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House of Commons Hansard
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Business of the House
07 June 2018
Volume 642

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Will the Leader of the House please give us the forthcoming business?

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The business for next week will be:

Monday 11 June—Second Reading of the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill.

Tuesday 12 June—Consideration of Lords amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (day 1).

Wednesday 13 June—Conclusion of consideration of Lords amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (day 2).

Thursday 14 June—Debate on a motion on the 70th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks. The subject of this debate was determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

Friday 15 June—Private Members’ Bills.

The provisional business for the week commencing 18 June will include:

Monday 18 June—Consideration of Lords amendments to the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, followed by general debate on acquired brain injury.

In addition to the business next week, colleagues will be keen to know when the Trade Bill and the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill will next be debated in the Commons. I agree that we must hold these debates as soon as possible, so I would like to update the House by saying that these Bills will come forward by mid-July at the latest. Every week I look very carefully at the progress we are making on all legislation, and I am pleased that the return of those Bills, along with the return to this House of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, demonstrate continued progress towards ensuring that we have a fully functioning statute book when we leave the EU. As Leader of the House, my absolute priority is to give Parliament the time it needs to debate and scrutinise these important pieces of legislation at every stage. I will continue to do exactly that as further progress is made.

This has been a particularly sporting week for Parliament. I was delighted to hear that the Commons have been triumphant against the Lords. I am, of course, talking about the Jo Cox memorial tug of war match on Tuesday in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Yesterday, however, MPs were less successful at the UNICEF and Department for International Development Soccer Aid tournament, with the Press Lobby emerging victorious. Huge congratulations to everyone who took part in support of some great causes.

Finally, I hope to see many women from across the House joining the Processions march on Sunday. Women and girls in London, Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh will march through the streets in the colours of the suffrage movement to mark the centenary of equal votes. I am definitely looking forward to it.

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I thank the Leader of the House for the forthcoming business.

I just cannot believe what I have heard. What a mess; what a shambles! The Government were briefing before Whitsun that there would be three days of debate on the withdrawal Bill. They then briefed this week that there would be one day—only 12 hours on Tuesday—and now the Leader of the House announces two days. Could we see the programme motion through the usual channels so that we will know how long we have on each of the two days?

This Government cannot handle democracy. The Leader of the House was one of those who said that we should bring back sovereignty to Parliament, but there is no say for Parliament. The Government tell us to be grateful for 12 hours and then to be grateful for two days, but the Opposition asked for four days. This is the most important piece of legislation that will affect our country and, most importantly, future generations—those young people who voted overwhelmingly to remain. There are 196 amendments from the other place, including 14 important amendments defeating the Government’s intransigent position. Giving even two days of debate is no way to treat a parliamentary democracy; it hardly gives a chance for all Members to take part in the debate. The Government are still working out their position; oh no, 12.30—that is when they decide their position. We are two years on from the referendum, with two Council meetings to go. Yes, we voted to leave, but it is our duty to negotiate what is in the best interests of the country, based on evidence.

I do not know whether the Leader of the House is aware of the written parliamentary questions on Vote Leave that have been tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich East (Tom Watson), the deputy Leader of the Opposition. Does she know when the Electoral Commission report on electoral fraud in the Vote Leave campaign will be published?

The Brexit Secretary said that he may resign—not. The Prime Minister said

“we want to publish a White Paper” —[Official Report, 6 June 2018; Vol. 642, c. 298.]

But she cannot or will not say when, and she refused to answer the Leader of the Opposition’s question. Perhaps the Leader of the House can tell us when the White Paper will be published. The Leader of the Opposition, the shadow Brexit Secretary and the shadow Northern Ireland Secretary have all visited the border. When will the Prime Minister visit the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic?

The Government cannot even handle running the economy. GDP figures show that UK growth in the first three months of the year has hit a five-year low of 0.1%. Household spending rose by only 0.2%—the weakest in more than three years. Where is the Chancellor? May we have a debate on the effects of Brexit on the economy? Why is the economy shrinking?

The Government are not even fiscally competent. Let us take the sale of Royal Bank of Scotland. Tell me if this is fiscally competent: the Government bought the shares for 502p each and sold them for 271p. That is £2.1 billion lost to the taxpayer, added to £1.9 billion lost in 2015—£4 billion in total. Is that fiscally competent? [Interruption.]

