B1 Intermediate UK 1093 Folder Collection
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>>Danny Kinahan (South Antrim) (UUP): If he will list his official engagements for Wednesday
13 July.
>>The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron):I know that the whole House will join me in
congratulating Andy Murray, Heather Watson, Jordanne Whiley, Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett
on their stunning success at Wimbledon.
This morning, I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. Other than one meeting
this afternoon with Her Majesty the Queen, the diary for the rest of my day is remarkably
>>Danny Kinahan: May I echo the Prime Minister’s congratulations to Andrew Murray and all the
other winners? We thank the Prime Minister for all his hard work and his leadership—[Hon.
Members: “Hear, hear”!]—particularly his commitment to the Union and to Northern
Ireland, visiting it often and swimming in Lough Erne. Perhaps he would like to come
and swim in Lough Neagh. The Ulster Unionist party looks forward to working with the next
Prime Minister. I am told that there are lots of leadership roles out there at the moment—there
is the England football team and “Top Gear”. Even across the Big Pond, there is a role
that needs filling. I will if I may go into my pet subject.
>>Stephen Pound (Ealing North) (Lab): In your own time, Danny.
>>Danny Kinahan: Thank you.
Brexit really threatens the Union. Will the Prime Minister work with his successors to
ensure that we have somebody that will pull together all the countries of the Union and
the overseas territories so that we can all work and thrive together?
>>The Prime Minister: Let me thank the hon. Gentleman for his kind remarks and fascinating
suggestions for future jobs, most of which sound even harder than this one, so I think
I’ll pass. I believe that Northern Ireland is stronger than it was six years ago—58,000
more people in work, the full devolution of justice and home affairs delivered under this
Government, the Saville report published, record inward investment and the creation
of new jobs. Like him, I care passionately about our United Kingdom, as do all of us
in this House. We need to make sure that, as we leave the European Union, we work out
how to keep the benefits of the common travel area. Hard work is being done now with civil
servants in Northern Ireland, Whitehall and the Republic of Ireland, and the pace of that
work needs to quicken.
>>Jack Lopresti (Filton and Bradley Stoke) (Con): I, too, pay tribute to my right hon.
Friend for all the hard work that he has done leading this great country for the past few
years. My right hon. Friend’s lasting legacy will include supporting the Kurds whose peshmerga
are bravely fighting Daesh in all our interests. Having visited the peshmerga on the frontline,
I know that our airstrikes, weapons and training are crucial, but peshmerga injuries could
be reduced with additional equipment such as body armour, respirators and front-line
medical facilities, and we possibly could provide some beds in our specialist hospital
in Birmingham to the most seriously injured. Does he agree that that is a relatively small
investment that would make a huge difference to our allies in our common fight to defeat
the evil of terrorism?
>>The Prime Minister: First, I thank my hon. Friend for his kind remarks. He is absolutely
right that the Kurds are incredibly brave fighters and are doing valuable work against
Daesh in Iraq and Syria. I will look carefully at his suggestion of using the Birmingham
hospital. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has excellent facilities for battlefield casualties.
Our Army is already providing medical instruction to the peshmerga to help them deal with the
situation, but we will look to see whether more can be done. Let us be frank, the strategy
is working. Daesh is on the back foot: it has lost 45% of the territory that it once
held in Iraq; its finances have been hit; more than 25,000 Daesh fighters have now been
killed; desertion has increased; and the flow of foreign fighters has fallen by 90%. I have
always said that this will take a long time to work in Iraq and Syria, but we must stick
at it and we must stay the course.
>>Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab): May I start by joining the Prime Minister in paying
tribute to the British winners at Wimbledon—Andy Murray, Heather Watson, Jordanne Whiley, Alfie
Hewett and Gordon Reid? Also, I think it would be nice if we congratulated Serena Williams
on her fantastic achievement.
It is only right that after his six years as Prime Minister, we thank the right hon.
