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Volume 644: debated on Wednesday 4 July 2018

I am sure the whole House will wish to join me in offering our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Private Reece Miller from the 1st Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, who died on 30 June while on operations in Estonia as a result of a non-battle injury. Private Miller served his country with great distinction and that service will not be forgotten.

This week marks 70 years since the NHS was founded. It is rightly one of the nation’s most loved institutions, and I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to and recognise the dedication and hard work of NHS staff across the country.

The country witnessed a very rare and welcome event last night: the England football team winning a penalty shoot-out. The explosion of relief and, most of all, joy could be felt up and down the country, not just in the Smoking Room of the House of Commons. I congratulate Gareth Southgate and his team on a great performance. Last week, I promised to fly the flag of St George above No. 10 for all of England’s remaining matches in the World cup, and I know the whole House will want to join me in wishing the England team the best of luck in Saturday’s quarter final. Let’s keep that flag flying.

This morning, I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall have further such meetings later today.

The Scotland Act 2016 transferred responsibility for the Crown Estate in Scotland to the Scottish Government, but a large retail park in my constituency called Fort Kinnaird was exempted from the transfer on the grounds that it was tied up with a private joint venture. Last month, the Government sold the Crown Estate’s interests in Fort Kinnaird for the receipt of £167 million, but last week the Treasury confirmed to me that none of that money would go to the Scottish Government and that it would be retained here in London. Will the Prime Minister review that decision in order that the proceeds from the sale of a major public asset in Scotland’s capital city are given to the people of Scotland?

My understanding is that although the hon. Gentleman says that the money has come to the Government, it has actually gone to the Crown Estate, but I am happy to look into that and clarify that point for him in writing.

Q3. After last night, I am sure that there is one question I do not need to ask the Prime Minister, which is whether she believes that football is coming home. I will ask her, though, whether she agrees that another great victory for our United Kingdom is the BAE contract. What does she think that means for jobs up and down the country in the manufacturing supply chain after we leave the EU? (906226)

I sincerely hope that Members across the whole House will congratulate England on their success and welcome it.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to highlight the excellent news that Australia has selected the global combat ship and BAE as the preferred tenderer for its future frigate programme. The scale and nature of the contract puts the UK at the forefront of maritime design and engineering, and demonstrates what can be achieved by UK industry and Government working hand in hand. It is the start of a new era in strategic defence industrial collaboration between the UK and Australia, which will be reinforced by the forthcoming defence industrial dialogue. As we leave the UK—as we leave the EU—[Interruption.] As we leave the European Union, the UK has an opportunity to build on our closer relationships with allies such as Australia, and that is exactly what we are doing.

I share the Prime Minister’s tribute to Private Reece Miller, who died while serving in the 1st Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment. Our thoughts are with this family and friends and, of course, with the entire regiment.

I spent the weekend congratulating the NHS on its 70th birthday in Nye Bevan’s birthplace. The message from the crowd there was: “The NHS is great; let’s fund it properly.” [Interruption.]

While we are speaking of emergency services, we should send from the House a message of our thanks and support to all those firefighters tackling the huge fires on Saddleworth moor and Winter hill.

Of course, I congratulate the England team on a fantastic performance last night and wish them well on Saturday in the match against Sweden.

With fares rising above inflation, passenger numbers falling and services being cut, does the Prime Minister accept her failure on yet another public service: the buses?

First, I absolutely agree with the right hon. Gentleman and, I am sure, all Members of this House that our thanks should go to the firefighters and troops who have been struggling to deal with the terrible fires that we have seen on the moorlands in the north of Britain. On his point about buses, I merely point out to him that we should look at the responsibility that local authorities up and down the country have for the buses.

May I also comment on the right hon. Gentleman’s remark about putting sufficient funding into the national health service? At the last election, the Labour party said that giving the NHS an extra 2.2% a year would make it

“the envy of the world.”