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Order. There is far too much noise. As someone who repeatedly implores Members of this House not to yell at each other but to treat each other with respect, I must repeat that exhortation now. The shadow Leader of the House must be heard, just as the Leader of the House was heard and must be heard. [Interruption.] Order. I am not interested in— [Interruption.] Order. The Whip standing at the end of the Chamber, the hon. Member for Tamworth (Christopher Pincher), must calm himself. His imprecations are of no interest or concern to the House at this time. If he does not like it, he is welcome to leave. We can perfectly well get on without him.

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Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Prem Sikka of Essex University said:

“Why sell? Taxpayers bailed out the bank and when there is a glimpse of recovery and profits, the government sells it at a loss to ensure that profits are collected by its friends in the City.”

Those are the words of someone who works at Essex University—or is it waffle? Now the Government intend to open the National Fund, a charity fund established 90 years ago on the condition that it stays untouched until it is large enough to pay off the entire national debt. May we have a statement on what the Government are going to do to the National Fund?

The Government cannot handle democracy, the economy or the rule of law. The courts have decided that the confidence and supply agreement must be voted on by Parliament. If the Leader of the House really believes in the sovereignty of Parliament, will she give time for that debate on the Floor of the House?

On Saturday, we celebrate our gracious sovereign’s official birthday with the trooping of the colour parade. I think that people will have recognised that, at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the Queen was wearing suffragette colours.

Of course, today we remember Lady Wilson, the extraordinary wife of a great Labour Prime Minister, who died this week. Our condolences go to her family and to the wider Labour family.

The Lord Speaker was a gracious host to the 42nd Richard Dimbleby lecture given by Professor Jeanette Winterson—it is well worth watching on BBC iPlayer. I attended that brilliant lecture. She was thought provoking, funny and inspiring in equal measure, but she also reminded us that there is much to be done to get true equality.

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I join the hon. Lady in marking the trooping of the colour this weekend. I join her in noting that it did look extraordinarily as though Her Majesty was wearing suffragette colours at the recent royal wedding. That was a great delight to all of us.

I also note the passing of Lady Wilson, at a fine age to have reached, and all her achievements. Notably, I saw that she opposed her husband’s view on the UK joining the European Community, which was not something of which I had been aware before. I, too, commend Jeanette Winterson, whom I had the pleasure of meeting recently. I found her very thought-provoking—a very interesting woman.

I am afraid that that is about all I can agree on with the hon. Lady today. In answer to her first points about the announcement of business, as she knows, confirmed business is announced at business questions by me in response to a question by her. That is how it is and continues to be, and that is how it is today. She can talk all she likes about things she has seen in the press, but the business has been announced today as it always is.

As the hon. Lady will know, programme motions are usually tabled by the rise of the House on the day before the relevant item of business is due to be taken. I do hope that we will be in a position to provide more notice than that. I am trying to be as helpful as possible to colleagues so that people can see exactly what the plans are with sufficient time to be able to prepare themselves.

The hon. Lady talks about insufficient time for debate on Lords amendments. Collectively, Parliament has spent 258 hours debating the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill—88 of them in the Commons and 170 in the Lords. Across both Houses, 1,390 amendments have been tabled, of which 1,171 were non-Government amendments. We are now providing a further two days for consideration of Lords amendments on subjects that have already been discussed and voted upon in this Chamber.

The hon. Lady asked when the Government will set out their response to the Lords amendments. I can assure her that the Government will set out their approach to the Lords amendments in good time, whether that is in Government amendments, motions to disagree or other propositions.

As for the hon. Lady’s comments on the economy, she is completely wrong. [[Interruption.] She is chatting, so she is obviously not interested in the truth. The reality of the economy is that employment is up to another record high. Unemployment is down to a 40-year low. Real wages are rising. UK exports rose by nearly 10% in the last year, to a new record high. We saw the highest growth in investment spending in the G7 last year. Our day-to-day spending is in surplus for the first time in 16 years, since 2001-02, and we have the lowest net borrowing in over a decade. Our economy has grown for the last eight consecutive years. She is utterly wrong in her assertions about our economy.

Finally, the hon. Lady talked about the sale of RBS, which just defies belief. RBS was bailed out by the taxpayer on her Government’s watch, when her Government had been responsible for appalling oversight of the financial sector. The financial crash was in no small part due to appallingly soft regulation, which her Government presided over. This Government and this party have sorted out the mess left by her Government, including in returning RBS, which would have otherwise failed, to a position of health, from where we can start to give this money back to the taxpayer. She should welcome that and not condemn it, and the fact that she does not merely goes to show how little the Labour party understands how economic works.