Gentleman for his service. I have often disagreed with him, but some of his achievements I welcome
and want to recognise today. One is helping to secure the release of Shaker Aamer from
Guantanamo Bay; another is legislating to achieve equal marriage in our society. I am
sure he would like to acknowledge that it was Labour votes that helped him to get the
legislation through. Will he express some concern at the way that homelessness has risen
in this country for the past six years and looks like it is going to continue to rise?
>>The Prime Minister: I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his kind remarks. I join him
in paying tribute to Serena Williams, who has now overtaken Steffi Graf’s amazing
record of 22 grand slams.
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for what he said about Shaker Aamer. That was a case
that this Government raised again and again with the US Government, and we are pleased
that it has been resolved. I thank him also for what he said about equal marriage. There
are 30,000 gay people in our country who, in the past six years, have been able to get
married. That is real progress. I will never forget the day at No. 10 when one of the people
who works very close to the front door said to me, “I’m not that interested in politics,
Mr Cameron, but because of something your lot have done, I am able to marry the person
I’ve loved all my life this weekend.” There are many amazing moments in this job,
but that was one of my favourites.
As for homelessness, it is still 10% below the peak that we saw under Labour, but the
key is building more homes. We have built 700,000 homes since I became Prime Minister,
but now we need to quicken the pace of that. The key to building more homes is, yes, programmes
such as Help to Buy; yes, the reforms to the planning system, but the absolute key is a
strong economy.
>>Jeremy Corbyn: I have been listening carefully to what the Home Secretary has been saying
over the past few days. She said:
“It’s harder than ever for young people to buy their first house.”
Does the Prime Minister think that is because of record low house building or his Government’s
apparent belief that £450,000 is an affordable price for a starter home?
>>The Prime Minister: First, let me say at the Dispatch Box how warmly I congratulate
the Home Secretary on becoming leader of the Conservative party. When it comes to women
Prime Ministers, I am very pleased to be able to say that pretty soon it is going to be
2:0, and not a pink bus in sight.
On the issue of housing and homelessness, as I said, 700,000 homes have been delivered.
The right hon. Gentleman asked about affordability, which is key. When I became Prime Minister,
because of what had happened to the mortgage market, a first-time buyer often needed to
have as much as £30,000 to put down a deposit. Because of the combination of Help to Buy
and shared ownership, some people are able to get on the housing ladder now with a deposit
of as little as £2,000. With the low mortgage rates and the new houses we are building,
we are making good progress.
>>Jeremy Corbyn: The malaise seems a little deeper still. The Home Secretary said, talking
of the economy,
“so that it really does work for everyone. Because it is apparent to anybody who is in
touch with the real world that people do not feel our economy works that way”.
Is she not right that too many people in too many places in Britain feel that the economy
has been destroyed in their towns because the industries have gone, there are high levels
of unemployment or under-employment, and a deep sense of malaise? Do not we all need
to address that?
>>The Prime Minister: If we are going to talk about the economic record, let us get the
facts straight. We have cut the deficit by two thirds. There are 2.5 million more people
in work in our country. There are almost a million more businesses and 2.9 million people
in apprenticeships have been trained under this Government. When it comes to poverty,
300,000 fewer people are in relative poverty and 100,000 fewer children are in relative
poverty. If I am accused of sloth in delivery by the right hon. Gentleman, let us take the
past week. We have both been having leadership elections. We got on with it. We have had
resignation, nomination, competition and coronation. The Opposition have not even decided what
the rules are yet. If they ever got into power, it would take them about a year to work out
who would sit where.
>>Jeremy Corbyn: Democracy is an exciting and splendid thing, and I am enjoying every
moment of it.
Talking of the economy, the Home Secretary said that many people
“find themselves exploited by unscrupulous bosses”—
I cannot imagine who she was referring to. In his hand-over discussions with the Home
Secretary, could the Prime Minister enlighten us as to whether there is any proposal to
take on agency Britain by banning zero-hours contracts, clamping down on umbrella companies,
repealing the Trade Union Act 2016 or, preferably, all three?
