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Prime Minister

Volume 726: debated on Wednesday 18 January 2023

The Prime Minister was asked—


I know Members across the House will be as shocked and appalled as I am about the case of David Carrick. The abuse of power is truly sickening, and our thoughts are with his victims. The police must address the failings in this case, restore public confidence and ensure the safety of women and girls. There will be no place to hide for those who use their position to intimidate women and girls, or for those who fail to act to reprimand and remove people who are unfit for office.

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

As the project champion for the north midlands manufacturing corridor, next week I am bringing together businesses, leaders and local councillors from across the region in Parliament to set out to Department for Transport officials the importance of the A50/A500 corridor. The Prime Minister understands the importance of investing in our infrastructure and unlocking the potential of our towns and cities, so will he urge Government colleagues in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to attend the meeting to hear more about the benefits this investment would bring to our region?

The Government recognise the strategic importance to the midlands of the A50/A500 corridor. Final decisions on the scheme will be made in the third road investment strategy, which will be fully published next year, but I know my hon. Friend will be contacting Ministers in the relevant Departments to invite them to hear her case.

I join the Prime Minister in his comments about the dreadful case of David Carrick.

It is three minutes past 12. If somebody phones 999 now because they have chest pains and fear it might be a heart attack, when would the Prime Minister expect an ambulance to arrive?

It is absolutely right that people can rely on the emergency services when they need them, and that is why we are rapidly implementing measures to improve the delivery of ambulance times and, indeed, urgent and emergency care. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman cares about ensuring patients get access to life-saving emergency care when they need it, why will he not support our minimum safety legislation?

The Prime Minister can deflect all he likes but, for a person suffering chest pains, the clock starts ticking straightaway—every minute counts. That is why the Government say an ambulance should be there in 18 minutes. In this case, that would be about 20 minutes past 12. I know he does not want to answer the question I asked him, so I will ask him again. When will that ambulance arrive?

Because of the extra funding we are putting in to relieve pressure in urgent and emergency care departments, and the investment we are putting into ambulance call handling, we will improve ambulance times as we are recovering from the pandemic and indeed the pressures of this winter. But I say this to the right hon. and learned Gentleman again, because he makes my case for me: he describes the life-saving care that people desperately need, so why, when they have this in other countries—France, Spain, Italy and others—is he depriving people here of that care?

The Prime Minister obviously does not know or does not care. I will tell him: if our heart attack victim had called for an ambulance in Peterborough at 12.03 pm, it would not arrive until 2.10 pm. These are our constituents waiting for ambulances I am talking about. If this had happened in Northampton, the ambulance would not arrive until—[Interruption.]

Order. Mr Bristow, I hope you want to see the rest of the questions out. I want you to be here, but you are going to have to behave better.

I am talking about our constituents. If they were in Northampton, the ambulance would not arrive until 2.20 pm. If they were in Plymouth, it would not arrive until 2.40 pm. That is why someone who fears a heart attack is waiting more than two and half hours for an ambulance. That is not the worst-case scenario; it is just the average wait. So for one week, will the Prime Minister stop blaming others, take some responsibility and just admit that under his watch the NHS is in crisis, isn’t it?

I notice that the one place the right hon. and learned Gentleman did not mention was Wales, where we know that ambulance times are even worse than they are in England. Let me set out the reason that is the case, because this is not about politics; this is about the fact that the NHS in Scotland, in Wales, in England is dealing with unprecedented challenges, recovering from covid and dealing with a very virulent and early flu season, and everyone is doing their best to bring those wait times down. But again, I ask him: if he believes so much in improving ambulance wait times, why will he not support our minimum safety legislation?

The Prime Minister will not answer any questions and he will not take any responsibility. By 1 pm, our heart attack victim is in a bad way, sweaty, dizzy and with their chest tightening. [Interruption.] I am talking about a heart attack and Conservative Members are shouting—this is your constituent. By that time, they should be getting treatment. But an hour after they have called 999 they are still lying there, waiting, listening to the clock tick. How does he think they feel, knowing that an ambulance could be still hours away?