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Order. As the record shows, I try always to accommodate all colleagues with an interest in taking part in exchanges on the business question, and today will be no exception, but more than 30 colleagues are seeking so to do. I remind the House that there is the privilege motion to follow two Select Committee statements, and two debates to take place under the auspices of the Backbench Business Committee. There is therefore a premium on brevity from those on the Back and Front Benches alike, which I know will be brilliantly exemplified in the first instance by Justine Greening.

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Thank you, Mr Speaker. Can the Leader of the House set out when the airports national policy statement will be debated and voted on?

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The NPS was laid on 5 June and will be subject to a debate and vote in the House of Commons within 21 sitting days of laying the final NPS in Parliament. The last date that that can take place is 10 July 2018.[Official Report, 14 June 2018, Vol. 642, c. 6MC.]

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I thank the Leader of the House for announcing the business for next week. What an absolute and utter shambles presents itself today. First, we have a Cabinet that simply cannot agree, with all sorts of rumours that the Brexit Secretary is apparently on the point of walking. We do not need a backstop from this Government; we just need them to stop. This is not taking back control; this is taking back purgatory.

Secondly, I have no idea what will actually be going on next week with the repeal Bill. We have not seen a programme motion, and I do not know when we will. It looks like we will still have 12 hours, but just over two days. Can she confirm whether that will be the case? This is clearly unsatisfactory, particularly with a multitude of Lords amendments to consider. Our constituents will be rightly outraged at this appalling attempt to evade debate and scrutiny, with 12 hours reserved for 196 amendments, punctuated by possible breaks of 20 minutes or so, and 21 votable amendments, as we go round and round in circles with this archaic practice of a 20-minute headcount. That might be the only opportunity for the House to have a meaningful debate and vote on critical issues such as the single market and the customs union.

For Scotland, it is even worse. Amendments to our devolution settlement were designed and passed in the unelected House of Lords, while we, the directly elected Members from Scotland, have had no opportunity to debate, consider and scrutinise what has been designed in this place. May we have proper time for at least the devolution settlement?

One last thing: 650 Members of Parliament are quite likely to be exiting the House in the small hours of the morning next week, when there will be no public transport available at all, making an absolute mockery of all the security arrangements in this place. Has the Leader of the House no consideration for the safety of Members, and what will she do to ensure that we can vacate these premises safely?

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First, with great warmth may I congratulate the hon. Gentleman, who I understand was elected 17 years ago today? He is now the longest- serving Scottish MP—he obviously quite likes being in Westminster, even though he will not admit to it.

As I said to the hon. Member for Walsall South (Valerie Vaz) , a programme motion normally comes forward the day before a debate, but we will try to bring it forward earlier than that, to help colleagues who wish to prepare themselves. The hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) says that we are not allowing time for debate, but on the specific points he raised, on two occasions in this Chamber the Commons voted in favour of the Government and against including any statement of membership of the customs union in the Bill. We will be dealing with that amendment by their Lordships for the third time. The Commons also voted in favour of the Government and in support of removing the charter of fundamental rights from our law books, and the Commons again supported the Government on setting exit day in the Bill. There has already been considerable debate, and, as I set out, we will continue to provide time for further debate in this House next week.

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May we have an urgent debate on the national parks review, so that we can give a warm welcome to the appointed chair, Mr Julian Glover, who I know will do an excellent job? More importantly, we can also find out who has been appointed to the advisory panel, when the review will start, and when those results will be published.

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I join my right hon. Friend in welcoming the national parks review. I have no specific information on that matter right now, but if she would like to write to me I can certainly look into it for her.

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We are anticipating another two days of estimates day debates in early July, and the Backbench Business Committee will have four half-day slots to allocate to debate departmental estimates. Applications for those slots will need to be submitted by Friday 15 June, and details can be found on the Committee’s website. I thank the Leader of the House for her business statement, and for confirming that 14 June has been protected for the important Windrush debate.

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It is always a great pleasure to work with the hon. Gentleman on providing time for Back-Bench debates, and I congratulate the Backbench Business Committee—all Members will be delighted to see the debate that has been selected for next Thursday.

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It is now some time since our debate on the restoration and renewal of Parliament, which I and my colleagues caused to happen. We were told then that there is a present fire risk to this Chamber and royal palace, yet we are still waiting for action. If there is a present fire risk, we should be setting up fire doors and stopping up vents, and one way we can start that work is by closing this building during the entire summer recess and getting on with it. If there is a fire risk, let us deal with it.