Well, we are not giving it an extra 2.2% or, indeed, an extra 2.5% or 3%. We are giving the NHS an extra 3.4% a year. Now the right hon. Gentleman tries to say that that is not enough. What should we believe—what he said before the election or what he says after the election?

In case the Prime Minister has forgotten, my question was about buses. Since 2010, her Government have cut 46% from bus budgets in England and passenger numbers have fallen, and, among the elderly and disabled, they have fallen by 10%. Her Government belatedly committed to keeping the free bus pass, but a bus pass is not much use if there is not a bus. Does she think it is fair that bus fares have risen by 13% more than inflation since 2010?

The right hon. Gentleman says that, in his first question, he asked about buses; he did indeed and I gave him an answer in reference to buses. What he cannot do is simply stand up and make assertions about what the Government are doing without expecting those to be challenged, which is exactly what I did on his funding for the national health service.

It was right that we made that commitment in relation to bus passes. What we are seeing across the country is that, as people’s working habits are changing, there is less usage of buses, but we are working with local authorities on this. Local authorities have many responsibilities in relation to buses, and I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman asks some of those local authorities what they are doing about the buses in their own areas.

Under this Government, fares have risen three times faster than people’s pay. Bus users are often people on lower incomes whose wages are lower than they were 10 years ago in real terms and who have suffered a benefits freeze. Under the stewardship of this Government, 500 bus routes have been cut every year, leaving many people more isolated and lonely and damaging our local communities. Does the Prime Minister believe that bus services are a public responsibility, or just something that we leave to the market?

I have made the point on two occasions about the responsibilities that others have in relation to buses. The right hon. Gentleman might, for example, look at what the Mayor of London—who when I last looked was a Labour politician—is doing in relation to buses in London. The right hon. Gentleman talks also about the impact of fares on lower-income people. It is important that we consider the situation of people who are on low incomes. That is why it is this Government who introduced the national living wage and have increased the national living wage. That is why it is this Government who have taken 4 million people out of paying income tax altogether. That is helping people on low incomes in this country.

When Sadiq Khan ran for Mayor of London, he promised to freeze bus fares, and what has he done? He has frozen bus fares. [Interruption.] If the Prime Minister is concerned about the travelcard fares, she should speak to the Secretary of State for Transport: he is the one who sets that fare. Bus routes are being wiped out: 26 million fewer journeys have been made across the north of England and the midlands under her Government. So much for a northern powerhouse and a midlands engine. Can we be clear: does the Prime Minister think that deregulation of the bus industry, putting profit before passengers, has been a success or a failure?

The right hon. Gentleman talks about what the Mayor of London has done, but what have we seen in the number of people using buses in London? It has gone down under the current Mayor. If he wants to talk about what Mayors are doing, I am very happy to talk about what Andy Street, the Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands, has done; he has extended free bus fares to apprentices and students.

It will be a Labour Government who save the bus industry and who give free fares to under 26-year-olds. The truth is that since deregulation fares have risen faster than inflation, ridership has fallen and these private bus monopolies have made a profit of £3.3 billion since 2010. That is what the Tories give us in public transport. The Government have given metro Mayors the powers to franchise and regulate to secure better services. Why will they not extend that power to all local authorities?

Of course, the local authorities have some responsibilities and capabilities in relation to subsidising bus routes and fares; and, yes, we have given those powers to the metro Mayors. The right hon. Gentleman earlier referenced what was happening in the northern powerhouse and the midlands engine. I will tell him what is happening: more investment in our public transport; more investment in our roads; and more investment in the infrastructure that brings jobs to people in the north and across the midlands.

It is a shame that this Government are so shy of giving powers to local authorities, and are instead more interested in cutting their resources. Bus services are in crisis under this Government. Fares are increasing, routes are being cut and passenger numbers are falling. The situation is isolating elderly and disabled people, damaging communities and high streets, and leading to more congestion in our towns and cities, with people spending more time travelling to work or school. It is bad for our climate change commitments and for our air quality. Will the Prime Minister at last recognise the crucial importance of often the only mode of transport available for many people by ending the cuts to bus budgets and giving councils the power to ensure that everyone gets a regulated bus service, wherever they live?

