B1 Intermediate UK 289 Folder Collection
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>> Dr Rupa Huq (Ealing Central and Acton) (Lab):
If he will list his official engagements for Wednesday 23 October.
>> The Prime Minister (Boris Johnson): The whole House will be shocked by the appalling
news that 39 bodies have been discovered in a lorry container in Essex. This is an unimaginable
and truly heartbreaking tragedy, and I know that the thoughts and prayers of all Members
are with those who lost their lives and their loved ones. I am receiving regular updates.
The Home Office will work closely with Essex police to establish exactly what happened,
and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will make an oral statement immediately after
this Question Time.
This morning, I had meeting with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties
in this House, I shall have further such meetings later today.
>> Dr Huq: I completely associate myself with the Prime
Minister's remarks about the tragedy in Essex—I do not normally do that, but on
this occasion I am completely with him.
It is good to see the Prime Minister at Prime Minister's Question Time. Until today, I
think he had only ever done one—in 100 days. We all know that he has a long list of shortcomings,
so could he— Will he do something about one that he does have some control over and
get rid of Dominic Cummings?
>> The Prime Minister: I will try to reply with the generosity of
spirit that the hon. Lady would expect from me and just say that I receive excellent advice
from a wide range of advisers and officials. It is the role of advisers to advise and the
role of the Government to decide, and I take full responsibility for everything the Government
>> Sir Patrick McLoughlin (Derbyshire Dales) (Con):
My right hon. Friend achieved what many said was impossible and negotiated a new Brexit
deal, which passed through the House last night. Does he share my regret that many in
the Labour party, including the Leader of the Opposition, voted once again to delay
our leaving with a deal on 31 October, not least given that he told the House on 22 February
2016 that his party welcomed the fact that it was now up to the British people to decide
if we remained in the European Union?
>> The Prime Minister: As so often, my right hon. Friend has spoken
with complete good sense. I do think it was remarkable that so many Members of the House
were able to come together last night and approve the Bill's Second Reading. I think
that it was a great shame that the House willed the end but not the means, but there is still
time for the Leader of the Opposition to do that and to explain to the people of this
country how he proposes to honour his promise—which he made repeatedly—and deliver on the will
of the people and get Brexit done. Perhaps he will enlighten us now.
>> Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab): I join others who have expressed their deep
sadness at today's news that 39 people have been found dead in a lorry container in Grays.
Can we just think for a moment about what it must have been like for those 39 people,
obviously in a desperate and dangerous situation, to end their lives suffocated to death in
a container?
This is an unbelievable human tragedy, which happened in our country at this time. We clearly
need to look at the whole situation and look for answers to what has happened. I do, however,
also pay an enormous tribute to those in the emergency services who went to the scene to
deal with it. All of us should just think for a moment about what it is like to be a
police officer or a firefighter and about what it was like to open that container and
have to remove 39 bodies from it and deal with them in an appropriate and humane way.
We should just think for a moment about what inhumanity is done to other human beings at
this terrible moment.
Yesterday, before the Prime Minister decided to delay his own withdrawal Bill, he promised
to maintain— Let me finish. Before he decided to delay his own withdrawal Bill— If Members
care to look at Hansard, they will see what it says. The Prime Minister promised to maintain
environmental, consumer and workers' rights. Why, then, did he have those commitments removed
from the legally binding withdrawal agreement?
>> The Prime Minister: I do not think we could have been clearer
yesterday in our commitment to the highest possible standards for workers' rights and
environmental standards. Indeed, I think that one of the things that brought the House together
was the knowledge that, as we go forward and build our future partnership with the EU,
it will always be open to Members in all parts of the House to work together to ensure that
whatever the EU comes up with, we can match it and pass it into the law of this country.
That, I think, commanded a lot of support and a lot of assent across the House.
I must say that I find it peculiar that the right hon. Gentleman now wants the Bill back,
because he voted against it last night, and he whipped his entire party against it. I
think it remarkable that the House successfully defied his urgings and approved that deal.
What I think we would like to hear from him now is his commitment to getting Brexit done.
That is what the public want to hear, and I am afraid they are worried that all he wants
is a second referendum.
>> Jeremy Corbyn: The Prime Minister does not answer the question
that I put to him, which was about environmental, consumer and workers' rights. I am not surprised,
because he once said that “employment regulation” was “back-breaking”, and he voted for
the anti-Trade Union Act 2016, which stripped away employment protections. The provisions
in the Bill offer no real protection at all.
Yesterday, during the debate on the Bill, the Prime Minister pledged that the NHS was
safe in his hands. If that is the case, will he be backing our amendment in the Queen's
Speech debate tonight, which would undo the very damaging privatisation of so much of
our NHS?