The specific and practical things we are doing to improve ambulance times are clear: we are investing more in urgent and emergency care to create more bed capacity; we are ensuring that the flow of patients through emergency care is faster than it ever has been; we are discharging people at a record rate out of hospitals, to ease the constraints that they are facing; and we are reducing the call-out rates by moving people out of ambulance stacks, with them being dealt with in the community. Those are all very practical steps that will make a difference in the short term. But I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman this again and again, although we know why; the reason he is not putting patients first when it comes to ambulance waiting times is because he is simply in the pockets of his union paymasters.

This is not hypothetical; this is real life. Stephanie from Plymouth was battling cancer when she collapsed at home. Her mum rang 999, desperate for help. Stephanie only lived a couple of miles from the hospital, but they could not prioritise her. She was 26 when she died, waiting for that ambulance—a young woman whose life was ended far too soon. As a dad, I cannot even fathom that pain. So on behalf of Stephanie and her family, will the Prime Minister stop the excuses, stop shifting the blame, stop the political games and simply tell us: when will he sort out these delays and get back to the 18-minute wait?

Of course Stephanie’s case is a tragedy. Of course, people are working as hard as they can to ensure that people get the care that they need. The right hon. and learned Gentleman talks about political games. He is a living example of someone playing political games when it comes to people’s healthcare. I have already mentioned what has been going on in Wales. Is he confident that, in the Labour-run Welsh NHS, nobody is suffering right now? Of course they are, because the NHS everywhere is under pressure. What we should be doing is supporting those doctors and nurses to make the changes that we are doing to bring care to those people. I will ask him this: if he is so concerned about making sure that the Stephanies of the future get the care that they need, why is he denying those families the guarantee of emergency life-saving care?

So, that is the Prime Minister’s answer to Stephanie’s family—deflect, blame others, never take responsibility. Just like last week, he will not say when he will deliver the basic minimum service levels that people need.

Over the 40 minutes or so that these sessions tend to last, 700 people will call an ambulance; two will be reporting a heart attack, four a stroke. Instead of the rapid help they need, many will wait and wait and wait. If the Prime Minister will not answer any questions, will he at least apologise for the lethal chaos under his watch?

The right hon. and learned Gentleman asks about the minimum safety levels. We will deliver them as soon as we can pass them. Why will he not vote for them? We are delivering on the people’s priorities. As we have seen this week, the right hon. and learned Gentleman will just say anything if the politics suits him; it is as simple as that. He will break promises left, right and centre. He promised to nationalise public services. He promised to have a second referendum. He promised to defend the mass migration of the EU, and now we are apparently led to believe—[Interruption.]

Order. I expect those on the Front Bench to keep a little quiet. If they do not, there is somewhere else where they can shout and make their noise.

If we are to deliver for the British people, people need to have strong convictions. When it comes to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, he is not just for the free movement of people; he also has the free movement of principles.

Q3. On Monday, the independent net zero review was published by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingswood (Chris Skidmore). Does my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister join me in welcoming many of its recommendations, particularly to provide clarity and continuity to all those working to decarbonise our economy, especially those supporting the South Shropshire Climate Action group in my constituency? (903170)

I thank my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingswood (Chris Skidmore) for his review, and also pay tribute to my right hon. Friend the Member for Ludlow (Philip Dunne) for his work in this area. I am pleased that the report recognised the UK’s leadership in tackling climate change and catalysing a global transformation in how other countries are dealing with it. We have, as the report acknowledged, exceeded expectations to decarbonise, and we will respond to the full range of the review’s requests and recommendations in the coming year.

To promise is ae thing, to keep it is another. Well, the Scottish Government kept their manifesto promise to the people and, thanks to support from Members of all political parties in Holyrood, the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill was passed. Surely in that context, the Prime Minister must recognise that it is a dangerous moment for devolution when both he and, indeed, the Leader of the Opposition seek to overturn a promise made between Scotland’s politicians and Scotland’s people.

Let me be crystal clear: the decision in this case is centred on the legislation’s consequences for reserved matters. This is laid out in the Scotland Act 1998, which established the Scottish Parliament—the hon. Gentleman talks about that and, at the time, it was supported by the SNP. This Bill would have a significant adverse effect on UK-wide equalities matters, so the Scottish Secretary, with regret, has rightly acted.