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My hon. Friend raises an incredibly important issue, and I hope I can assure all hon. and right hon. Members that we are getting on with the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster, as per the instructions from this House. He will realise that immediate issues of health and safety regarding fire, falling masonry or any other risk are things that the strategic estates programme works on instantly—they are not subject to the longer timeframe of restoration and renewal. My hon. Friend nevertheless makes a good point, and I am always happy to meet him and update him on our progress.

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Employees in my constituency have time limits imposed on their toilet breaks which are often unreasonable and insufficient to allow them time to go to the lavatory and return to work. What assessment has the Department of the Leader of the House made of businesses that adopt such practices?

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That is not a responsibility of my Department, but I think the hon. Lady is looking for guidance on how to progress this issue. Questions to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are on Tuesday 12 June, and that would be a good question for her to raise directly with Ministers.

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Will my right hon. Friend find time for a debate on the future role of the House of Lords? I have the highest regard for its work as a revising Chamber, but it does seem to be somewhat oversized, even allowing for sad deaths and retirements, and the Liberal party certainly seems to be over-represented in the other place.

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I certainly agree with my hon. Friend and I am grateful to him for his question. There is a complete dearth of elected Liberal Democrats, which is more than made up for by their presence in the other place. The Government are committed to ensuring that the House of Lords continues to fulfil its constitutional role as a revising and scrutinising Chamber, which respects the primacy of the House of Commons. We will continue to work to ensure that the House of Lords remains relevant and effective, and addresses issues such as its size.

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I hope colleagues will want to join me in congratulating the hon. Members for Southend West (Sir David Amess) and for Gainsborough (Sir Edward Leigh) in the week, if memory serves me, that they mark the 35th anniversary of their election to the House. They have served continuously ever since their first election.

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This July sees the 70th birthday of the national health service. Our House should celebrate this brilliant institution and its architect, one of my predecessors, Aneurin Bevan. May we have a debate in Government time to look at the services, the funding and the future of this much loved public service?

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I completely share the hon. Gentleman’s enthusiasm for and love of the NHS. It is an amazing achievement for the United Kingdom, one that is admired and envied across the world. He will be aware that it has been considered the best health service in the world on more than one occasion. He is absolutely right that we need to mark and celebrate its 70th anniversary. That will indeed be forthcoming and there will be many more opportunities to debate the successes, as well as the needs, of our NHS in future weeks and months.

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One of my constituents, Nicolle Finnie, has been selected to represent the UK in the cooking competition at the EuroSkills championships in Budapest in September. This represents the pinnacle of achievement for apprenticeships and technical skills for young people. Will the Leader of the House join me in congratulating Nicolle and the rest of Team UK? Does she agree that high quality apprenticeships, and technical and vocational education, which the EuroSkills championships seeks to promote, are vital in instilling the next generation with the skills employers need?

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I am delighted to join my hon. Friend in congratulating Nicolle and the rest of Team UK on their selection. Cooking is a fantastic skill and my own daughter will be extremely jealous to hear about Nicolle’s success. I totally agree that apprenticeships and vocational and technical education are vital in equipping the next generation with the skills they need. The EuroSkills championships are fantastic events, showcasing talent and skills from around Europe and the rest of the world.

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The Passport Office’s one name policy is preventing many British citizens, including my constituent Nabila Damasceno, from obtaining a passport. Will the Government make a statement on the Passport Office’s one name policy?

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The hon. Lady raises a very important and significant constituency concern. She will be aware that the Home Office is taking some very strong steps to review the way in which those who are seeking visas are being treated. The Home Secretary has undertaken to review all policies. If she wants to raise a specific constituency issue, I encourage her to raise it directly with Ministers.

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Yesterday, along with Members from across the House, I had the pleasure of meeting veterans from the British Nuclear Tests Veterans Association—I am their patron. There are just 1,500 survivors of the 22,000 who were sent to far-off places for those nuclear tests. One wrote:

“We are doomed to spend our time in a land that time forgot.”

We are the only country that does not recognise them formally and they are now asking for a medal. I wonder if the Leader of the House will ask a Defence Minister to come to this House and confirm that the Government will award that medal, so we can give to those who gave so much for us.

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I certainly join my right hon. Friend in paying tribute to all those who undertook this extremely frightening and, in many ways, appalling experience. I encourage him to raise this directly with Ministers on Monday 11 June at Defence oral questions.

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I have just been advised—I think I have started a trend—that it is the 17th anniversary of the election to this House of the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart). We have savoured the experience of hearing him and I am sure that we look forward to continuing to do so. Congratulations to the hon. Gentleman.