>> The Prime Minister: The right hon. Gentleman is showing complete
ignoratio elenchi—a complete failure to study what we actually passed last night in
that historic agreement. It is very clear that it is open to the House to do better,
where it chooses, on animal welfare standards or social protections, as indeed this country
very often does. We lead the way: we are a groundbreaker in this country. I am afraid
to say that the right hon. Gentleman has no other purpose in seeking to frustrate Brexit
than to cause a second referendum.
As for the NHS, this is the party whose sound management of the economy took this country
back from the abyss and enabled us to spend another £34 billion on the NHS—a record
investment—and, as I promised on the steps of Downing Street, to
begin the upgrade of 20 hospitals, and as a result of the commitments this Government
are making, 40 new hospitals will be built in the next 10 years. That is this party's
commitment to the NHS.
>> Mr Speaker: Order. Mr Russell-Moyle, you are an incorrigible
individual, yelling from a sedentary position at the top of your voice at every turn. Calm
yourself man; take some sort of soothing medicament from which you will benefit.
>> Jeremy Corbyn: Two questions and we are still waiting for
an answer, although we could do with a translation of the first part of the Prime Minister's
I hate to break it to the Prime Minister, but under his Government and that of his predecessor,
privatisation has more than doubled to £10 billion in our NHS. There are currently 20
NHS contracts out to tender, and when he promised 40 hospitals, he then reduced that to 20,
and then it turns out that reconfiguration is taking place in just six hospitals. So
these numbers keep tumbling down for the unfunded spending commitments that he liberally makes
around the country.
The Prime Minister continues to say that he will exclude our NHS from being up for grabs
in future trade deals. Can he point to which clause in the withdrawal agreement Bill secures
>> The Prime Minister: The right hon. Gentleman is completely wrong
in what he says about privatisation of the NHS, and I must resist this, because those
40 new hospitals and those 47,000 extra clinical staff, including 17,000 nurses, were not paid
for out of private funds; they were paid for by the NHS, and the reason we are able to
pay for them is because the Conservative party and this Government believe in sound management
of the economy—not recklessly putting up corporation tax, not recklessly wrecking the
economy and renationalising companies in the way that he would do.
The right hon. Gentleman asks about the NHS in any future free trade deal, and I understand
his visceral dislike of America and his visceral dislike of free trade.
>> Jeremy Corbyn: I actually asked the Prime Minister which
clause in the Bill protects our NHS, and obviously there is time for him to help us with an answer
on that. He should also be aware that no public capital allocations have been made for the
funding commitments that he has announced; all he is said is that there is seed funding.
I am not sure what seed funding is, but it does not sound like the commitment we were
seeking, and it sounds awfully like private finance going into the NHS to deal with the
issues it faces.
Less than one year ago, the Prime Minister said that any
“regulatory checks and…customs controls between Great Britain and Northern Ireland”
would damage
“the fabric of the Union”.
Given that this deal clearly does damage the fabric of the Union, does he still agree with
>> The Prime Minister: I know that this was raised many times in
the House yesterday, and I believe that the Union is preserved, and indeed we are able
to go forward together as one United Kingdom and do free trade deals in a way that would
have been impossible under previous deals. This is a great advance for the whole UK,
and we intend to develop that together with our friends in Northern Ireland. But I must
say to the right hon. Gentleman and indeed his colleagues on the Front Bench that I think
it is a bit rich to hear from him about his sentimental attachment to the fabric of the
Union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland when he has spent most of his political lifetime
supporting the IRA and those who would destroy it by violence.
>> Jeremy Corbyn: The Prime Minister has a habit of not answering
any questions put to him. Northern Ireland will remain on single market rules within
the EU on goods and agricultural products, and the rest of the UK will not. As the right
hon. Member for East Antrim (Sammy Wilson) pointed out yesterday, that will create a
very real border down the Irish sea, which the Prime Minister told a DUP conference,
in terms, he would never do—and it was not that long ago; it might have been when he
was trying to become the Tory party leadCowaner.
The Prime Minister told the House on Saturday there would be no checks on goods moving between
Northern Ireland and Great Britain, yet yesterday the Brexit Secretary confirmed to the Lords
European Union Committee that Northern Irish businesses sending goods to Britain would
have to complete export declaration forms. Is the Prime Minister right on this, or is
the Brexit Secretary right? They cannot both be right.
>> The Prime Minister: Let us be absolutely clear that the United
Kingdom is preserved, whole and entire, by these arrangements, and indeed the whole of
the UK will be allowed to come out of the European Union customs union so that we can
do free trade deals together. There will be no checks between Northern Ireland and GB,
and there will be no tariffs between Northern Ireland and GB, because we have protected
the customs union. This lachrymose defence of the Union comes a little ill from somebody
who not only campaigned to break up the Union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland
by his support of the IRA but also wants to spend the whole of the next year not just
on a referendum on the EU but on another referendum on Scotland. That is what he wants. This is
the threat to our United Kingdom—on the Labour Front Bench.