Let me be crystal clear—[Hon. Members: “Ooh!”] This is the Conservative party seeking to stoke a culture war against some of the most marginalised people in society, and Scotland’s democracy is simply collateral damage. On that issue of democracy, let us reflect, because on Monday the UK Government introduced legislation to ban the right to strike, against the express wishes of the Scottish Government; on Tuesday, they introduced legislation to overturn the GRR Bill, against the express wishes of the Scottish Government; and this evening they will seek to put in place legislation that rips up thousands of EU protections, against the express wishes of the Scottish Government. Are we not now on a slippery slope from devolution to direct rule?

No, of course we are not. This is simply about protecting UK-wide legislation and ensuring the safety of women and children; it is not about the devolution settlement. I urge the hon. Gentleman and his party to consider engaging with the UK Government on the Bill, as we did before the legislation passed, so that we can find a constructive way forward in the interests of the people of Scotland and the United Kingdom.

Q10. The care, education and support that children receive in their earliest years has the biggest impact on their future life outcomes; that is why the affordability, accessibility and quality of childcare is so important for families in Eddisbury and right across the country. Yet, despite significant investment by the UK Government since 2010, for too many families the childcare system remains inflexible, complex and expensive. Will my right hon. Friend restate to this House his commitment to addressing this essential and pressing issue so that every child can have the best start in life? (903177)

I know that this is a topic my hon. Friend knows very well from his background. He is right that it is essential to access quality childcare, which is why we provide every eligible three and four-year-old with at least 15 hours a week of free childcare and are considering new plans to improve the cost, choice and affordability of childcare, whether through consulting on ratios or supporting more people to become childminders.

A Transport Secretary implying NHS workers are deliberately putting people in danger, a Health Secretary pitting dedicated nurses against vulnerable patients—does the Prime Minister really expect the public to believe that the very people who have dedicated their lives to saving life and limb are so reckless? Is it not the case that this Government have pushed them to their absolute limit and they have no other option but to strike?

We have enormous respect and gratitude for all our public sector workers, especially those in the NHS. That is why we have backed them with not just record funding, but record investment in more doctors and nurses, with 15,000 more doctors, 30,000 more nurses and more lifesaving equipment that will help them to do their jobs. We continue to want to engage constructively in dialogue with them.

Q11.   Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner has a great many car-dependent older and disabled constituents, many of whom are horrified to read that the Mayor of London may have manipulated the outcome of his own consultation in order to impose a unwanted £12.50 daily charge every time they go to a medical appointment or attend hospital. Does my right hon. Friend agree that any further roll-out of the ultra low emission zone should be paused until those matters have been fully investigated? (903178)

My hon. Friend rightly points out that transport in London is devolved to the Labour Mayor of London. It is disappointing that the Mayor, backed by the Leader of the Opposition, is choosing not to listen to the public and expanding the zone against the overwhelming views of residents and businesses. I urge the Mayor to reconsider properly and to respond to those serious concerns.

Q2. The Prime Minister showed his cards this week by ramming through the sacking nurses Bill—he has literally gone from clapping nurses to sacking them. His Transport Secretary has said that the Bill is unworkable, and the Education Secretary has said that it is not needed. Why does the Prime Minister still want the Bill? (903169)

It was the Labour party that showed its cards this week when it came to backing working people. [Interruption.] What I would say—[Interruption.] What I would say to the hon. Gentleman is that if he really cares about supporting patients, if he really cares about children getting the education they receive, if he really cares about working people being able to go about their lives free from disruption, he should join in supporting legislation which is prevalent in many other countries to ensure minimum safety levels in critical public services, and get off the picket lines himself.