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Earlier this week, I spoke to the House about my constituent Alex Hodgson who pays £285 a month to travel to work near Manchester. So far he has had to take a number of days’ annual leave because of the chaos on the rail network. Today, he has been offered compensation of £20, so could we have a debate on what meaningful compensation actually looks like?

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I am very concerned to hear what the hon. Lady says. That does not sound right to me. She is obviously raising a particular case. I know that my right hon. Friend the Transport Secretary made a statement to the House about the problems with Northern Rail, and he has proposed a special compensation scheme. It seems to me that the hon. Lady should raise this issue directly with Transport Ministers. If she would like to write to me, I can take it up with them on her behalf.

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I recently organised the first meeting between the Oxfordshire clinical commissioning group and West Oxfordshire District Council to plan for our area’s future healthcare needs. Does this not highlight the need for proper, joined-up planning between councils and health bosses in the complicated area of health and social care, and may we please have a full debate to discuss this very complicated issue?

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My hon. Friend is right to raise this. It is an incredibly tricky area and it certainly impacts on my constituency, not far away from his. While district councils do not have responsibility for health or social care, the Government absolutely agree that it is vital that health and social care work together at every level to plan and join up services effectively. He will know that upper-tier and unitary local authorities and CCGs are required to sit on their area’s health and wellbeing board to develop a local joint health and wellbeing strategy to address health and social care needs in each and every area.

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May we have a debate about the length of time that it is taking to process personal independence payment appeals? My constituent Frankie Cooper of Hyde has waited nearly 10 months for an appeal against the decision to take away her mobility car. This is far too long and she deserves to have the issue resolved. Too often this Government have presided over a social security system that is cruel and inefficient; surely it is time to discuss just how they can do better.

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The hon. Gentleman is raising a specific issue. I am sorry to hear about that delay. It does not sound acceptable, and obviously it is something he should raise directly with Ministers. If he wants to do so via me, I am happy to take it up on his behalf, but equally he will appreciate that the point about personal independence payments is to give people greater power and control over their lives, to give them greater quality of life and to support them in maximising the opportunities available to them. Where it goes wrong, we need to sort it, but the policy itself is a good one.

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May we have a debate on the Queen’s award for voluntary service? In Moray, we are exceptionally proud to have more recipients this year than Glasgow and Edinburgh combined. Does my right hon. Friend agree that that shows the true community spirit in Moray? The organisations that were successful include Morayvia, Fochabers heritage centre, Step by Step in Moray and Moray HandyPerson Services.

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I always enjoy congratulating my hon. Friend on the amazing achievements of his constituents. It is fantastic that four voluntary organisations in Moray were honoured with the Queen’s award for voluntary service this year. I know that he was present at Morayvia on Saturday evening when the lord-lieutenant of Moray announced their success, and it is a great testament to the exceptional standard of volunteer services in Moray.

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Cabinet Office officials have been conducting surveys in Wrexham about Brexit and other issues. My named day question to the Cabinet Office on the matter—on the reason for these surveys—remains unanswered, despite being lodged on 16 May. Would the Leader of the House have a word with the Cabinet Office to answer my question and find out why the Conservative party are so interested in my constituency?

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I am sure the hon. Gentleman will understand entirely why the Conservative party might be interested in all constituencies around the UK: in Government, we are always keen to provide the best possible service to all those who live in this great country of ours. We have Exiting the European Union questions on Thursday 14 June. That would be a good question to raise then, but if he wants to raise it with me separately, I can take it up for him.

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The new rail timetable had already disadvantaged my constituents in Hassocks by increasing journey times and withdrawing peak-time services, but its introduction has been a complete shambles, and my constituents continue to be disadvantaged by the cancellation and withdrawal of services on a daily basis. May we have an urgent debate on the abysmal performance of Govia Thameslink Railway and Network Rail, so that those organisations can be held to account?

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My right hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise what must be a hugely frustrating experience for his constituents. The disruption of Govia Thameslink Railway services has been completely unacceptable and the Secretary of State for Transport has himself apologised for the disruption that passengers are experiencing. The Department for Transport is working round the clock with GTR to stabilise services, and that includes monitoring ongoing performance and agreeing on a revised, more consistent timetable. However, I hope my right hon. Friend will encourage his constituents to apply for GTR’s Delay Repay compensation, so that they can get their money back in the case of all affected journeys.

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Yesterday it was my pleasure to see my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford South (Judith Cummins) being presented with a “Parliamentarian of the year” award by the road safety charity Brake. To mark that occasion, may we have a statement on when the Government intend to introduce tougher sentences for those who cause death or serious injury by dangerous driving, as was promised at the end of the consultation in October last year?