>> Jeremy Corbyn: I really do wonder whether the Prime Minister
has read clause 21 of his own Bill. The Good Friday agreement was one of the greatest achievements
of this House, led by a Labour Government at that time. The Prime Minister unlawfully
prorogued Parliament. He said he would refuse to comply with the law. He threw Northern
Ireland under a bus. He ripped up protections for workers' rights and environmental standards,
lost every vote along the way and tried to prevent genuine democratic scrutiny and debate.
He once said that “the whole withdrawal Bill, as signed by the previous Prime Minister,
is a terrible treaty”, yet this deal is even worse than that. Even if he is not that
familiar with it, does the Prime Minister accept that Parliament should have the necessary
time to improve on this worse-than-terrible treaty?
>> The Prime Minister: It is this Government and this party that
deliver on the mandate of the people. I listened carefully to what the right hon. Gentleman
just said, but has he said it before. They said we could not open the withdrawal agreement,
and we did. They said we could not get rid of the backstop, and we did. They said we
could not get a new deal, and we did. Then they said that we would never get it through
Parliament, and they did their utmost to stop it going through Parliament, but we got it
through Parliament last night. This is the party and this is the Government that deliver
on their promises. We said we would put 20,000 more police officers on the streets of this
country, and we are. We said we would upgrade 20 hospitals, and we are. We said we would
upgrade and uplift education funding around the whole country, and, even more than that,
we are increasing the minimum wage, the living wage, by the biggest amount since its inception.
This is the party that delivers on Brexit and delivers on the priorities of the British
>> Hon. Members: More!
>> Mr Speaker: Order. There will be more—colleagues can
be entirely assured of that.
>> Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes) (Con): What plans he has to (a) encourage investment
in and (b) improve the transport infrastructure of northern Lincolnshire.
>> The Prime Minister: We will invest in infrastructure in every
corner of the UK, including spending £13 billion on transport in the north of the country.
>> Martin Vickers: I thank my right hon. Friend for his reply.
Three things that would encourage investment in northern Lincolnshire and boost the local
economy are free port status for the Humber ports, improved access to those ports by upgrading
the A15 between Lincoln and the A180, and improved east-west rail freight connections.
Will my right hon. Friend confirm his support for those proposals?
>> The Prime Minister: I can indeed confirm support for those proposals.
I well remember meeting my hon. Friend and his constituents in a corridor in Portcullis
House, and they raised with me the issue of the railway crossing at Suggitt's Lane.
I assure my hon. Friend that Suggitt's Lane is never far from my thoughts and that, in
addition to the other pledges I have made today, I have undertakings from the Department
of Transport that it will seek to find a solution and a safe means for pedestrians to cross
that railway line.
>> Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) (SNP):
The loss of life that we have learned about this morning in Essex—39 people taken from
this earth—should distress us all, and we need to dwell on the fact that it happened
in the United Kingdom: people put themselves in such situations in the search of a better
life. We must not just brush it off as an incident. We have to learn the lessons of
why it happened. Our thoughts and prayers must be with everyone, including those from
the emergency services who have had to experience this most shocking sight this morning. We
need more than just warm words and that being the end of it. As a humanity, we must learn
from this terrible, terrible tragedy.
Within the last hour, the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales joined forces to oppose
this Tory Government's damaging Brexit Bill—a Bill that risks jobs, opportunities and our
entire economic future. Scotland did not vote for this toxic Tory Brexit or any Brexit.
It voted overwhelmingly to remain. Will the Prime Minister stop ignoring Scotland and
confirm today that he will not allow this Bill to pass unless consent is given by the
Scottish Parliament—yes or no?
>> The Prime Minister: I note carefully what the right hon. Gentleman
has to say, but, as he knows, the Scottish Parliament has no role in approving this deal.
On the contrary, it is up to the Members of this Parliament to approve the deal. I am
delighted to say that they did, although it did not proceed with the support of many Scottish
nationalist MPs—[Interruption.] Or any of them. But if he really still disagrees with
this deal and with the way forward, may I propose to him that he has a word with the
other Opposition parties and joins our support for a general election to settle the matter?
>> Ian Blackford: There we have it. The legislative consent
of the Scottish Parliament is meaningless in the Prime Minister's eyes. So much for
the respect agenda, and so much for the message in 2014 that we were to lead the United Kingdom
and that this was a Union of equals—torn asunder by the disrespect of this Prime Minister—[Interruption.]
Well, Conservative Members do not like the truth, but the people of Scotland have heard
it from the Prime Minister today: our Parliament does not matter. That is what this Prime Minister
thinks of our Government in Scotland.