Q13. To continue a theme, evidence is now very clear that the London Mayor’s sham consultation has suppressed 5,000 negative responses from members and supporters of FairFuelUK, for which I chair the all-party parliamentary group. What angers me is that this proposal is a tax against my South Thanet residents, it is a tax against Kent residents and it is a tax against all of the home counties. It is true taxation without representation. Will my right hon. Friend assure me that he will do all he can to stop it? This tax is a fill-up for a failed Mayor’s budget and a failed Mayor. (903180)

My hon. Friend makes an excellent and powerful point, and he is right to highlight that the Labour Mayor is imposing that tax on a public who do not want it. Expanding that zone is not something that communities want. I look forward to working with my hon. Friend to urge the Mayor to consider and respond properly to all views and stop that unfair tax.

Q4. During a period of 12 months, two of my constituents—a 10-year-old boy and a senior citizen—lost their lives after being attacked by dangerous dogs. Fatalities have also occurred in other parts of the country. It is clear that the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is woefully inadequate. The Government have commissioned studies and debated the subject at length, but they have done nothing. My question is: when will the Government take action on the issue of dangerous dogs? (903171)

The hon. Gentleman raises a very important case, and I am very sorry to hear about the specific families he mentions. We recognise that dog attacks can have horrific consequences, and I want to assure him that we take the issue incredibly seriously. That is why we have established a working group between police, local authorities and other key stakeholders to consider all aspects of tackling irresponsible dog ownership. That working group will make its recommendations later this year, and of course, the Government will respond promptly.

Conservative-run Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has an excellent track record of delivering for my constituents while keeping council tax low. We have put in a bid to the levelling-up fund, and I know that that money would make such an incredible difference to my constituents. Will my right hon. Friend use his good offices to encourage the Department for Levelling Up to look on us favourably this week?

My right hon. Friend has been a stalwart champion for her community and, in particular, for their levelling-up fund bid, which I know will make a massive difference to them. I wish her and her constituents every success when we announce the next round of successful bidders for that fund.

Q5.   Many of my constituents are struggling to keep up with their energy bills this winter. When families fall behind, they are too often punished by being switched over to prepayment meters, which are more expensive do nothing to help their financial situation. Will the Prime Minister back our call to ban energy companies from forcibly installing prepayment meters and stop them switching smart meters over to prepayment meters remotely? (903172)

I want to assure the hon. Lady that Ofgem has specific regulations in place regarding the use of prepayment meters and how energy companies should treat those who are struggling with their bills. I am pleased to say that her constituents will receive, at a minimum, around £900 of support with their energy bills this winter as a result of this Government’s actions.

Will my right hon. Friend join me in paying tribute and giving thanks to the several thousand people at Ministry of Defence Equipment & Support at Abbey Wood in my constituency, who work tirelessly to ensure that the military equipment and supplies that we have pledged to the people of Ukraine are dispatched quickly and efficiently? Does he agree that events in Ukraine are a reminder, yet again, of the need to invest more in our own sovereign defence manufacturing capability?

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point, and I am happy to join him in paying tribute to his constituents at the MOD facility. The work they are doing is making a critical difference in the fight to combat Russian aggression in Ukraine. I know it is extremely appreciated, both by the President of Ukraine and his people. My hon. Friend is also right that it highlights the need for more investment, which is why we are putting £24 billion of investment into our armed forces and increasing the amount of kit that we manufacture here at home.

Q6. It is almost a year to the day since the then Business Secretary, the right hon. Member for Spelthorne (Kwasi Kwarteng), in a visit to the Britishvolt site in my constituency, promised the company £100 million and proudly boasted to the national media that he could not think of a project that better demonstrated levelling up. Yesterday, the company entered administration having received not a penny in financial support from the Government. Does the Prime Minister agree with me that there is not a single project in the country that better demonstrates the Government’s lack of industrial strategy, failure with levelling up and abandonment of the north-east? (903173)

First of all, let me say that my thoughts are with the company’s employees and families at this time, and we stand ready to support those impacted. Let me just outline to the hon. Gentleman what exactly has happened. We did offer significant support to Britishvolt through the automotive transformation fund—a considerable amount of funding—but entirely reasonably, and this is not something I expect the Labour party to understand, that support was conditional on the company receiving private investment as well, which is a sensible protection for taxpayers. Unfortunately, that did not materialise. It is completely wrong to take from that what else is happening in the north-east. Across the north-east, there is new investment in the new N-Vision and Nissan plant in electric vehicle manufacturing. That is a £1 billion investment in the north-east. Look at what is happening in Teesside on clean energy. This Government are committed to the north-east, and we will deliver more jobs and opportunity under this Conservative Administration.