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First, let me congratulate the hon. Member for Bradford South on receiving the award: that is a great achievement. Secondly, let me suggest that the hon. Member for Heywood and Middleton (Liz McInnes) might wish to seek an Adjournment debate so that she can raise the issue directly with a Minister, and ask when the Government expect to be able to take such action.

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Will the Leader of the House find Government time for a debate on the challenge involved in meeting the universal service obligation for rural broadband? In communities throughout north Northumberland, including mine, the challenge of putting the infrastructure in place in time for the universal service obligation to be met is still enormous.

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I entirely share my hon. Friend’s concern about the speed of the roll-out of rural broadband. She will be pleased to hear that the Government’s determination to roll out superfast broadband in rural areas—with a significant investment of more than £1 billion —is making good progress. There is more to be done and she may well want to seek an Adjournment debate to discuss her specific constituency issues.

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The devolution amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill that were passed in the other place would fundamentally undermine the Welsh constitution. When the Leader of the House designs next week’s programme motion, will she ensure that there is plenty of time for debate on the amendments—not least the Commons amendments to the Lords amendments —so that we can vote on them?

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The hon. Gentleman has raised an important point, which I shall certainly take into account.

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The Office for Budget Responsibility is currently responsible for examining and reporting on the sustainability of public finances, but it has no power to consider the effect of alternative policies, and does not score every piece of legislation like the Congressional Budget Office in the United States. Will the Leader of the House grant a debate on the establishment of an independent fiscal accountancy agency that would be responsible for analysing and assessing the sustainability of funding arrangements?

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Having seen the eye-watering costs associated with the Opposition’s 2017 manifesto, I am personally incredibly sympathetic to my hon. Friend’s request. As he points out, the OBR has no current plans to extend its remit to the costing of Opposition policies. I strongly encourage him to apply for a Back-Bench debate to discuss these matters, which I am sure many Members would enthusiastically support.

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May we have a debate on the research carried out by the Forces in Mind Trust and the universities of York and Salford on the negative experience of service leavers in branches of Jobcentre Plus? There is a lack of understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder, and of the great skills that members of our services can bring to the civilian workforce.

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The hon. Lady has raised an incredibly important point about stress and the appalling impact of experiences in the field of war. Defence questions will take place on Monday 11 June, and she may wish to take the matter up directly with Ministers.

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May we have a debate on how out of touch this House is with public opinion? The EU referendum proved beyond all doubt that the House was out of touch with public opinion on the EU. It is clearly also out of touch with public opinion on sending more criminals to prison—which clearly the public want to do, whereas the House always wants to send fewer—and on the splurge in overseas aid, which most people think is ridiculous but people in this House seem to think is wonderful. May we have a debate on this to see whether there is anything at all on which the House is in step with public opinion?

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I think that that would be a great subject for a debate. It would certainly be a very broad-ranging and well-attended one. I do not quite know where to start. I personally support that. I will give it some thought.

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Tomorrow, I will be attending the Scottish Women in Sport conference, where I am sure we will pay tribute to the longest-serving sports chief executive officer in the UK, Badminton Scotland’s Anne Smillie, who, after driving her sport for 38 years—28 as CEO—is retiring. Will the Leader of the House join me in thanking her? To mark her service, may we have a debate on the importance of women in sports leadership roles?

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The hon. Gentleman raises a popular and important point about the role of women in sport. I was appalled the other day to hear that no woman makes it into the top-100 wealthiest sports people, which is pretty shocking. He might wish to seek an Adjournment debate, or perhaps a Back-Bench debate, so that all hon. Members can share their views on this important topic.

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Order. I remind colleagues of the Select Committee statements to follow, the privilege motion and the two debates. I will try to get everybody in, on the condition that each Member asks a single-sentence question. It is not that much to ask.

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May we have debate on the importance of school breakfast clubs and ensuring that all children have a healthy start to the day?

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I am very sympathetic to my hon. Friend’s request. It is an important subject, and I encourage him to seek at least an Adjournment debate.

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May we have a debate on my Plastics Bill, which would ensure that all plastics are recyclable by 2025 and provide for a 15p levy on plastic bottles?

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I think that all Members on both sides of the House would be delighted to have further debates on plastics. The Government have done a huge amount already, but there is much more to be done, and I am sure we would all support the idea of a Back-Bench, or perhaps a Westminster Hall, debate to discuss what more could be done.

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Please may we have a debate on the future of the car industry, which is so important to my constituency?