Last night, the Prime Minister was yet again defeated by this House. He said that he would
pull his Bill, but he has not. He wants Scotland to trust him, but how can we? Fired twice
for lying, found unlawful by the courts, the Prime Minister has sold Scotland out time
and again. Parliament and Scotland cannot trust this Prime Minister. If he so desperately
wants an election, Europe is willing and waiting, so what is stopping him? He must now secure
a meaningful extension and bring on a general election. Let the Scottish people decide our
future in Scotland.
>> The Prime Minister: Well, what an exciting development! Perhaps
the right hon. Gentleman might pass some of his courage down the line.
On the point the right hon. Gentleman raises about our commitment to the Union, he should
know that, thanks to Scotland's membership of the Union, Scotland this year received
the biggest ever block grant—£1.2 billion—with £200 million more secured for Scottish farming
thanks to the hard work of Scottish Conservative MPs. Who is letting down Scotland? It is the
Scottish National party, with its lackadaisical Government: the highest taxes anywhere in
the UK; declining educational standards; inadequate healthcare; and a European policy that would
take Scotland back into the EU and hand back control of Scotland's fish to Brussels.
If that is their manifesto, I look forward to contesting it with them at the polls.
>> Sir David Amess (Southend West) (Con): When my right hon. Friend was seeking to become
leader of the Conservative party, I was possibly the only one of our colleagues who asked him
for anything in return for their support. [Interruption.] I am being charitable. I asked
him for three things: first, that he would get Brexit done; secondly, that he would make
me a duke, because my wife fancies becoming a duchess; and, finally, something on which
the Leader of the Opposition certainly agrees with me, which is that Southend becomes a
city. When will these things happen?
>> The Prime Minister: I am very grateful to my hon. Friend for his
support. I can say to him that our policy remains unchanged: we should leave the EU
on 31 October, at the end of this month. We will leave the EU on 31 October if Opposition
Members will comply. That is what I will say to the EU, and I will report back to the House
in due course. On his other two requests of a—
>> Mr Speaker: A duchess and a city.
>> The Prime Minister: On a duchess and a city, may I undertake to
report back to the House on the progress we are making, Mr Speaker?
>> Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) (Lab/Co-op): I wonder whether the Prime Minister has seen
the heart-breaking images of children being killed, mutilated and seriously injured on
the Syrian border. Given that the Turks are members of NATO and old allies of ours, that
we have fought with the Kurds, who are good and trusted friends, and that the United States
is a major ally of ours and the Prime Minister has a good relationship with Donald Trump,
will the right hon. Gentleman step up to the plate and show that the British Government
care about this and are willing to do something about it?
>> The Prime Minister: I thank the hon. Gentleman; he is absolutely
right to raise this issue. If I may say so, this is an appalling state of affairs, and
the House will be aware of what is happening in northern Syria. The British Government
have actively deplored this, and I have spoken twice to President Erdoğan on the matter,
both last weekend and this most recent weekend. I urged him to cease fire and for a standstill.
Everybody in the House shares the hon. Gentleman's feelings about the loss of civilian life.
It is particularly unsettling to see some of our close allies at variance. The UK is
working closely now, as he would expect, with our French and German friends to try to bring
an understanding to President Erdoğan of the risks that we think this policy is running,
and of course to persuade our American friends that we cannot simply turn a blind eye to
what is happening in Syria. The hon. Gentleman is entirely correct in what he said.
>> Jackie Doyle-Price (Thurrock) (Con): I am grateful for Members' comments about
the tragic events that unfolded in my constituency this morning. To put 39 people into a locked
metal container shows a contempt for human life that is evil. The best thing we can do
in memory of those victims is to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. Will
my right hon. Friend join me in paying tribute to all those who attended the scene this morning
and showed incredible leadership and professionalism? Let us remember that the scenes they witnessed
will stay with them forever.
>> The Prime Minister: I entirely agree with what my hon. Friend
and, indeed, other colleagues in the Chamber have already said. As the Leader of the Opposition
said, it is hard to put ourselves in the shoes of those members of the emergency services
as they were asked to open that container and expose the appalling crime that had taken
place. I share my hon. Friend's strong desire that the perpetrators of that crime—indeed,
all those who engage in similar activity, because we know that this trade is going on—and
all such traders in human beings should be hunted down and brought to justice.
>> Brendan O'Hara (Argyll and Bute) (SNP): In a dispute, diametrically opposed outcomes
cannot be equally beneficial for both sides. If the Prime Minister's great deal is so
good for Northern Ireland's seafood producers because it allows them access to the single
market and customs union, how would he describe his deal for the shellfish producers of my
Argyll and Bute constituency, who fish in the same waters for exactly the same catch
but will not have access to the single market and customs union? One has a great deal; what
does the other one have?