>>The Prime Minister: The right hon. Gentleman is right that democracy is a splendid thing—I
have to agree with him about that. Let me answer very directly on exploitation in the
workplace. It is this Government that, for the first time, has introduced a national
living wage—that is a huge change. It is this Government that has massively increased
the power of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority. There are record fines for businesses that
do not pay the minimum wage, and there is much more policing and many more prosecutions
taking place. All of those things have changed under this Government. As for zero-hours contracts,
they account for fewer than one in 40 people in work. Some 60% of people on zero-hours
contracts do not want to work more hours. It was this Government that did something
the Labour party never did, which was to ban exclusive zero-hours contracts—13 years
of Labour, but it took a coalition Conservative Government to do it.
Let me say something to the right hon. Gentleman about the democratic process of leadership
elections, because I did say a couple of weeks ago—[Interruption.] I have to say that I
am beginning to admire his tenacity. He is reminding me of the Black Knight in “Monty
Python and the Holy Grail”. He has been kicked so many times, but he says, “Keep
going, it’s only a flesh wound.” I admire that.
>>Jeremy Corbyn: I would like the Prime Minister to address another issue that the House voted
on last week. I have a question from Nina—[Interruption.] It is a question from somebody who deserves
an answer. She says:
“I would like to know, if there is any possibility, that an EU citizen, that has lived in the
UK for thirty years can have their right of permanent residence… revoked and deported,
depending on the Brexit negotiations”.
There has been no clear answer to this question. It is one that worries a very large number
of people, and it would be good if, in his last Question Time, the Prime Minister could
at least offer some assurance to those people.
>>The Prime Minister: Let me reassure Nina that there is absolutely no chance of that
happening to someone in those circumstances. We are working hard to do what we want, which
is to give a guarantee to EU citizens that they will have their rights respected—all
those who have come to this country. The only circumstance in which I could ever envisage
a future Government trying to undo that guarantee would be if British citizens in other European
countries did not have their rights respected. I think it is important to have reciprocity.
The new Prime Minister will be working to give that guarantee as fast as we can.
I am glad the right hon. Gentleman mentions emails, because, actually, I have an email
as well. I got this—I am not making this up, I promise—on 16 September 2015 from
someone called Judith, and she said this:
“Please, please keep dignity, and not triumphalism during the first PMQs today with Jeremy Corbyn.”
She gave this reason:
“Tom Watson, who may oust Jeremy Corbyn…is a very different kettle of fish. He is experienced,
organised and far more dangerous in the long run.”
She goes on:
“Sensible, sober, polite answers to Mr Corbyn…let him create his own party disunity.”
After this is over, I have got to find Judith and find out what on earth happens next.
>>Jeremy Corbyn: I have had the pleasure of asking the Prime Minister 179 questions—[Hon.
Members: “More!”] Thank you. There are plenty more to come to his successor—don’t
worry about that.
Before I ask the Prime Minister my last question, could I just put on record that I wish him
well as he leaves office? I also wish his family well—Samantha and their children.
We should all recognise that while many of us really do enjoy our jobs and our political
life, it is the loved ones nearest to us and our families who actually make enormous sacrifices
so that we may be able to do this. I would also like him to pass on my thanks to his
mum for her advice about ties, suits and songs. It is extremely kind of her, and I would be
grateful if he would pass that on to her personally. I am reflecting on the lesson that she offered.
I have one rumour that I want the Prime Minister to deal with. There is a rumour going round
that his departure has been carefully choreographed so that he can slip seamlessly into the vacancy
on “Strictly” that was created this morning by Len Goodman’s departure. Is that his
next career?
>>The Prime Minister: I do not really have a pasa doble, so I can promise that that is
not the case.
Let me thank the right hon. Gentleman for his kind remarks and good wishes to my amazing
wife Samantha and my lovely children, who are all watching from the Gallery today. He
is absolutely right: the pressure in these jobs often bears hardest on those we love
around us. Let me send my best wishes to his family as well.