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There are lots of requests for debates coming forward, and I always take them very seriously. I know the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) will be delighted that there will be a debate on acquired brain injury. I will consider my hon. Friend’s request. The car industry is vital to the United Kingdom, particularly as we leave the European Union.

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Will the Leader of the House update us on when the domestic abuse Bill—which could prevent a rape victim from having to give testimony in open court about their human rights breaches when it comes to abortion—will come to the House so that we can vote on repealing the Offences Against the Person Act 1861?

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I am incredibly sympathetic to the hon. Lady’s work on abortion. I myself am entirely pro-choice. She has raised an important issue. The domestic abuse Bill will come forward in due course. It is being published in draft because it is important that we get the measures absolutely right, including the new definitions of domestic violence, economic abuse and so on. It is vital that we get it right, but we will bring it forward as soon as we can.

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The focus this week has been on Heathrow expansion, but regional airports, such as Manchester, which employs 3,000 people from my constituency, make a vital contribution to economic growth, not only in the northern powerhouse but right across the country and globally. May we please have a debate on the importance of regional airports to both internal and global connectivity?

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My hon. Friend will be pleased to know that there will be ample opportunity to discuss not just the proposal for Heathrow expansion but the impact it could have on regional expansion. That debate will be coming up in the next couple of months, and I hope she will take the opportunity to contribute.

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The will of the House was clear on Tuesday—the sentiments expressed were clear—so when will the Leader of the House grant a debate on removing abortion from criminal law altogether and regulating it in the same way as other medical procedures?

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I hope that the hon. Gentleman has listened to some of the debates this week. I say again that I myself am pro-choice. On the issues for Northern Ireland, it is essential that we get a fully restored Northern Ireland Executive to tackle these issues as a top priority, and of course all issues of abortion for the United Kingdom remain under review.

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May we have a debate on the effectiveness of events such as the Jo Cox Great Get Together weekend on tackling loneliness and isolation, and will the Leader of the House come to Willenhall or Bloxwich for events I have organised?

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I would be delighted to visit my hon. Friend’s constituency and to take part in some of his loneliness events. I and many colleagues have prioritised trying to alleviate loneliness in our constituencies and the kind of get-togethers, coffee mornings and community events that take place do so much on that. I congratulate my hon. Friend on his work.

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By any logic, with 420 people investing in the fraudulent £19 million Corran hotel development, it should be seen as a collective investment scheme, but the Financial Conduct Authority refuses to recognise it as such, so will the Leader of the House make a statement outlining how we can get the FCA to take the proper action?

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I am not entirely familiar with this issue. It seems to me that it is a question for the FCA, possibly via the Treasury. If the hon. Gentleman wants to write to me about it, I can look into what more he can do.

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I am delighted to tell you, Mr Speaker, and the House that, last week, the UK Government, the Scottish Government and the local authorities finally signed the Stirling and Clackmannanshire city region deal, which is very good news for my constituency. May we have a debate in Government time on how we can improve the way that the UK Government, the devolved Administrations and local authorities work together to benefit all the people of the United Kingdom?

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I congratulate my hon. Friend on the signing of that city deal. It will be very important for Scotland, but also for the United Kingdom; we want to see all parts succeeding, particularly as we all leave the European Union in March 2019.

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. May we have an early debate on nuclear non-proliferation, particularly in the light of the developments with regard to Iran and the American withdrawal from the nuclear deal and the forthcoming Trump-Kim summit on North Korea?

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That is an incredibly important subject and the hon. Gentleman might want to take it up at Defence questions on Monday.

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Does my right hon. Friend agree that, while it is right to respect devolved democracies, it is also the responsibility of those devolved democracies to respect human rights and women’s rights? Will she make time available in this House for a debate in Government time, or maybe even in DUP time, for a full debate on women’s rights?

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We have had a number of opportunities to debate this issue this week and I am sure that will continue, but it is a top priority for the Government to see a fully restored Executive in Northern Ireland.

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Violent crime, and knife crime in particular, continue to rise. Scotland has taken a public health approach with impressive results. May we have an early debate on the Government’s funding of public health, given that it did not even warrant a mention in the last Budget?

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The right hon. Lady is absolutely right to raise the issue of serious crime. It is of great concern right across the country. We are seeing a spike in particular in knife crime and moped crime and the Government are determined to get a grip on those things. We have launched our serious violence taskforce. A lot of money is going to community groups that are trying to encourage people away from knife crime and gang violence and working in hospital A&Es with young people who have already, sadly, been stabbed to get them to turn away from such crime. There is more to be done, but the Government are absolutely determined to get a grip on this awful problem.