>> The Prime Minister: The fishing communities of Scotland will have
a fantastic opportunity, by the end of next year, to take back control of their entire
coastal waters—all 200 miles of them—and to manage their fisheries in the interests
of Scotland and thereby drive an even better deal for even better access to European markets.
That opportunity would be wantonly thrown away by the abject, servile policy of the
SNP, which would hand back control of Scottish fishing to Brussels.
>> Mr Kenneth Clarke (Rushcliffe) (Ind): Yesterday, my right hon. Friend achieved the
first landmark of his premiership by getting the House to vote, by a comfortable majority,
in favour of Brexit. If he now proceeds in the reasonable and statesmanlike way I would
hope for, he can go on to deliver Brexit in a month or two's time, before having a general
election on the sensible basis of a mandate for a Government on the fuller negotiations
that will follow. Will my right hon. Friend get over his disappointment and accept that
31 October is now just Halloween, devoid of any symbolic or political content, and will
rapidly fade away into historical memory? Having reflected, will he let us know that
he is about to table a reasonable timetable motion, so that the House can complete the
task of finalising the details of the withdrawal Bill? We can then move on, on a basis that
might begin to reunite the nation once again for the future.
>> The Prime Minister: My right hon. and learned Friend makes a reasonable
case; alas, we cannot know what the EU will do in response to the request from Parliament—I
stress that it was not my request but a request from Parliament—to ask for a delay. We await
the EU's reaction to Parliament's request for a delay.
I must respectfully disagree with my right hon. and learned Friend, perhaps not for the
first time, because I think it would still be very much in the best interests of this
country and of democracy to get Brexit done by 31 October. I will wait to see what our
EU friends and partners say in response not only to the request for a delay from Parliament
but to Parliament's insistence that it wants a delay. I do not think the people of this
country want a delay and I do not want a delay. I intend to press on, but I am afraid we now
have to see what our EU friends will decide on our behalf. That is the result of the decision
that the Leader of the Opposition took last night.
>> Jonathan Reynolds (Stalybridge and Hyde) (Lab/Co-op):
The National Farmers Union reported this week that 16 million apples have rotted away, because
the immigrant workers that normally pick them for the country have chosen not to come. Immigration
was clearly a big part of the EU referendum, and the Prime Minister has promised a points-based
system, but that is not going to allow for people coming here to pick fruit. What does
he intend to do to stop the scandal of British food rotting away in the fields?
>> The Prime Minister: To the best of my knowledge, there are more
EU nationals living and working in this country than ever before, and, in many ways, that
is a great thing, but we have, as the hon. Gentleman knows, the EU national settlement
scheme to encourage people to come forward to register if they are in any doubt about
their status. We will bring forward an Australian-style, points-based immigration system to make sure
that all sectors have access to the labour they need.
>> Penny Mordaunt (Portsmouth North) (Con): I congratulate the Prime Minister on achieving
so many things that the establishment said were impossible. In the light of that, may
I ask him to instruct the Cabinet Office to examine how we can bring an end to male primogeniture
and the ridiculous rules in the honours system that value women less than men—hopefully
before he makes good on his undertakings to my hon. Friend the Member for Southend West
(Sir David Amess)?
>> The Prime Minister: Speaking as the oldest son who has never seen
any particular benefits from that rule, I understand completely what my right hon. Friend
says. I will reflect on her request. I think that she speaks for many people around the
country who wish to see fairness and equality in the way we do these things
>> Ronnie Cowan (Inverclyde) (SNP): There are families across the United Kingdom
who have children suffering from epilepsy. Many have found that medical cannabis is a
great help, but they have been driven either to act unlawfully or to pay huge sums of money
to gain access to medical cannabis. The Secretary of State for Health stated on 19 March that
in several months' time it will be made available. End Our Pain wrote to the Prime
Minister on 19 September and is still to receive an answer. When will the Prime Minister take
the necessary action required to ensure that those children can access medical cannabis
legally and at no cost?
>> The Prime Minister: I understand that people who require the medical
use of cannabis are going through desperate difficulties, and, of course, it is right
that we have changed the way we do things. The chief medical officer and NHS England
have made it clear that cannabis-based products can be prescribed for medicinal use. It must
be up to doctors to decide when it is in the best interests of their patients to do so.
I can tell that the hon. Gentleman does not find my answer satisfactory, so I will take
up the matter personally with him and with the Secretary of State for Health so that
he gets the satisfaction that he needs, and, more importantly, his constituent gets the
reassurance they need.
>> Sir Alan Duncan (Rutland and Melton) (Con): When a high-profile person has been wrongly
accused of a sexual crime and has had his livelihood and reputation destroyed, following
which the police, it seems, would rather fight him in court than compensate him, might the
Prime Minister consider making it clear to the police that it is their duty to address
injustice rather than create and perpetuate it and that they should pay compensation rather
than waste taxpayers' money on malicious litigation designed to avoid doing so?
