose into legislation those measures that need to be transposed.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point or order. What Members think is indicative is a matter for them. Indeed, if a Minister in Her Majesty’s Government chooses to argue that something is indicative, that is a matter for that Minister. As a matter of fact, I was simply trying to be clear with the House, as I think was the Home Secretary in her previous paragraph, to be fair, that tonight’s vote—I have been asked regularly what the vote is about—is on the regulations. The vote is not—I repeat, not—on the European arrest warrant.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

Thank you, Mr Speaker. In fact, I was attempting to be as clear as you have been that the vote on the next motion will be a vote on the regulations, which includes those measures in the package of 35 that we wish to opt back into which require to be transposed into UK legislation. But the Government are clear that we will be bound by that vote, and if this House chooses not to transpose those measures and votes against the regulations, it will be voting against the Government opting into all the measures, including the European arrest warrant.

My final point is this: we have the option now of a vote on the business motion. The decision for Members of the House is whether to vote against that business motion and have one and a half hours for debate on all these matters, or to vote in favour of the business motion and have four and a half hours for debate. I trust they will take the latter option.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
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I think I have set out the position clearly and there is nothing at this stage for me to add, but Members will form their own view. That is the fairest thing I can say—Members will form their own view.

I think I am right in saying that the Home Secretary has concluded her speech.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

Indeed, Mr Speaker.

Question put.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 13th October 2014

(6 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

My hon. Friend raises an important point about communications data. He sat on the cross-party Joint Committee that scrutinised the draft Communications Data Bill and accepted that there was a need for legislation to improve our ability to access communications data. He mentioned the cases that I have cited recently, and among them are cases that are not just about IP addresses but about our inability to obtain communications data, because communications service providers based overseas do not retain the right data.

Of the NCA cases I mentioned, two were discontinued because of that problem, one of which was a case involving the distribution of indecent images of children. Of the Met cases that my hon. Friend mentioned, six were discontinued because of the lack of retained data, and of those one involved posting indecent images, one related to child protection in which there was a threat to life, and one was a kidnap where there was a threat to life. The Communications Data Bill would have addressed that problem. Therefore, while we are taking action to address the problem caused by IP addresses, it is not true that the cases I mentioned in my speech were related simply to IP addresses. Even for cases that were discontinued because of the lack of a unique IP address, had there been such a unique IP address it would not mean that the case could have been continued—the scale of the problem probably means that no communications data would have been available for that IP address anyway.

I say to Members across the House and to our coalition colleagues that if they are serious about giving the police the capabilities they need to keep us safe, protect children and save lives, they should reconsider their position on the Communications Data Bill.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. We are all now better informed but at somewhat of a cost. I am keen to accommodate the interests of Back Benchers, and I know the Home Secretary will be profoundly sympathetic to that interest.

Child Sex Abuse (Rotherham)

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Tuesday 2nd September 2014

(6 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Mr Speaker
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The hon. Lady has shoehorned that matter into this urgent question. It is not relevant to the question, but it is of great interest to the House and we look forward to a pithy reply from the Home Secretary.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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I hope the hon. Lady and others in the Chamber will be reassured to know that I understand that the CPS is indeed reviewing this issue as we speak. I am not able to give her an answer on what the CPS is doing, but it is doing it as we speak.

Points of Order

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Tuesday 22nd July 2014

(6 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Mr Speaker
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I do not think the timing of the raising of this point of order is accidental. Sadly, as the hon. Gentleman knows, I myself can provide him no salvation, but it may be that help is at hand. Home Secretary.

Theresa May Portrait The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May)
- Hansard -

Thank you, Mr Speaker. If my hon. Friend passes the details of that constituent to either myself or the immigration Minister, we will ensure that the issue is taken up. Of course, as I indicated to the House in June when I made a statement about the Passport Office, we have opened up the possibility of a free upgrade for individuals whose passport has been waiting more than three weeks and who have an urgent need to travel, so we will take that case up.

Mr Speaker
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I hope that is helpful.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
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The natural spirit of last-day generosity has been very fully exploited by the shadow Home Secretary. That is not a matter for the Chair. However, the point has been made with some force and it is open to the Home Secretary to respond if she wishes.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

indicated dissent.

Mr Speaker
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But I think we will have to leave it there on that matter for now.

Police Reform

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Tuesday 22nd July 2014

(6 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Mr Speaker
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I think the hon. Gentleman has established a first. The Clerk Assistant tells me he has never seen the word “wowed” appear in Hansard in that context. It is good to know what the hon. Gentleman looks and sounds like when he is wowed.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

I thank my hon. Friend for his comments on the changes that we are introducing. I will take away the point that he has made about defendants and interviews. He will have noted that the Attorney-General is on the Front Bench as well, and will have noted that issue.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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My hon. Friend makes a good point, because of course, with direct entry, it will be possible for people who have very particular areas of expertise to come into policing. However, we are also doing some other things to tackle cybercrime. The new national cybercrime unit, which has been set up in the National Crime Agency, is an important part of this process, and the National Crime Agency is looking at some innovative thinking of what I might call professional specialists, in the sense of specials who have a very particular area of expertise, such as in forensic accounting or in cyber, who potentially could be attached to the NCA and could be an extra-valuable resource for them.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

I am most grateful to the Home Secretary and to colleagues.