I have done a bit of research, Mr Speaker. I have addressed 5,500 questions from this
Dispatch Box; I will leave it for others to work out how many I have answered. Because
of your belief in letting everyone have their say, I think I have done a record 92 hours
of statements from this Dispatch Box, as well as some very enjoyable Liaison Committee appearances
and other things.
I will certainly send the right hon. Gentleman’s best wishes back to my mother. He seems to
have taken her advice and is looking absolutely splendid today.
This gives me the opportunity to put a rumour to rest, as well—it is even more serious
than the “Strictly Come Dancing” one. The right hon. Gentleman will appreciate this
because El Gato, his cat, is particularly famous. This is the rumour that somehow I
do not love Larry; I do, and I have photographic evidence to prove it. Sadly, I cannot take
Larry with me; he belongs to the house and the staff love him very much, as do I.
>>Mr Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): Is my right hon. Friend aware that
in 33 years in this House watching five Prime Ministers and several ex-Prime Ministers,
I have seen him achieve a mastery of that Dispatch Box unparalleled in my time? That
is not just because of his command of detail and his wit, but because he commands the respect
of friend and foe alike, who know that he is driven not just by legitimate political
ambitions and ideas, but by a sense of duty that always leads him to try to make this
country more prosperous, more solvent, more tolerant, more fair, and more free. He will
command the respect of generations to come.
>>The Prime Minister: Those words mean a lot from my right hon. Friend, who has spent so
much time in this House. It is a special place. I think Prime Minister’s questions, for
all its theatrics, does have a purpose, because it is a time when every week the Prime Minister
has to know absolutely everything that is going on in Whitehall. Often you find out
things that you want to stop pretty quickly before 12 o’clock on a Wednesday. I believe
that politics is about public service in the national interest, and that is what I have
always tried to do.
This session does have some admirers around the world. I remember when I was doing the
Leader of the Opposition’s job and I met Mayor Bloomberg in New York. We walked down
the street and everyone knew Mike Bloomberg. Everyone came up and said, “Mayor, you’re
doing a great job.” No one had a clue who I was, until eventually someone said, “Hey,
Cameron. Prime Minister’s questions—we love your show!”
>>Angus Robertson (Moray) (SNP): I join the Prime Minister and the leader of the Labour
party in paying tribute to all the winners at Wimbledon.
This week we mark the 21st anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. As this is one of
the few political causes that the Prime Minister and I both wholeheartedly support, I hope
he will impress on his successor the importance of supporting the Remembering Srebrenica organisation
and all the good work that it does across the UK.
Notwithstanding our differences, I genuinely extend my best personal wishes to the Prime
Minister and his family; I wish them all the best. However, the Prime Minister’s legacy
will undoubtedly be that he has brought us to the brink of being taken out of the European
Union, so we on these Benches will not be applauding his premiership. What advice has
he given his successor on taking Scotland out of the EU against the wishes of Scottish
>>The Prime Minister: First, let me join the right hon. Gentleman in paying tribute to
all those who lost their lives in Srebrenica. We should make sure that we commemorate the
event properly every year. This year there will be a service in the Foreign Office, where
commemoration will be given and testimony read out. We should think of it alongside
the terrible events of modern history such as the holocaust. This also reminds us that
while, as we often debate in this House, there is a price for intervention, there is also
sometimes a price from non-intervention. We should remember that.
In terms of what the right hon. Gentleman says about Scotland, the United Kingdom and
Europe, my advice to my successor, who is a brilliant negotiator, is that we should
try to be as close to the European Union as we can be for the benefits of trade, co-operation
and security. The channel will not get any wider once we leave the European Union, and
that is the relationship we should seek. That would be good for the United Kingdom and good
for Scotland.
>>Angus Robertson: The Prime Minister’s successor is very well known in Scotland at
present—this is across all the front pages—because of the threat to deport the very much loved
and liked Brain family from the highlands. The first vote of her premiership is likely
to be on imposing Trident against the wishes of almost every single MP from Scotland. Meanwhile,
she says that she plans to plough on with Brexit, regardless of the fact that Scotland
voted to remain in the EU. How does the outgoing Prime Minister think that all that will go
down in Scotland?