>> The Prime Minister: Yes, I completely agree. There is obviously
a very difficult balance to be struck, because clearly we do not wish in any way to discourage
the police from investigating and prosecuting offences, wherever they may be and no matter
how high in office the people in question may be. None the less, where the police do
get it wrong and where they have manifestly got it wrong, there should be a duty on them
not just to apologise, but to make amends.
>> Mr Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) (Lab): When is the Prime Minister going to sort out
the difference between the BBC and the Government in relation to his party's manifesto commitment
at the last general election to maintain free television licences for the over-75s? When
is something going to be done about this?
>> The Prime Minister: The BBC has the funds, as the hon. Gentleman
knows full well, and it should be funding those free TV licences. We continue to make
that argument vigorously with the BBC. The hon. Gentleman asks me to put the screws on
the BBC. Believe me, we certainly will.
>> Lucy Allan (Telford) (Con): Telford needs its A&E and its women and
children's centre. The town will have a population of 200,000 within the next 10 years.
It is a new town—a former mining town—with pockets of deprivation and poor health outcomes
and, while funding is being pumped into the affluent county town of Shrewsbury some 20
miles away, Telford is losing vital services. Will my right hon. Friend reverse the decision
of the Health Secretary to approve this plan, and urge him to listen to the needs and concerns
of my constituents and the representatives of the local area?
>> The Prime Minister: As I have seen myself, my hon. Friend is a
battler for the people of Telford; she does a great deal of good work for them. As a first
step, my right hon. Friend the Health Secretary has called on the A&E at the Princess
Royal Hospital to stay open as a local A&E, but has asked the NHS to come forward with
further proposals for better healthcare in Telford. However, I will certainly take up
my hon. Friend's further points with him.
>> Chris Elmore (Ogmore) (Lab): The elderly and vulnerable are more at risk
from scamming than ever before, and just this week Age UK has highlighted that the Government's
decision to scrap free TV licences for the over-75s will put them at further risk of
scamming; it is expecting fraudsters to collect the licence fee, door to door, once the Government's
decision has been implemented. Will the Prime Minister please prioritise the economic crime
that scamming is, give the police the funding they need to investigate and prosecute these
crimes, and reverse his decision to scrap free TV licences for the over-75s?
>> The Prime Minister: I must correct the hon. Gentleman, who just
said this is our decision. It is the decision of the BBC. [Interruption.] No, come on, Opposition
Members should be clear about what is happening. It is up to the BBC to fund these licences.
The hon. Gentleman's point about scamming is a reasonable one. We will ensure that we
give people the protection and security they need—not least through another 20,000 police
officers on the streets of our country.
>> Mr Speaker: Given that there is widespread sadness that
the very popular and respected hon. Member for Watford (Richard Harrington) will be standing
down at the next general election, it gives me great pleasure to call him now.
>> Richard Harrington (Watford) (Ind): Thank you, Mr Speaker; it gives me great pleasure
to be called. As you have pointed out, this may unfortunately be my penultimate Prime
Minister's questions and will unfortunately be your penultimate Prime Minister's questions,
but I hope that it will not be my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's penultimate
Prime Minister's questions.
Is the Prime Minister aware that many Members who, like me, voted for his Bill last night
but voted against the programme motion would be delighted to accept a reasonable compromise
for the proper scrutiny of the Bill, and that this was not a vote for revocation in disguise?
>> The Prime Minister: I thank my hon. Friend for his support. I
thought he was going to ask about the hospital in Watford, which I am delighted to say is
going to be rebuilt, along with many others across the country. I congratulate him on
being the Conservative Member of Parliament for Watford. I am delighted with all the work
he has done for his constituency.
On the Bill, I am delighted that the House voted in favour of it. Unfortunately, as I
say, it willed the end but not the means. The House of Commons has, alas, voted to delay
Brexit again. We must now see what the EU says about that request for a delay, and I
will be studying its answer very closely to see how we proceed.
>> Catherine West (Hornsey and Wood Green) (Lab):
Last Saturday, Haringey Borough football club players experienced racist slurs, were spat
upon, and experienced the most disgusting behaviour during a grassroots football match.
Will the Prime Minister congratulate the manager, Tom Loizou, on taking the players off, which
was a very courageous decision, and can he explain to the House why bigotry has been
emboldened under the current Government?
>> The Prime Minister: I was with the hon. Lady until her last point.
I certainly think that racism in football is utterly disgusting and should be stamped
out at every possible opportunity. She will have seen what happened in Bulgaria. I am
delighted to say that the head of the Bulgarian football association was dismissed from his
position as a result of what happened in that match. We will certainly be making sure that
we do everything we can to stamp out racism of any kind, wherever it takes place in this
society and whatever form it takes.
