Skip to main content


Volume 646: debated on Wednesday 12 September 2018

Q11. The Secretary of State for Education announced a pay award for teachers recently, which, as the Prime Minister will know, is not yet a devolved responsibility. The Government have outlined how they will fund the award for teachers in England, but as yet they have not done so for Wales. Will the Prime Minister intervene to put right this oversight and ensure that Welsh teachers and Welsh pupils are not the ones left to foot the bill? (906861)

Back in July, in Prime Minister’s questions, I pressed the Prime Minister on the possible publication of Sir Alex Allan’s report on the Windrush affair and she confirmed that the Home Secretary of the time was considering publication very carefully. Two months later, nothing has come from the Home Secretary or the Home Office. Could she as Prime Minister, in the interests of transparency and accountability, which I know she believes in, now personally authorise the publication of this long-awaited report?

I reassure my right hon. Friend that the Home Secretary has been looking at this issue, and the Cabinet Secretary is looking at this. We are committed to publication, but the form of that is currently being considered.

Q13. Yesterday, Her Majesty’s inspectorate of probation issued a devastating report on its findings relating to the murder two years ago of my constituent Lisa Skidmore. The report sets out catastrophic failures on the part of the probation service to act on warnings about the behaviour of her killer, Leroy Campbell—a lifelong violent sex offender—and concludes that Lisa’s murder was entirely preventable. Lisa Skidmore was a young woman with her whole life in front of her. Her family have been left completely heartbroken by her loss. She was let down in the most appalling way by a service that is there to monitor offenders and protect the public. In this case, it failed to do so, with the most devastating consequences. Can I ask the Prime Minister what she and the Ministry of Justice can do in response to this report, to prevent something like this from happening again? (906863)

The right hon. Gentleman has raised what was an absolutely devastating case—it was a horrific crime, and devastating for Lisa’s family. I understand that my hon. Friend the prisons Minister has met the family of Lisa Skidmore and apologised for the failings in this case. But as the right hon. Gentleman says, this should not have happened.

I understand that some action has already been taken and that two members of the probation service have been suspended. While nothing can be done to bring back Lisa or minimise the impact that this has had on her family, Dame Glenys Stacey has been asked to conduct an independent review to look at what can be done to prevent such tragedies from happening again—to do as the right hon. Gentleman has said: make sure that this never happens to anybody else.

Cumbria and the Lake district are among the most beautiful parts of the UK, and our farmers play such a unique role in maintaining the landscape. On Back British Farming Day, will my right hon. Friend ensure that our Cumbrian farmers will be able to export their world-class meat after we leave the European Union?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to recognise the beauty of the area she represents, Cumbria and the Lake District, and the important role farmers play in that part of the country, as indeed our farmers do elsewhere. When we leave the European Union, we are looking to ensure we have trade deals that enable our farmers to continue to be able to export their very important product, which is enjoyed by people elsewhere. By leaving the European Union, we are able to do something else: come out of the common agricultural policy and develop a policy for farming in this country that is right for our farmers, not for others’.

Q14. Last year, 183 people were returned to this country to face justice because of the European arrest warrant. If we leave the EU without a deal, the European arrest warrant will not be available to us. Would the Prime Minister be happy with that? (906864)

The hon. Gentleman will know full well that as Home Secretary I stood at this Dispatch Box and led a debate in which we ensured that when we exercised the powers available under protocol 36 we went back into the European arrest warrant. The European arrest warrant is one of those instruments that we have identified in our Chequers plan as one that we wish to discuss with the European Union, with a view to being able to continue to use it.

Leah Aldridge was killed by her father in 2002. After the coroner and Greater Manchester police finished their investigation, the body was returned to the family for the funeral. Last year, the police discovered that they had retained some of Leah’s body parts, and these were returned to the family for a second funeral. Only a few weeks ago, yet more body parts were discovered by the police and the family had to go through the ordeal of a third funeral. They have no confidence that Greater Manchester police or the police and crime commissioner, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, now have finally allowed the family to lay their daughter Leah to rest. Will the Prime Minister hold an inquiry into this matter for the sake of Leah’s family and for other families across Greater Manchester?

This is an absolutely terrible case. I am sure, as my hon. Friend will have felt from the reaction of Members across the House when they heard him set out the details, that we all want to express our deepest sympathy to Leah’s family for the prolonged trauma they have had to endure as a result of the way that this has been handled.