>>The Prime Minister: First of all, specifically on the Brain family, Mrs Brain came to this
country on a tier 4 student visa to study for a Scottish history degree. She completed
it and her husband and son came as dependents. We have given them an extension until 1 August
to put in an application for a work visa in the normal way, and I very much hope that
will happen.
On Trident, there will be a vote in this House. It is right that this House should decide.
Actually, many people in Scotland support our nuclear deterrent, maintaining it and
the jobs that come in Scotland.
The right hon. Gentleman asks about the record of this Government when it comes to Scotland.
I will tell him what it is: 143,000 more people in work in Scotland; massive investment in
the renewable industries in Scotland; the two biggest warships in our history built
in Scotland; a powerhouse Parliament; a referendum that was legal, decisive and fair; and, I
might add, a Scotsman winning Wimbledon twice while I was Prime Minister. Never mind Indy
2; I think it is time for Andy 2.
>>Jo Churchill (Bury St Edmunds) (Con): I thank the Prime Minister for the leadership
he has shown, particularly in his support of women in the Conservative party. The Prime
Minister’s legacy for me, however, and for fellow cancer survivors, is the personal support
that he has shown for the cancer drugs fund. Today I ask him to show the same support for
those who have been affected by contaminated blood. Will he please update the House as
to whether they, too, will have a legacy?
>>The Prime Minister: I thank my hon. Friend for what she says about the cancer drugs fund,
which has helped many people and families in our country. She is absolutely right to
raise the issue of contaminated blood, and I can today announce that we will spend the
extra £125 million that we have identified. A much fairer and more comprehensive scheme
will guarantee that all those infected will, for the first time, receive a regular annual
payment. That will include all those with hepatitis stage 1, who will now receive £3,500
per year, rising to £4,500 per year by the end of the Parliament. For those with hepatitis
C at stage 2 or HIV, or who are co-infected with both, annual payments will increase over
the lifetime of the Parliament, and we will enhance the support for those who have been
bereaved and those who will be in future, significantly boosting the money for the discretionary
payments. Last year I apologised to the victims on behalf of the British Government for something
that should never have happened. Today I am proud to provide them with the support that
they deserve.
Although it is not right to pick out two individuals, I think that people should know that they
can come to constituency surgeries, make their point to their Member of Parliament and campaign,
as these sufferers have done. In my case, David Leadbetter and Matthew Davies repeatedly
came to my surgery, saying, “This mustn’t stand. More must be done.” I know that not
everyone will be fully satisfied with what is being done, but it does show our democracy
working and compassion in replying to this terrible problem.
>>Jeff Smith (Manchester, Withington) (Lab): The Prime Minister came to office promising
to keep the UK’s triple A rating, to end top-down NHS reorganisations and to stop his
party banging on about Europe. How would he say that has gone? [905834]
>>The Prime Minister: On the economic record, 2.5 million more jobs, the deficit cut by
two thirds, 2.9 million apprenticeships, a million more businesses, and a growth rate
that has been at the top of the developed world are all because of the choices that
we made. Because we did that, we have been able to back our NHS with a 10% funding increase,
which is more than £10 billion in real terms in this Parliament. As for Europe, we have
to settle these issues. It is right that, when trying to settle a really big constitutional
issue, that you not just rely on Parliament, but ask the people as well. We made a promise
and we kept a promise.
>>Steve Brine (Winchester) (Con): I am very sorry that this turns out to be my last question
to the Prime Minister. I want to thank him for everything he has done for my constituency,
where every school is now good or outstanding and the jobless total is down 64% since he
took office. As he prepares to leave Downing Street, I encourage him to return to the big
society agenda that I know he is so passionate about. Does he remember saying, shortly before
becoming Prime Minister, that politicians are a mixture of egotism and altruism, and
that“you just hope that the”right one“wins out and that people do the right thing rather
than the politically convenient thing”?It seems to me that he has stayed on the right
side of that divide in the past six years, not least in the manner of his departure.