I will take no lessons from the right hon. Gentleman in devolution to local authorities. Which party has established the metro Mayors and given them those powers? It is the Conservative party in government. Which party is doing growth deals around the country, giving local authorities new responsibilities? It is this Conservative Government. And what did we see in the north-east? When we were talking to Labour councils in the north-east about a devolution deal, Labour council leaders there rejected that devolution. That is what the Labour party is doing. The right hon. Gentleman wants to know what this Government are delivering for the people of the north, the south, the midlands—for every part of this country. We are delivering record high employment, rising wages, falling borrowing, stronger environmental protection and a Britain fit for the future.

Q4. You wait for a bus question and seven come along at once; there is another one coming now. This morning, my office manager walked from Delabole to Sir James Smith’s School. This is a route that Cornwall Council has deemed to be safe and within Government guidance, and parents have been refused free public transport for their kids. At three miles there and three miles back, the road has no pavements and no street lighting. In winter months, the children will be asked to walk to and from school in the dark on a single track road alongside cars, tractors and lorries. There are similar stories all around Cornwall. Will the Prime Minister look at this guidance and talk to Cornwall Council about what can be done? (906227)

We are committed to recognising the responsibilities that local authorities have in these matters, and we have committed to providing them with the funding that they need. We have increased the funding to Cornwall for 2019-20 by more than £12 million since 2015-16. It is a matter for the local authority to decide how to spend its funding and to make decisions on local matters, but I agree with my hon. Friend and would encourage local authorities to ensure that, in doing that, they are absolutely taking into account the wishes and concerns of the communities that they serve, including the one to which my hon. Friend referred.

Order. It is very unfair on the leader of the Scottish National party—[Interruption.] Order. I inform the House, almost certainly for the first time, that we are today visited by an American state senator and his wife, whom I had the great privilege of meeting earlier this morning. I am sure we will wish to impress the two of them with the quality of our behaviour.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Perhaps on American Independence Day we should welcome the senator.

May I congratulate England on their very fine victory in the World cup and wish them all the best in their coming games?

This morning, we have learned that Vote Leave is expected to be found guilty of breaking electoral law. Does the Prime Minister agree that we need absolute transparency in elections and that people must be held accountable?

First, may I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his congratulations and best wishes to the England team?

On the issue that the right hon. Gentleman refers to, I am not going to comment, as I am sure that hon. Members will understand, on what appears to be a leaked report that the Government have not seen. The Electoral Commission has said in relation to the Vote Leave matter that it will consider representations it has received and will

“publish a thorough and detailed closing report in order to provide a full and balanced account”.

The Government will of course consider that report when we receive it, and we will also consider any recommendations arising from it when it is released.

Of course, it is the principle that is important. Our democracy cannot and must not be bought. The Conservatives are systematically shielding their donations from public scrutiny. Jackson Carlaw—the MSP for Eastwood—the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (David Duguid) and the hon. Member for Moray (Douglas Ross) have all accepted donations from the Scottish Unionist Association Trust. The trust has donated £319,000 to the Scottish Conservatives, yet there is no information available about the people who currently manage the trust and there are no public accounts to indicate who its donors are or what assets it holds. The BBC has revealed that the former vice-chairman of the Conservative party in Scotland, Richard Cook, was behind the DUP’s £435,000 donation during the EU referendum, and has

“a trail of involvement in illegal activity and foreign money”.

I am now giving the Prime Minister—[Interruption.]

Order. I very much hope and trust that the right hon. Gentleman has advised those Members in advance, as he has referred to them. I know that he is approaching his peroration and will be sensitive to the fact that the House wants that.

I have indeed, Mr Speaker.

I am now giving the Prime Minister the chance to tell us what checks the Scottish Tory party had in place before accepting such large donations. Will she investigate the links between the Conservative party and the trust and promise to publish a list of all donations and donors?

