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Volume 653: debated on Wednesday 23 January 2019

Q13. If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 23 January. Even though Brexit is turning out to be very different from what voters were promised by the leave campaign, is the Prime Minister now effectively saying to voters, in opposing a people’s vote, that they had their say three years ago and they must now just put up and shut up? (908742)

What we are saying is that this House overwhelmingly voted to have the referendum in 2016 and for people to be asked for their choice as to whether to leave or to stay in the European Union. There will have been a variety of reasons why people voted to leave the European Union in 2016. Many wanted an end to free movement, and that is what we will be delivering. For many, it was about sovereignty, and that is why ending the jurisdiction of the European Court is important. Independent trade policy is also part of it, and that is what the Government are delivering. We are delivering on the vote that took place and ensuring that we do it in a way that protects jobs and gives people certainty for the future.

Q12. Ten years ago, I had a cervical smear test that picked up some abnormalities which, if they had been left untreated, could have developed into something much more serious. Unfortunately, cervical screening is at 21-year low and more than a quarter of women do not take up this life-saving test. We all know that it can be a bit uncomfortable, and it can be embarrassing for some women, but will the Prime Minister please urge all women up and down the country to take up this life-saving test? (908740)

My hon. Friend’s experience shows exactly why it is so important for women to take up this test. We need to do more to encourage women to take up their cervical screening tests, and Public Health England will shortly launch a national campaign to highlight the risks of cervical cancer and encourage women to attend the screening appointments. I can stand here as the Prime Minister and say that I know what it is like to go through a cervical smear test, and it is not comfortable. For some it will be embarrassing, and it is sometimes painful, but those few minutes can save lives, so I would encourage all women to take up their smear tests.

On the Monday before Christmas, my constituent Nathan Garrett, aged 18, was referred by his GP for emergency mental health support. On the Tuesday, he was helping others and delivering my Christmas cards, just as he had delivered many election leaflets over the years. Later, he asked the crisis team for emergency help, but none was forthcoming. On the Wednesday, Nathan went missing. On the Thursday, I learned at the volunteers’ event that we hold every Christmas, when I was expecting to see Nathan, that it had all got too much for him and that he had taken his own life.

Nathan Garrett was a brilliant, engaging, kind young man. He was a county athletics champion, a talented and brilliant musician, and incredibly popular. His parents and his grandmother are here today. Does the Prime Minister agree that when a teenager needs emergency mental health support, that support should be available within 24 hours? Will she ask the appropriate Minister to meet me and Nathan’s family to push that matter forward today?

I am sure that all Members will join me in sending our deepest condolences to Nathan’s family and friends and to all those who knew him. From what the hon. Gentleman said, it sounds as though he was an incredible young man. Every life lost is a tragedy, and incidents of suicide are deeply concerning, which is why we are taking action in relation to suicide prevention. The hon. Gentleman has also raised the issue of mental health provision. We recognise the importance of increasing provision for people who are suffering from mental health problems. I am happy to ensure that the hon. Gentleman can meet the appropriate Minister to discuss the matter.

Q14. Almost a year ago, the authorities in Telford agreed to commission an inquiry into child sexual exploitation in our town after a lengthy campaign by victims and their families, who were seeking justice and answers. The promised inquiry has not happened. There is no chairperson and no start date. Does my right hon. Friend agree that the failure to hold the promised inquiry lets down victims, survivors and our community? Will she join me in urging the Telford authorities not to sweep the matter under the carpet, but to deliver on their promises and to start the inquiry now? (908743)

My hon. Friend has raised an important issue. The crimes were utterly appalling. That is why we have given tackling child sexual abuse and exploitation the highest priority, and it is concerning, as my hon. Friend said, that the inquiry has taken so long to start, having been announced in the spring of last year. It is in the interests of victims and survivors that the inquiry is up and running as soon as possible. People deserve to see that inquiry taking place, and I will ensure that a Home Office Minister meets my hon. Friend to discuss that further.