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I was one of those involved in the almighty tussle against the other place this week—that is, the tug-of-war raising valuable funds for the Macmillan charity. Will my right hon. Friend join me in thanking all who took part—we did overwhelm the noble Baronesses, Mr Speaker—and in praising the Macmillan charity? We never know if and when we might need that charity and, if and when we do, it is a great comfort to know that it is there.

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I am delighted to congratulate all those who took part and particularly our House, who won. I also pay tribute to the fund-raising effort. I understand that the tug-of-war has been taking place since 1987 and has raised more than £3 million for Macmillan, which is superb.

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More people than ever are surviving their cancer thanks to the fantastic work of NHS staff in turning research breakthroughs into life-saving tests and treatments for patients. Cancer Research UK has an ambition of three in four survivors by 2034. Early diagnosis is important. Will the Leader of the House agree to a debate on that issue?

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The hon. Gentleman rightly raises the achievements in alleviating the horror of cancer. Since 2010, cancer survival rates have increased year on year and there is great progress with the Cancer Drugs Fund and the £600 million cancer strategy for England. We have Health questions on Tuesday 19 June and the hon. Gentleman might want to raise that directly with Ministers then.

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This Sunday will see the annual al-Quds demonstration and march. The Home Secretary and police say that they are powerless to stop the flags of the terrorist organisations Hamas and Hezbollah being openly displayed on the streets of London. May we therefore have a debate in Government time on proscribing the entirety of Hezbollah and Hamas so that the police can then take action against these terrorist groups?

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My hon. Friend raises a complicated issue. He will realise that the strategy towards Hezbollah is one of great caution, but at the same time this country will never subscribe to any terrorist activity here and we take every step to keep our citizens safe. He might like to seek an Adjournment debate so that he can raise directly with Ministers his views on what more can be done.

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Order. Unless I am much mistaken the votes for women cause is very impressively represented in the Gallery today. We welcome the people who are here and thank them for articulating their views, not least through their magnificent rosettes, and it is great to see that among the adults there are also children who are conscious of their future rights and who will take pride in them.

I call Kate Green.

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I am glad you have called a woman, Mr Speaker.

Will the Leader of the House arrange for an urgent statement to be made in response to the letter signed by me and more than 70 colleagues to the Home Secretary this week asking for an extension to the consultation on the Windrush compensation arrangements, which is due to close tomorrow? Black church leaders and Windrush defenders movements say that the community have not yet had enough time fully to submit their ideas and concerns about this process.

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I am not entirely sure how I would be able to intervene on behalf of the hon. Lady, but I absolutely understand her concern and encourage her to take it up directly with Ministers today.

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This week, I joined pupils at Riverside Academy in Newbold and on Monday I will be at Brownsover Community School to join them in their daily mile. May we have a debate on the educational benefits of young people taking regular exercise?

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My hon. Friend raises an important point. I am a huge fan of the daily mile—I would like us to be doing it ourselves here in Parliament, Mr Speaker. Programmes such as the daily mile are simple and inclusive and are a very good way to include all children in physical activity. Our childhood obesity plan sets out that primary schools should deliver at least 30 active minutes each day through break times, PE, extra-curricular clubs and so on, and over 1,200 schools in England have already signed up for the daily mile.

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I am enormously grateful to the Leader of the House that we are having our debate on acquired brain injury, not least because the concussion suffered by the Liverpool goalkeeper in the recent Champions league match shows absolutely that football has not yet got this right: it should not be the club doctor who makes the decision about whether somebody continues to play; it should be an independent medical assessment. I hope the Leader of the House will make sure that it is not just a Health Minister who is present for this debate, but that the whole of the Government are represented, because there are so many issues for so many different Departments. I am grateful, however.

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First, I am glad that the hon. Gentleman is pleased. Secondly, he raises a very important point. Acquired brain injury can affect any person through any reason, whether a violent attack, a sporting accident or an industrial accident. I am sure the hon. Gentleman will make those representations very clearly, and I for my part will ensure that the Government are listening carefully.

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rose—

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Keeping the best until last: Jeremy Lefroy.

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Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Given that many European countries allow their embassies in Africa to issue business and other visas on the spot, may we have a debate on our own embassies and high commissions throughout Africa taking back control and being able to do the same, to encourage investment and trade with all those countries that are such great partners of ours?

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My hon. Friend is a great champion of trade with Africa and he is right to be so. That is an interesting idea. I encourage him to seek an Adjournment debate so that he can first run his idea directly past Ministers.