I can tell the right hon. Gentleman that all donations to the Scottish Conservative party are accepted and declared in accordance with the law, and the Scottish Conservative party works with the Electoral Commission to make sure that that is all done properly.

Q5. Domestic abuse is an act of brutality often hidden in plain sight, and it affects one in four women and one in six men across this country. Last week saw the launch of the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse, and 170 companies and some MPs have signed up to train their employees to spot the tell-tale signs and to help provide much-needed support. Will the Prime Minister support this initiative and also encourage more MPs and businesses across the country to sign up? (906228)

My hon. Friend has raised a very important issue. Of course, as she said, this is something of which we see many women being victims, but men can be victims of domestic abuse, too. I certainly welcome the efforts of the Employers’ Initiative in raising awareness of this issue and in doing that vital work of providing advice and support to employers and employees on the steps they can take to address it. I understand that the Minister for Women, my hon. Friend the Member for Louth and Horncastle (Victoria Atkins), who is also responsible for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, recently attended the launch of a toolkit for employers on tackling domestic abuse that was developed in partnership with the Employers’ Initiative, Public Health England and Business in the Community. I would absolutely encourage Members from all sides of this House, as employers, to sign up to the initiative and also to promote it in their constituencies so that we can take every step we can to root out domestic violence and domestic abuse.

Q2. President Trump has recently locked up children in cages, instigated a ban on Muslims, stalled action on climate change and started trade wars, and he is now threatening women’s reproductive rights. Should the Prime Minister not be challenging his divisive and damaging policies, instead of inviting him for tea and cakes at No. 10? (906225)

I have responded to the points that the hon. Lady has raised. I have been very clear, and I have said in the House, for example, that the action taken against child migrants was not unacceptable and is not something we would do here in the UK. We did not consider that acceptable. She wants me to challenge the President of the United States. What better way to challenge the President of the United States than to sit down and talk to him?

Q6. I look forward to welcoming Heather Steven, the practice manager at Loftus’s GP surgery, to my right hon. Friend’s Downing Street reception for the NHS later. Can my right hon. Friend assure the House that as part of this Government’s record investment in the NHS, she will ensure that primary care services receive all the support they need? (906229)

The intention behind this increase in the NHS budget is that we will see it directed to frontline and primary services. We need a long-term plan. The NHS is developing that long-term plan itself. The budget will have increased by 2023-24, with an extra £20 billion a year in real terms compared with today, and it is through the 10-year plan, which will be led by doctors, that we will make sure we are delivering world-class care for everyone and that every penny is well spent.

Q7. This morning, the head of the National Audit Office took the unprecedented step of writing an open letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, setting out how the right hon. Lady has misled Parliament in three respective statements she has made on universal credit. The ministerial code is very clear that:“It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister”.Has she? (906230)

As the hon. Lady said, it is clear that Ministers should correct the record in Parliament, and the Welfare Secretary will be correcting the record at the Dispatch Box after PMQs, as I believe she has advised you, Mr Speaker.

Q9. On Saturday in Llandudno, the Prime Minister received a warm welcome as the nation paid tribute to our brilliant armed forces. It is great news that valiant Salisbury will host the event next year, and we are absolutely delighted that Britain’s premier resort, Scarborough, will be the location of the national Armed Forces Day event in 2020. Is the Prime Minister looking forward to coming to Scarborough as much as we are looking forward to welcoming her on 27 June 2020? Does she suspect, like me, that the Leader of the Opposition will already have put the date in his diary, as no doubt he will be planning to wash his hair again that day? (906232)

It was a great privilege to attend Armed Forces Day in Llandudno on Saturday; it was a fantastic celebration. Other events took place up and down the country, and it was a great opportunity to recognise the bravery and professionalism of our armed forces and the wonderful job that they do day in, day out for us, putting themselves on the line and making sacrifices for our safety. I am delighted that Salisbury and Scarborough will host the day in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Armed Forces Day will give people yet another reason to visit the great resort of Scarborough in 2020, and I certainly look forward to continuing to celebrate Armed Forces Day in the future and to joining my right hon. Friend in celebrating it in Scarborough.