>> Kirstene Hair (Angus) (Con): Connectivity across Angus is one of the most
urgent issues in my constituency and I want to see full coverage: mobile roll-out throughout
my constituency. I therefore wholeheartedly support the shared rural network initiative,
which is a joint initiative between the Government and the four main mobile providers ensuring
that we have masts in “not spot” areas and reciprocal agreements between the operators
to ensure that my constituents, and constituents across the United Kingdom, have that access.
Will the Prime Minister assure me that he understands that connectivity is a top priority
in Angus, and will he ensure that the funding that needs to go into this initiative to get
it going will be given?
>> The Prime Minister: Once again, the voice of Scotland—the voice
of Angus. I thank my hon. Friend very much. We are indeed engaged in not just levelling
up the provision of gigabit broadband across the whole of the country but improving the
4G mobile signal as well. It is our ambition to have 95% of the UK covered by the 4G mobile
signal. We have made changes to the regulations and the planning laws to make it easier for
the infrastructure to be put in place—and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor has just
assured me that her particular request is going to be addressed.
>> Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith) (Lab): The Mayor of London has cut air pollution
in central London by a third in the first six months of his ultra low emission zone.
Does the Prime Minister support the Mayor's plan to expand that zone and does he still
oppose the third runway at Heathrow that will reverse these gains?
>> The Prime Minister: I am as scandalised as the hon. Gentleman
about the failure of the Mayor of London to improve air quality, if that is what I understood
him to have just said. When I was Mayor of London, just to pick a period entirely at
random, we cut NOx—nitrous oxide—emissions by, I think, 16% and we cut particulates by
20%. I can tell the hon. Gentleman that this Government have the most far-reaching ambitions
of any society in the EU to improve air quality. As for the Heathrow third runway, it remains
the case that I have lively doubts about the ability of the promoters of that scheme, as
I think he does, to meet standards on air quality and noise emissions, and we will have
to see how the courts adjudicate in that matter.
>> Bob Blackman (Harrow East) (Con): In this House, we defend forever the right
to peaceful protest, yet on 15 August, and just three weeks ago, pro-Pakistani organisations
held violent protests outside the Indian high commission. This Sunday, there is the threat
of 10,000 people being brought to demonstrate outside the Indian high commission on Diwali—the
most holy day for Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. What action will the Government take to prevent
violent protests this Sunday?
>> The Prime Minister: I join my hon. Friend, who speaks strongly
and well for his constituency, in deploring demonstrations that end up being intimidating
in any way. He will understand that this is a police operational matter, but I have just
been speaking to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, and she will be raising it
with the police. We must all be clear in this House that violence and intimidation anywhere
in this country are wholly unacceptable.
>> Mike Amesbury (Weaver Vale) (Lab): Eight consultations on, and millions of people
are still caught by the leasehold scandal. At what stage are the Prime Minister and his
Government going to get a grip and end this feudal system once and for all?
>> The Prime Minister: I thank the hon. Gentleman, because he raises
something that is of great importance to all our constituents. We are delivering a strong
package of reforms. We will legislate to ban new leasehold houses, reduce future ground
rents to zero in all but exceptional circumstances and close the legal loopholes that currently
subject leaseholders to unacceptable costs. He raises a very important issue, and believe
me, we are on it right now.
>> Mrs Anne Main (St Albans) (Con): A toxic and carcinogenic bromate plume is
threatening my constituency. There are plans to drill a new gravel quarry in Smallford,
which may disturb the plume and cause it to enter the watercourses. Will the Prime Minister
use his good offices to ensure that the Environment Agency does not allow quarrying on this gravel
pit until the toxicity of the bromate plume has been fully assessed?
>> The Prime Minister: I thank my hon. Friend for raising that point
about the toxic bromate plume, which reminds me of the emanations we sometimes hear from
parts of this House. I will get on immediately to the Environment Secretary and ensure that
she takes it up.
>> Naz Shah (Bradford West) (Lab): Women who face sexual abuse often stay silent
and suffer alone. They blame themselves for the shame and guilt that they feel. They break
down and cry alone because they feel that no one will ever believe them, and they fear
repercussions if they speak out. The fear of not being believed means that brave women
put on a smile and go about their daily lives, an example of which we heard from my hon.
Friend the Member for Canterbury (Rosie Duffield). That silence provides the perpetrators of
the abuse with the get-out-of-jail card they need. Today, I ask the most powerful man in
the United Kingdom one simple question: does he agree that any woman who is subjected to
sexual abuse of any kind should be believed—yes or no?
>> The Prime Minister: The hon. Lady raises a crucial issue that
many people in this country feel is not being sufficiently addressed. That is one of the
reasons we have expanded the provision of independent domestic violence advisers and
independent sexual abuse advisers. Every woman in this country who is a victim or a potential
victim of domestic violence or sexual abuse should have the certainty of knowing that
there is somewhere she can go and someone she can turn to for reassurance and support.