At Prime Minister’s questions last October, I asked the Prime Minister about my constituent Hassan Mirza and his 10-year battle simply to renew his passport. I wrote to the Prime Minister and received a holding response two months ago. Since then, Hassan’s uncle has passed away, but he could not attend the funeral. His wife is ill, but he cannot visit her or his children. This is unacceptable. When will the Prime Minister finally give me a detailed answer, and when will she get a grip on the failings in the Home Office?

I can only apologise to the hon. Gentleman that he has not had a detailed answer from me before now. I will ensure that he gets one but, more than that, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is happy to meet him to discuss the case.

Will my right hon. Friend join me in paying tribute to my constituent Bob Woodward, who sadly died on Sunday? When Bob’s son Robert was diagnosed with cancer aged eight in 1976, he founded the charity CLIC—Cancer and Leukaemia in Childhood. Over the following decades, he changed lives by raising over £100 million in support of worthy causes. He was an inspirational figure and a great and compassionate man, and he recently had a new Great Western Railway train named after him. Will my right hon. Friend also join me in offering our condolences to his friends and family?

I am certainly happy to join my hon. Friend in expressing our sympathies and condolences to Bob Woodward’s friends and family and in paying tribute to Bob. After tragically losing his son to cancer, as my hon. Friend pointed out, he dedicated his life to young cancer patients and their families and was able use his success as a property developer to provide residences where families of young cancer patients could live while their child is receiving treatment. It is a fitting legacy that there are now 10 of these properties in the UK, and CLIC is now a global organisation raising funds for the care of families around the world. Bob Woodward suffered a terrible tragedy with the loss of his son, but he ensured that his work throughout his life is benefiting others.

This morning I received a letter from Santander saying that it is closing the branch in Middleton and suggesting that my constituents should avail themselves of banking services at Middleton post office, which in turn is being franchised into the back of WH Smith. Can the Prime Minister say what her policy is for our high street, other than just managed decline?

Obviously individual banks take commercial decisions, and it sounds as if there will still be post office services available on the high street to which the hon. Lady refers. We are concerned about helping to manage our high streets and ensuring that we have good high streets for the future. That is why, in the Budget, the Chancellor announced funding that is available to local authorities to work on plans for their high streets.

Will the Prime Minister join me in reassuring the people of North Wiltshire and, indeed, the nation that, despite yesterday’s announcement that he is to move his corporate headquarters and two senior executives to Singapore, the commitment of Dyson to Britain remains undiminished, as evidenced by the £200 million he is investing in his research and development site at Hullavington and by the £40 million he is investing in the engineering and design college at Malmesbury? He is totally and utterly committed to Great Britain, and yesterday’s announcement has no effect at all on that commitment.

Dyson is clear that it will continue to have a long-term future in the UK, and it has trebled its workforce to 4,800 over the past five years. Of course, what matters to companies like Dyson is having a Government who are unapologetically pro-business, which this Government are, and a Government who are ensuring that our balanced economic policy sees increasing employment, exports and foreign direct investment in UK companies at record highs.

Mr Speaker, may I wish you, the Prime Minister and everybody here a very happy Cumbria Day? A vast array of produce is available: beer from Kirkby Lonsdale; relish from Hawkshead; pies; and tea and coffee from Penningtons—all the stuff the Prime Minister might need for a packed lunch if she is considering a walking holiday anytime soon. I remind her that, after London, Cumbria contains Britain’s biggest tourism destination, but today Cumbria has come to London. I invite her and, indeed, everybody here to come and join us in the Jubilee Room straight after PMQs to sample the best of Cumbria.

The hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Farron) has done a good job of promoting the benefits of Cumbria, and I am sure he will be joined by my hon. Friends and others from across the House. I thank him for listing the very many items I might want to put in my packed lunch when I go on a walking holiday, but I am afraid I am bound to say that, although I recognise that Cumbria has good produce, Berkshire has good produce, too.