I think that this country is going to miss him a great deal.
>>The Prime Minister: I thank my hon. Friend for his kind remarks. When it comes to education,
there is a very strong record to build on. We have 1.4 million more children in good
or outstanding schools than in 2010. We have seen the free school movement really take
off, with over 300 free schools open. I visited one yesterday that is outstanding, as a quarter
of them are, which is an amazing record when we think how little time they have had to
get going. I think that we should build on that record.
As for the big society, yes, we should use a stronger economy to build a bigger and stronger
society. One thing we are doing is introducing the National Citizen Service. Some 200,000
young people have taken part in that programme and I hope that, by the end of this Parliament,
it will be the norm for 16-year-olds to take part. We talk about the soft skills that are
necessary to give people real life chances. Many people do not get those chances, and
the National Citizen Service will help them.
>>Graham Stringer (Blackley and Broughton) (Lab): I thank the Prime Minister for the
courteous way he has always answered the questions I have managed to ask him. I have always listened
carefully to his answers but, until I had two eye operations, I was not able to see
him very clearly. Is he as concerned as I am about newspaper reports that people who
are not entitled to NHS cataract operations are jumping the queue and preventing people
who are entitled to NHS operations from having that treatment?
>>The Prime Minister: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his kind remarks. I try to answer questions
from this Dispatch Box, but it is difficult sometimes when I have not seen the specific
story, and I have not in this case. I recall from previous occasions that we are still
investing in cataract operations and that the number of people receiving them is going
up. However, I will look carefully—this afternoon—at the question he asks about
the danger of queue jumping and get back to him.
>>Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills) (Con): Under the leadership of my right hon. Friend,
unemployment in my constituency has dropped from 5.1% in May 2010 to 1.9% in May this
year. That is a record to be proud of and one for which I would like to thank him. Does
he agree that that has been possible only thanks to his firm focus on jobs, apprenticeships,
skills, a strong economy and investment?
>>The Prime Minister: The figures are remarkable—when a constituency gets to an unemployment rate
of 1.9%, that is very close to full employment. We had 2.4 million apprenticeships in the
previous Parliament, and there are already an extra 500,000 in this Parliament, taking
us towards the target of 3 million in this Parliament. I am confident that we can achieve
that target if we work hard. These are not just numbers on a page; they are real people
who have experience of the workplace, who are learning a trade and who are taking their
first steps in their career. What I want is that, when they get that career, we not only
have the national living wage, but make sure that people do not start paying income tax
until they are earning a good wage. We have taken 4 million of the lowest paid people
in our country out of income tax altogether—that is a record to be proud of.
>>Mr Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West) (Lab/Co-op): This week is Black Country Week. Yesterday,
black country manufacturers were in Parliament demonstrating the high-quality products that
are exported worldwide. Will the outgoing Prime Minister impress on the incoming Prime
Minister the huge importance of maintaining access to the EU single market during Brexit
negotiations so that we can maximise the black country’s contribution to exports, productivity
and jobs?
>>The Prime Minister: I absolutely agree with the hon. Gentleman. We have seen in the west
midlands 173,000 more people in work under this Government. We have seen something of
a renaissance in manufacturing, particularly in the automotive sector, some of which is,
indeed, in the black country. It is vital for that industry that we have proper access
to the single market. I think he is right; this is one of the things we absolutely have
to focus on. I want these high-quality automotive and aerospace manufacturing firms to go from
strength to strength in our country, and making sure we get that access to Europe is going
to be vital.
>>Mr Robin Walker (Worcester) (Con): Ten years ago today, I was applying to become the Conservative
parliamentary candidate for Labour-held Worcester as my right hon. Friend was uniting the then
Opposition and preparing them for government. Like many Conservative Members, I entered
this House in the week when he became Prime Minister. Since that time, unemployment in
Worcester has halved and apprenticeships have doubled. We have more good and outstanding
schools, and are beginning to receive fairer funding. Wages are up and taxes are down.