Q8. The nursery at Basford Hall is well used and well rated and helps parents access further education. Despite that, Nottingham College is planning to close it. Our campaign to stop that is backed by 1,800 local residents and our local councillors. Does the Prime Minister agree with them that we must remove all barriers to accessing further education, and will she support our call for the college to revisit that decision? (906231)

I have not seen the details of the particular issue at the college that the hon. Gentleman has mentioned. On the general point, I think it is important that we make sure that education—further education, higher education—is available to people and is available to people whatever their background, whatever their circumstances and, as I say, whatever their particular circumstances. I want to see a country where how far people go in life is about them, their talents and their willingness to work hard, not where they have come from and not what their circumstances are.

Q15. Will the Prime Minister join me in welcoming a major investment in the exciting new campus for the University of Northampton in my constituency, and does she share my view that this could play a key role in the revitalisation of the town centre? (906238)

I am very happy to share the view that my hon. Friend has expressed in welcoming the investment that is taking place in the new campus for the University of Northampton. It is good to see that investment being put in by the university—into its staff, technology, facilities and infrastructure—but putting students firmly at the heart of the institution. As he says, however, it is also a great opportunity for the local community. As my hon. Friend will know, the campus is part of the Northampton Waterside enterprise zone, which, I understand, has created over 2,800 jobs and attracted £320 million of private sector investment, and I am sure this new campus will also be a catalyst for investment, and new jobs as well.

Q10. Maintained nursery schools employ qualified teachers, are inspected as schools and have all the costs associated with schools, but still they are not funded as schools. Does the Prime Minister recognise that all the grammar schools in the world cannot raise standards if children are neglected in those early years? If these nursery schools are not funded as schools, they will close. Will the Prime Minister commit today to making sure that that does not happen and make a financial commitment to support them in the future? (906233)

I fully recognise the importance of the early years education that is provided by nursery schools—maintained nursery schools—and, indeed, by others. That was why many years ago, when I was the chairman of education in the London Borough of Merton, I was happy to complete a programme that ensured we put in early years education for those parents who wanted it, at a time when the Labour Government and others—the Labour Government previously and the Government at the time—were not putting it in. We recognise the importance of nursery education.

Despite great Government investment in the railway line from Cambridge into King’s Cross St Pancras and then across London on Thameslink, over the past seven weeks my constituents have endured an appalling service. We are told that that will now improve on 15 July, but if it does not, does the Prime Minister agree with me that Govia Thameslink should be stripped of the service and a new operator—a new operator of last resort—brought in to sort out this mess?

As I have said previously, the disruption that passengers have been facing is simply unacceptable, and it is unacceptable that it is continuing to happen today. As my right hon. and learned Friend says, on 15 July there will be a full interim timetable introduced, with the aim of improving reliability and performance for passengers, and there is work being done—a review of Govia Thameslink, which is going to report in the next few weeks. Clearly, however, we need to ensure that the priority is to make sure that that interim timetable is implemented and passengers do get the services that they need. We also need to ensure that if the services are not provided in the way that is right and are not what the passengers need, the Department for Transport will look at this and that nothing is off the table.

Q11. Mr Speaker, I invite you and the Prime Minister to visit Newcastle this summer for the Great Exhibition of the North, celebrating engineering and creativity from Stephenson’s Rocket to the Wilson twins’ Suspended Island installation. Given that the Prime Minister refuses to invest in tidal power or carbon capture and to rule out a no-deal Brexit, which will devastate engineering supply chains, what hope is there that our engineering future will be as glorious as our engineering past? (906234)

There is every hope, because of the investment and the commitment that the Government are giving through our modern industrial strategy. The hon. Lady asks if I and members of the Government will visit the Great Exhibition of the North, and I think she may be surprised to find how many of us do indeed visit it over the summer.