HM Passport Office

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Thursday 12th June 2014

(6 years, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May)
- Hansard -

Her Majesty’s Passport Office is receiving 350,000 more applications for passport applications and renewals than is normal at this time of year. This is the highest demand for 12 years. Since January, HMPO has been putting in place extra resources to try to make sure that people receive their new passports in good time, but as the House will know there are still delays in the system. As the Prime Minister said yesterday, the number of straightforward passport applicants who are being dealt with outside the normal three-week waiting time is about 30,000.

Her Majesty’s Passport Office has 250 additional staff who have been transferred from back-office roles to front-line operations, and 650 additional staff to work on its customer helpline. HMPO is operating seven days a week and couriers are delivering passports within 24 hours of their being produced. From next week, HMPO is opening new office space in Liverpool to help the new staff to work on processing passport applications.

Despite those additional resources, it is clear that HMPO is still not able to process every application it receives within the normal three-week waiting time for straightforward cases. At the moment, the overwhelming majority of cases are dealt with within that time limit, but that is, of course, no consolation to applicants who are suffering delays and are worried about whether they will be able to go on their summer holidays. I understand their anxiety and the Government will do everything they can—while maintaining the security of the passport—to make sure people get their passports in time.

There is no big-bang single solution so we will take a series of measures to address the pinch points and resourcing problems that HMPO faces. First, on resources, I have agreed with the Foreign Secretary that people applying to renew passports overseas for travel to the UK will be given a 12-month extension to their existing passport. Since we are talking about extending existing passports—documents in which we can have a high degree of confidence—this relieves HMPO of having to deal with some of the most complex cases without compromising security.

Similarly, we will put in place a process so that people who are applying for passports overseas on behalf of their children can be issued with emergency travel documents for travel to the UK. Parents will still have to provide comprehensive proof that they are the parents before we will issue these documents, because we are not prepared to compromise on child protection, but again this should relieve an administrative burden on HMPO.

These changes will allow us to free up a significant number of trained HMPO officials to concentrate on other applications. In addition, HMPO will increase the number of examiners and call handlers by a further 200 staff.

Secondly, HMPO is addressing a series of process points to make sure that its systems are operating efficiently.

Thirdly, where people have an urgent need to travel, HMPO has agreed to upgrade them: that is, their application will be considered in full; it will be expedited in terms of its processing, printing and delivery; and HMPO has agreed to upgrade those people free of charge.

All these measures are designed to address the immediate problem. In the medium to long term, the answer is not just to throw more staff at the problem but to ensure that HMPO is running as efficiently as possible and is as accountable as possible. I have therefore asked the Home Office’s permanent secretary, Mark Sedwill, to conduct two reviews—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
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Order. The Home Secretary’s statement must be heard, and preferably with courtesy. There will be plenty of opportunity for questioning, but let us hear what the Home Secretary has to say.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

As I said, in the medium to long term the answer is not just to throw more staff at the problem but to ensure that HMPO is running as efficiently as possible and is as accountable as possible. I have therefore asked the Home Office’s permanent secretary, Mark Sedwill, to conduct two reviews: first, to ensure that HMPO works as efficiently as possible, with better processes, better customer service and better outcomes; and, secondly, to consider whether HMPO’s agency status should be removed, so that it can be brought into the Home Office, reporting directly to Ministers, in line with other parts of the immigration system since the abolition of the UK Border Agency.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

The shadow Home Secretary has raised a number of issues. The Passport Office started to receive increased numbers of applications not just in recent weeks, but from the beginning of the year, so it took action to increase the number of staff available to deal with them. From January to May, over 97% of applicants in straightforward cases received their passport within three weeks, and over 99% received them within four weeks, but of course that means there were applicants who did not receive their passport within the normal expected time. That is why the Passport Office has been increasing the number of staff throughout this period and will continue to do so, as I have indicated.

The shadow Home Secretary asked about the difference between straightforward and more complex cases. A case is straightforward when all the information is there and the application form has been properly filled in, signed and so forth. In those cases it is possible to deal with a straightforward renewal very quickly. [Interruption.] The problem comes when the right information is not there or the correct forms have not been sent in—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
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Order. Mr Bryant, we cannot have a running commentary throughout the Home Secretary’s response. Colleagues will have plenty of opportunity to question the right hon. Lady, but her remarks must be heard with a modicum of courtesy.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

A case ceases to be straightforward if it is necessary for the Passport Office to go back to the individual to request other documents, which of course delays the process. We are looking at part of the system to ensure that that is being done as efficiently as possible.