May I thank my right hon. Friend for all his service to our nation and for the legacy of
improved life chances that he will leave behind?
>>The Prime Minister: I thank my hon. Friend for his kind remarks. We have seen unemployment
fall in all these constituencies and the claimant count going down. More importantly, we now
see 450,000 fewer children in households in which nobody works. Think of the effect of
having a parent or a loved one in work helping to put food on the table and providing a role
model for their children. That is really what this is all about, and I thank him for his
kind remarks.
>>Carol Monaghan (Glasgow North West) (SNP): Between broken vows, Brexit and the likely
renewal of weapons of mass destruction on the Clyde, the Prime Minister has done more
for Scottish independence than many SNP Members could ever hope to do. As he contemplates
a move to Aberdeenshire, will he now make his commitment to Scottish independence official
by visiting snp.org/joinus?
>>The Prime Minister: What I say to the hon. Lady, and indeed to all SNP Members, is that
when Lord Smith himself says that the vow to create a powerhouse Parliament was kept,
the SNP should pay attention to that, and recognise that a promise was made and a promise
was delivered. I have talked many times at this Dispatch Box about creating this powerhouse
Parliament; what I have not seen is the SNP using any of the powers that it now has.
>>Mr Speaker: Finally, Mr Kenneth Clarke.
>>Mr Kenneth Clarke (Rushcliffe) (Con): May I first join with all who have thanked the
Prime Minister for the statesmanlike leadership that he has given to our party and to the
country for the past six years? I thank him particularly for the debating eloquence and
also the wit and humour that he has always brought to Prime Minister’s questions on
Wednesdays. Although, no doubt, he will have plans for a slightly more enjoyable and relaxed
Wednesday morning and lunchtime in the future, may I ask that he will nevertheless still
be an active participant in this House as it faces a large number of problems over the
next few years? As no two people know what Brexit means at the moment, we need his advice
and statesmanship as much as we ever have.
>>The Prime Minister: I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for his very kind remarks.
I remember that one of the toughest conversations I had in politics was when I was Leader of
the Opposition and I was trying to get him to join my Front Bench. He was on a bird-watching
holiday in Patagonia; it was almost impossible to persuade him to come back.
Not many people know this, but my right hon. and learned Friend’s first act as Chancellor
of the Exchequer was to fire me as a special adviser. I am proud of the fact that one of
my first acts was to appoint him to my Cabinet in the coalition Government. The then Deputy
Prime Minister will join me in saying that my right hon. and learned Friend provided
great wisdom, thoughtfulness and ballast at a time of national difficulty with the advice
that he gave us. He is not always the easiest person to get hold of—Tory modernisation
has never quite got as far as getting Ken Clarke to carry a mobile phone. He did briefly
have one, but he said, “The problem is that people keep ringing me on it.” In opposition,
I seem to remember that we had to move our morning meeting to accommodate his 9 o’clock
I will watch these exchanges from the Back Benches. I will miss the roar of the crowd
and I will miss the barbs from the Opposition, but I will be willing you on. When I say “willing
you on”, I do not just mean willing on the new Prime Minister at this Dispatch Box, or
indeed just willing on the Government Front Bench and defending the manifesto that I helped
to put together. I mean willing all of you on, because people come here with huge passion
for the issues they care about and with great love for the constituencies that they represent.
I will also be willing on this place. Yes, we can be pretty tough, and we test and challenge
our leaders—perhaps more than some other countries—but that is something we should
be proud of, and we should keep at it. I hope that you will all keep at it, and I shall
will you on as you do.
The last thing I would say is that you can achieve a lot of things in politics and get
a lot of things done; in the end, public service and the national interest is what it is all
about. Nothing is really impossible if you put your mind to it. After all, as I once
said, I was the future once. [Applause.]
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David Cameron's last PMQs: 13 July 2016

1093 Folder Collection
andysss published on August 8, 2016
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