I am sure people will. I visited the constituency of the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central (Chi Onwurah) in February, and I am still fizzing with excitement about the matter five months later.

Popular Bramhall hairdressers Ed and Mike are visiting Parliament today. Like many other small businesses, it is because of their skills, expertise and hard work that they are successful. Will the Prime Minister join me in praising small businesses up and down the country for the work that they do, and does she agree that is by building a strong economy that we provide the best conditions for them to survive and thrive?

I am happy to join my hon. Friend in recognising the vital role that small businesses play in our economy and, indeed, in our local communities. They provide valuable services, products and jobs for local people, and we should never fail to recognise the great work that they do. Government’s role is to ensure that there is a strong economy in which those businesses can thrive, and that is exactly what the Conservative Government are doing.

Q12. The Prime Minister will know that later this month Zimbabwe will have its first election since Mugabe was ousted by a military coup. The hon. Member for Bournemouth West (Conor Burns) and I have recently returned from Zimbabwe, and we heard from Zimbabweans concerns that that will not be a genuinely free and fair election. The constitution is not being adhered to, and the main opposition do not have a chance to reach the state media. Will the Prime Minister give an assurance that our Government will not rush to agree that this is a free and fair election until we have seen that it really means change, not just for the election? (906235)

I commend the excellent work that the hon. Lady continues to do as chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Zimbabwe. We obviously welcome the announcement of the date of the election on 30 July, but we urge all parties involved to pursue free, fair and peaceful elections, because that is absolutely what the Zimbabwean people deserve. We will certainly watch very carefully to see how those elections are conducted, and consider the conduct of those elections as appropriate. We have repeatedly said that if the Zimbabwean Government can demonstrate commitment to political and economic reform, the UK stands ready to do all that it can to support recovery, but that commitment is essential.

President Macron has ordered that every one of his Cabinet Ministers should be subject to a performance review. When the Prime Minister meets her Cabinet on Friday, will she judge every one of their contributions and the final deal that they decide against the very clear criteria laid down in the Conservative manifesto and the Labour manifesto, which got 85% of the votes, that we will categorically leave the single market, the customs union and the remit of the European Court of Justice?

I am pleased to tell my right hon. Friend that we have a strong team in Cabinet who will take this decision on Friday. I assure him that the Brexit that the Government will deliver and are working to deliver is a Brexit that ensures that we are out of the customs union, we are out of the single market, we are out of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, we are out of the common agricultural policy, we are out of the common fisheries policy, we bring an end to free movement, we take control of our borders, and we have an independent trade policy, but we are also able to have a good trade arrangement with the European Union, protecting jobs and prosperity for the future.

Q13. Sweetly following on from the right hon. Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson), with the Prime Minister’s Chequers failure Friday on the way, and “max-fac” soon giving way to “tot cap” or total capitulation, the UK’s Government handling of Brexit has been dither, delay and duck, but can I give the Prime Minister an opportunity for a straight answer? Shellfish producers in my constituency are worried about getting their produce to French and Spanish markets, so together with those countries and independent Ireland, how open does the Prime Minister want and envisage borders and trade routes after Brexit? (906236)

I have made it very clear that we are committed to no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland and to as frictionless a border with the European Union in future as possible. Can I also say that I think fishermen up and down the country welcome the proposals that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has introduced on fisheries policy for the future? It is this Government who are taking the UK out of the common fisheries policy. The worst policy for fishermen in Scotland would be the Scottish National party’s policy of staying in the CFP.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

In Harlow in 2016, a beautiful little girl, Summer Grant, tragically lost her life when a bouncy castle she was playing in blew away. This weekend, there was another horrific fatality from an inflatable in Great Yarmouth. The grandmother of Summer Grant has contacted me to ask for more safeguarding and training for these temporary structures. My right hon. Friend the Member for Great Yarmouth (Brandon Lewis) has also urged for lessons to be learned. I have been contacted by other parents around the country whose children have been injured in similar circumstances. A reputable operator from Harlow has told me that bouncy castles can be bought for just a few hundred pounds on eBay and that many inflatables are not properly regulated. Will my right hon. Friend urgently review the regulations on bouncy castles and inflatables, and will she implement a temporary ban on bouncy castles and inflatables in public areas until we know they can be safe?