I understand that the deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester has been in touch with the Human Tissue Authority about the case. The authority is advising on ensuring that the establishment concerned does the necessary work to evaluate what went wrong in this case and puts in place measures to minimise the chance that this can ever happen again. Officials in the Home Office will meet both the Greater Manchester police and the National Police Chiefs’ Council to further address the issue of historically held human tissue. I will ensure that the relevant Home Office Minister updates my hon. Friend on the outcome of those meetings.

Q15. The Windrush scandal continues to affect my constituent who, despite receiving his British passport, has been told he is ineligible for employment and support allowance as he has not made enough national insurance contributions over the past two years—an impossible task, since he has been prevented from working by the Home Office. Will the Prime Minister take responsibility for ensuring that the Department for Work and Pensions has special measures in place to deal with Windrush applicants, and will she confirm that my constituent will now get the support he deserves? (906865)

The Home Office, of course, set up a special taskforce to deal with the Windrush cases to provide help and support to the individuals—[Interruption.] Yes, I know the shadow Foreign Secretary is mentioning the DWP. I am coming on to the DWP. What is important for the individuals concerned is that they are able to interact with one Government body that is then able to give them support and take on the issues for them. I believe that the individual concerned should get in touch with the taskforce, and the Home Secretary will make sure that the necessary inquiries are made.

Will the Prime Minister visit my constituency to open Airbus’s new wing integration centre in Filton, which is a £40 million investment that will secure hundreds of jobs and good- quality apprenticeships for the future? Will she join me in thanking and paying tribute to Airbus for its strong and enduring commitment to the UK?

My hon. Friend has issued a very interesting invitation. I cannot give him an instant response from the Dispatch Box, because I will need to look at diary commitments. It is absolutely right that we thank and congratulate Airbus on the commitment it has made to the United Kingdom and the high-quality jobs it provides here. When I went to the Farnborough airshow, I was very pleased to meet Airbus executives to look at and talk about some their latest products.

In a meeting on Monday, the aluminium and steel industry told leaders of Opposition parties—with the exception of the leader of the Labour party, who refused to attend—that thousands of jobs are to be put at risk by the British Government’s Brexit policies and threadbare industrial strategy. Is it not the case that the Prime Minister is prepared to dole out P45s to manufacturing workers simply in order to appease the Brexit extremists in her own party?

The hon. Lady’s portrayal of the situation could not be further from the case. What we have put forward in the Chequers plan is a plan that delivers on the result of the referendum and ensures that we take control of our money, borders and laws, but that does so in a way that protects jobs and livelihoods across the United Kingdom. The Government have given support to the steel industry in a number of ways, and the industrial strategy is about ensuring that we have a healthy manufacturing industry in this country, but also a manufacturing industry for the future, providing the high-skilled jobs and skills for people for the future.

The Prime Minister will be aware of not only my feelings but those of pretty much everyone in this House and the vast majority of this country when it comes to seeing our veterans dragged through the courts in Northern Ireland to appease political differences. What is she as Prime Minister personally doing—how is she personally investing of herself in this process—to bring to an end something that the vast majority of her country find completely abhorrent?

I am well aware of the degree of concern about this issue, which is why I have held a number of discussions about it with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. We owe a vast debt of gratitude to the heroism and bravery of the soldiers and police officers who upheld the rule of law and were themselves accountable to it. That is something that has always set them apart from the terrorists, who during the troubles were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of members of the security forces. But as I have made clear, the current system in Northern Ireland is flawed. It is not working; it is not working for soldiers, for police officers or for victims—a group, in fact, that includes many soldiers and police officers as well. Although a number of terrorist murders from the troubles are actively under investigation by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and other police forces, under the current mechanism for investigating the past there is a disproportionate focus on former members of the armed forces and the police. We want to ensure that all outstanding deaths in Northern Ireland are investigated in ways that are fair, balanced and proportionate.

Since the life-changing spinal muscular atrophy treatment Spinraza was rejected by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in its first guidance last month, families affected, including that of young Sam Mckie in North Tyneside, have been left heartbroken. Will the Prime Minister meet me and Muscular Dystrophy UK to discuss the urgent need to make progress on the managed access agreement so that patients can access Spinraza as soon as possible?

I am very happy to look at the specific issue in relation to the decision taken by NICE, and I will ensure that Health Ministers look into it and have a meeting with the hon. Lady to discuss the details.