The shadow Home Secretary asked about taking over the process of passport applications from British nationals overseas. Before March this year that was done by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at processing centres world wide. The change was made to provide better value for the fee-payer and greater consistency in how overseas passport applications are assessed, and to use our expertise to better detect and prevent fraud. The checks needed for applications from overseas can take longer than those for applications in the UK. Security is our priority and we will not issue a passport until the necessary checks have been completed. However, as I said in my statement, for those applying for a renewal from overseas, where we can have confidence in the documents that they have already had and the process they have been through, we will be offering an extension of 12 months.

Finally, the shadow Home Secretary raised the issue of staff numbers, as did other Members earlier this week. Here are the figures: in March 2012 the Passport Office had 3,104 members of staff—[Interruption.] Opposition Members talk about 2010, so I will make one simple point: when we took office there were staff in HM Passport Office who had been brought in to deal with the new identity card. This Government scrapped the identity card. Over the past two years the number of staff in the Passport Office has increased from 3,104 to 3,445. That is the answer. People might say that this is about reduced staff numbers, but actually staff numbers have been going up over the past two years.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. May I just say before the Home Secretary responds that there is a great deal of interest, which I am keen to accommodate, at least in part? It would help if contributions were brief. We have the business question to follow and the last day of the Queen’s Speech debate is exceptionally heavily subscribed. People will lose out, and they will lose out all the more if there is not economy.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will attempt to be brief in my response.

As has been made clear publicly, Ministers were not aware of the document to which the hon. Member for Coventry North West (Mr Robinson) refers, and they asked for it to be withdrawn immediately.

Extremism

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 9th June 2014

(6 years, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

Order. Mr Lucas, I understand your frustration, but I have told you before that your apprenticeship to become a statesman still has some distance to travel. You must not holler from a sedentary position. Allow the Home Secretary to respond, and others will have their opportunity.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

As I said, the investigation was concluded; it went to the Prime Minister; he looked at its recommendations; and, as hon. Members will know, my special adviser resigned on Saturday.

Break in Debate

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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What undermines—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker
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Order. The Home Secretary’s response must and will be heard.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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What potentially undermines the confidence of the public in attempts to deal with extremism is seeing the Opposition playing party politics with the issue rather than dealing with it seriously.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Monday 28th April 2014

(6 years, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
- Hansard -

I hope I can reassure my hon. Friend that we do use the Dublin regulations; indeed, I defend those regulations regularly in the Justice and Home Affairs Council within the European environment. It is very important that people are returned to the first country by which they entered the European Union. Unfortunately, because of court judgments we are not currently able to return people to Greece, but we are working with the Greek authorities to improve their capability for dealing with asylum seekers so that we will be able to do so in due course.

Mr Speaker
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I call Mr Ian Lucas. Not here.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker
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Order. We must have an answer.

Theresa May Portrait Mrs May
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I am grateful to the right hon. Lady for pointing out that I am the Home Secretary. We have seen a higher number of cases of sexual violence being reported, and it is good that people are willing to come forward to report such cases. Some of these are historical cases, and there has been an upturn in the number of people coming forward, particularly as a result of the revelations relating to Jimmy Savile and other such cases. As I said earlier, the number of successful prosecutions by the CPS for rape and sexual violence has hit an all-time high, so I suggest that the right hon. Lady goes away and looks again at her figures.

Points of Order

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 12th February 2014

(7 years ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

It is open to the Home Secretary to respond to that point of order if she wishes to do so.

Theresa May Portrait The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May)
- Hansard -

If I may, Mr Speaker, I will provide clarification. I apologise if my language was loosely used earlier, as it should not have been. It is the accepted policy that we do not deny or confirm whether somebody has been subject to interception, which I understood was potentially part of the issue raised by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Steve Rotheram), but I have noted the concern that has been raised in this House and I will take that matter away.

Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - Excerpts

I hope that is helpful.

Hillsborough

Debate between Theresa May and John Bercow
Wednesday 12th February 2014

(7 years ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Theresa May Portrait The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May)
- Hansard -

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on the Hillsborough stadium tragedy.

It is over a year now since Parliament last debated Hillsborough and the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel. I hope the House will join me again in expressing my thanks and gratitude to the panel’s chairman, Bishop James Jones, and all his colleagues for their remarkable work. The contents of the panel’s report were truly shocking, and on the day it was published, the Prime Minister apologised to the families of the 96 for what he described as a “double injustice”. The first injustice, he said, was the appalling events; the second was the treatment of victims by the press.

I would like to pay tribute to the bereaved families, the survivors and all those who have campaigned on their behalf. As Home Secretary, I have met a number of the bereaved families, and I have always been impressed by the dignified way they and their supporters have continued their search for truth and justice. I would also like to pay tribute to those in the House who have campaigned on behalf of the families, including the hon. Members for Liverpool, Walton (Steve Rotheram), for Garston and Halewood (Maria Eagle) and for Halton (Derek Twigg) and the right hon. Member for Leigh (Andy Burnham).

So significant were the conclusions of the panel’s report that its publication on 12 September 2012 set in train a number of important events. By the end of that year, this had resulted in the High Court’s quashing of the original inquest verdicts and the ordering of fresh inquests, and the establishment of two major investigations. In a debate in the House following publication of the panel’s report, I said that

“after the truth must come justice; and afte