It is vital that, as a society, we ensure that. I do not believe that, as a country,
we are doing enough to bring rapists to justice. The level of successful prosecutions for the
crime of rape is frankly inadequate, and I wish to raise that with the criminal justice
system, because I have looked at the numbers, and they are not going in the right direction.
Women must have confidence that crimes of domestic violence and sexual abuse are treated
seriously by our law enforcement system.
>> Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay) (Con): I know that the Prime Minister, like me, is
a big supporter of Spaceport Cornwall, where we aim to launch satellites into space from
Europe's first horizontal spaceport by 2021. To achieve that, we need Government agencies
to ensure that the contracts and regulations are in place. Will he ensure that the UK Space
Agency and the Civil Aviation Authority have the resources they need and work at pace to
make the most of this exciting opportunity?
>> The Prime Minister: I congratulate my hon. Friend on what he is
doing to promote the prospects of the new spaceport in Newquay which this Government
are constructing; he is doing an outstanding job. I think we all have a favourite candidate
for the person who is best placed to trial one of the new vessels that we propose to
send into space. If it is a horizontal spaceport, I am anxious that it will take off at a horizontal
trajectory, in which case, even if we were to recruit the right hon. Member for Islington
North (Jeremy Corbyn) to be the first pilot, there is a risk that he would end up somewhere
else on earth—maybe Venezuela would be a good destination.
>> Stewart Hosie (Dundee East) (SNP): Mr Speaker,“I would vote to stay in the
single market. I'm in favour of the single market,”and if the European Union did not
exist, we would have to “invent” it. Those are not my words—they are the Prime Minister's.
What was it about the trappings of power that led him to abandon reason, embrace Brexit
and put so many jobs, so much trade and so much prosperity at risk across these islands?
>> The Prime Minister: As I said in the House on Saturday, there
are clearly two schools of thought—two sides of the British psyche—when it comes to this
issue. The House has been divided, just as the country has been divided. I happen to
think that, after 47 years of EU membership, in the context of an intensifying federalist
agenda in the EU, we have a chance now to make a difference to our national destiny
and to seek a new and better future, as a proud, independent, open, generous, global
free-trading economy. That is what we can do. That is the opportunity that this country
has, and I hope very much that the hon. Gentleman will support it and help us to deliver Brexit,
deliver on the mandate of the people and get it done by 31 October.
>> Douglas Ross (Moray) (Con): Last week saw damaging US tariffs applied
to many iconic Moray products such as single malt Scotch whisky and shortbread. These industries
have nothing to do with the dispute between the US and the EU, so what are the Government
and the Prime Minister doing to get those tariffs removed as quickly as possible?
>> The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend campaigns valiantly on that
issue, and he is absolutely right. Both the Chancellor of the Exchequer and I have raised
the matter personally with our counterparts in the United States. It is a rank injustice
that Scotch whisky is being penalised in this way, and we hope that those tariffs will be
withdrawn as soon as possible, but it has been raised repeatedly at the highest level.
>> Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD): I would like to associate myself and my Liberal
Democrat colleagues with the remarks made earlier about the horrific deaths of 39 people
in Essex.
It is good manners to say thank you when our friends help us out, so would the Prime Minister
like to express his gratitude to the 19 Labour MPs who voted for his deal last night and
to the Leader of the Opposition for meeting him this morning to help push through his
bad Brexit deal?
>> The Prime Minister: I am grateful to the hon. Lady for giving
me that opportunity, and I do indeed express my gratitude, as I think I did last night.
I am happy to repeat that today, for the avoidance of doubt, to all Members of the House who
have so far joined the movement to get Brexit done and deliver on the mandate of the people.
I do not think I can yet count her in that number. Perhaps I could ask her, in return,
to cease her missions to Brussels, where, to the best to my knowledge, she has been
asking them not to give us a deal. That was a mistake. They have given us an excellent
deal, and I hope that, in the cross-party spirit that she supports, she will endorse
the deal.
>> Mr Khalid Mahmood (Birmingham, Perry Barr) (Lab):
On a point of order, Mr Speaker.
>> Mr Speaker: I say to the hon. Gentleman in all courtesy
that points of order come later. I am playing for time, as Members beetle out of the Chamber,
before I call the Home Secretary. I merely note en passant that there is a distinguished
orthodontist observing our proceedings today, accompanied by his splendid wife—I wish
them a warm welcome to the House of Commons; it is good to see them. Momentarily, when
Members have completed their beetling out of the Chamber quickly and quietly, we will
be able to proceed with the statement by the Secretary of State for the Home Department.
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Prime Minister's Questions: 23 October 2019

289 Folder Collection
frank published on October 30, 2019
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