My right hon. Friend raises a very, very serious issue. I offer my deepest condolences, and I am sure those of the whole House, to the family of Summer Grant and the family of Ava-May Littleboy, who tragically was the victim of the bouncy castle incident that took place at the weekend. I share my right hon. Friend’s concerns about these tragic incidents. As regards the incident that took place at the weekend, I understand that Norfolk police, aided by and working with the Health and Safety Executive, have started an investigation into the incident. It is too early to know the cause of the incident, but if any findings emerge from the investigation, the necessary recommendations to improve safety will be shared across the relevant sectors as soon as possible.

Q14. Under this Government, we have seen a climate of division towards refugees and migrants, with Windrush just the tip of the iceberg. Now we see the Government extending the hostile environment to those facing oppression and seeking protection, with the revelation that the Home Office has failed to let new asylum contracts in Yorkshire and Humber, creating a real risk that those fleeing persecution will be left without a roof over their heads. Is this the vision for Britain that the Prime Minister sees, or will she give a guarantee here today that no one fleeing persecution will find themselves homeless? (906237)

This country has a proud and long tradition of welcoming those who are fleeing from persecution and providing them with appropriate support. As the hon. Gentleman will have noticed, the Home Secretary is on the Front Bench and will have heard his specific issue about Home Office contracts in his area. We have that long and proud tradition, and it continues today. We welcome, and deal sensitively and carefully with, those who are fleeing persecution, and we will continue to do so.

Just as an aside, Mr Speaker, the Bercow report on speech, language and communication was very well referenced in Westminster Hall this morning.

My question is about ice cream. In this hot weather, there has been a great run on Granny Gothards ice cream in Taunton Deane, for which all the milk is provided by local farmers. The ice cream is not just popular locally, however, because Granny Gothards has just secured contracts to sell its 135 varieties of ice cream to China, and it is expanding to the middle east, including Saudi Arabia. Will the Prime Minister join me in congratulating Granny Gothards on its sweet export success and on winning two awards at the Taunton Deane business awards? Does not that demonstrate the opportunities in global markets?

I am happy to join my hon. Friend in congratulating Granny Gothards on not only its two business awards but, crucially, the export contracts it is working on. It is absolutely right that my hon. Friend highlights the opportunities that businesses will have as we leave the European Union. It will be an opportunity to boost productivity, deliver better infra- structure and maximise the potential of our country and businesses such as Granny Gothards, which is obviously such a success in her constituency.

In the week of a special birthday for him, and in the name of encouraging a young Member as he seeks to build his career, I call Mr Stephen Pound.

May I, in respect of the Prime Minister’s opening statement, declare an interest, as I, too, was born in the first week of July 1948? While I recognise that the national health service is held in rather higher esteem by the nation than I am —[Hon. Members: “No!”]—we both need a bit of care and attention. May I tell the Prime Minister that what the NHS needs is not warm words but cold cash? I would willingly—happily, joyfully—pay more in income tax to save the national health service. Would she?

May I first wish the hon. Gentleman a very happy 70th birthday this week? He is held in very high esteem across this House and he should not underestimate that—[Interruption.] My saying that might not have done very well for him with his Front Benchers, but there we are. May I also take this opportunity, as I have not had one previously, to wish a very happy birthday to my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke), whose birthday was on Monday?

On the issue that the hon. Member for Ealing North (Stephen Pound) raised in his question, we are providing the national health service with that money to ensure that, by 2023-24, it will have £20 billion extra in real terms. We are ensuring, alongside that, that a 10-year plan is produced that delivers for patients.

Following the celebrations of Armed Forces Day, will my right hon. Friend join me in supporting an inspirational charity, the On Course Foundation, which is helping injured military personnel who have lost limbs, here and in the USA, to rebuild their lives by giving them the skills, knowledge and confidence to find long-term employment in the golf industry? Will she agree to meet me and some of these amazing men and women to see how this charity, which was founded by John Simpson, could be extended to some of our other services, such as the police and fire services?

I thank my right hon. Friend for her warm words about the On Course Foundation, which is doing excellent work, as she says. It is really important that we ensure that those of our armed forces who are injured and who are veterans are given the support that they need. She has highlighted a particular area in which that is happening. Armed Forces Day on Saturday gave me the opportunity to announce that, next year, we are going to have the first national games for wounded, injured and sick veterans and personnel of our armed forces. That has been inspired by the Invictus games, but these games will focus on those in our British armed forces. As she mentioned the police and fire services, I will ensure that the relevant Home Office Minister will meet her.

This morning, I spoke to Afghan Sikh community leaders in my constituency following the horrific terrorist attack in the Afghan city of Jalalabad on Sunday, which was a deliberate attack with devastating consequences. The 19 people killed included the trustees of the gurdwara and the only Sikh candidate in the forthcoming elections, Mr Avtar Singh Khalsa. The gurdwara had been a safe haven for many persecuted families and they were on their way to visit the President. At the moment, the Afghan Sikhs in west London are meeting in prayer and remembrance for those killed, many of whom they knew. Will the Prime Minister update the House on what she is doing to ensure the safety of minorities in Afghanistan, and will she meet the Afghan diaspora to discuss their concerns?

The hon. Lady raises a very serious issue. The terrorist attack that she refers to was indeed appalling. As she said, too many victims lost their lives as a result of that attack that took place in Afghanistan. It is important that we ensure that we are providing support, as we do through our contribution in Afghanistan. That is a contribution to security in the Kabul area specifically from our forces, but it is also about working with others to ensure that the Afghan security forces are able to provide security and safety for all communities living in Afghanistan. Tremendous achievements have been made in Afghanistan today, compared with the situation before these efforts, but sadly, as the hon. Lady highlights, too many terrorist attacks are still taking place in Afghanistan. We will continue to work with our allies and the Afghan Government to prevent these in future and to ensure that people can go about their daily lives in safety and security and with confidence.

In agreeing with the Prime Minister, as I always do, that Brexit means Brexit, and that that generally means taking back control, may I ask her to confirm not only that after we leave the EU we will be leaving the single market and customs union, but that it is her personal position, and the settled negotiating position of Her Majesty’s Government, that we will have full and unfettered control of migration into this country, full and unfettered control in our ability to make new trade deals with the rest of the world and, above all, full and unfettered control of how we regulate our own business?

I am very happy to say to my hon. Friend that after we leave the EU, we will indeed be operating our own independent trade policy. Parliament will be determining our laws and we will bring an end to free movement.

A 19-year-old constituent was stabbed in December 2016. He nearly died from his injuries and his mother subsequently came to see me to get help to move out of the borough because she feared it would happen again. Despite our efforts, they were not moved. Late last Wednesday, as his mother feared, he was again stabbed—this time seven times—close to their home. Prime Minister, it is an outrage that the system is not protecting teenagers in this situation. What does it say about our society? Will she commit to introducing a compulsory scheme—not just pan-London but nationally—to facilitate such necessary moves between social housing providers and quite simply save lives?

On the attacks on the hon. Gentleman’s constituent, we are taking the use of offensive weapons—we have introduced the Offensive Weapons Bill—and serious violence very seriously. I understand that he sits on the serious violence taskforce that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has established to take account of views across the House on an issue that is a matter for all of us, and I am grateful to him for sitting on that taskforce.

The hon. Gentleman refers to a matter that lies in the hands of local authorities and social housing providers. On operations across London, he could of course speak to the Mayor of London about his responsibilities and the measures that he could introduce.