The Prime Minister has long been a friend to business. As Chancellor, he listened to businesses in Stoke-on-Trent Central about their issues. Stoke-on-Trent has a wide range of manufacturing fabrication and engineering excellence. Does he agree with me that growing these activities is a vital strand of our levelling-up ambitions? May I invite him to re-visit my constituency to meet these businesses?

My hon. Friend is an excellent champion for her constituents, particularly her advanced manufacturing businesses, which I have had the pleasure of visiting with her in the past. It is important that we support those businesses on energy prices, which we are doing through the announcement that the Chancellor recently made, particularly in regard to generous support for energy-intensive industries. Indeed, they can also apply for up to £315 million-worth of capital grant funding to help them make the transition to net zero.

Q7. When I had breast cancer, I had phenomenal nurses. When I had to be rushed to A&E, the ambulance crew looked after me. Unison and GMB are on strike because nobody is negotiating with them. For the first time in the history of the Royal College of Nursing, its members are on strike today after being balloted. I have spoken to the general secretary of the RCN, and she is adamant that she wants to end the disputes; she just needs a meeting with the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister show leadership and meet the RCN? It is a simple yes or no. (903174)

At the turn of the year, the Government wrote to all unions, including the RCN, to invite them for frank, open, honest, two-way dialogue with the relevant Secretaries of State. I am pleased that those meetings are happening in a range of sectors, and I hope we can find a constructive way through this.

As we approach Holocaust Memorial Day, colleagues can sign the early-day motion and the book of commitment, and they can attend the various commemorative services. I have to report some very sad news to the House. The well-known holocaust survivor Zigi Shipper died at the age of 93 in the early hours of this morning. [Interruption.] He was a survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau and Stutthof concentration camps. He spent his life in this country spreading his message of hope to young people. Will my right hon. Friend join me in thanking Zigi for his life and for his message? It is vitally important as we sit here today: do not hate.

I am very sorry to learn that Zigi has passed away, and my thoughts are of course with his family. I know he was a man with wonderful energy and humanity. I pay tribute to him for his work, and indeed to all holocaust survivors who have so bravely shared their testimonies. We must never forget the holocaust. As my hon. Friend rightly said, I know the whole House will join us in echoing Zigi’s poignant and accurate message: do not hate.

Q8. Will the Prime Minister join his Conservative predecessors in guaranteeing that HS2 reaches Manchester, or does he still believe that investment should be taken from poorer areas in the north and given to the more affluent parts of Kent? (903175)

This Government are investing record sums in transport infrastructure across the country but especially in the north and midlands, with a £96 billion integrated rail plan that will improve journey times east-west across the north and connectivity across the east midlands. It is a record we are proud of, and now we will get on with delivering it.

There has been a 40% increase in patients on roll with GPs in Biggleswade in the past 15 years, but last week, proposals for a Biggleswade health hub were not progressed, despite financial support from the Conservative-controlled Central Bedfordshire Council. Can my right hon. Friend advise me of the status of our manifesto commitment to “infrastructure first”, and will he and his Ministers work with me to bring together the various parts of the NHS to bring the Biggleswade health hub back on track?

I would be happy to organise a meeting for my hon. Friend to discuss how to progress his project. He is right about the importance of primary care. There is more investment going in, but we want to ensure it works for his constituency, so I look forward to arranging a meeting with him and the relevant Minister.

Q9. The Prime Minister is well aware of the injustice of prepayment meters, not least because he commented on it in response to an earlier question. It is long-standing, with higher tariffs and higher social charges. Why, then, has he allowed a situation where hundreds of thousands have been forced into that penury when winter is upon us, prices are rocketing and 8.4 million people are facing fuel poverty in April? All he requires to do is instruct Ofgem, himself or through a Minister, to ensure that there is an equalisation of tariffs between debit and credit, and ensure that his Government take steps to provide a fund for those who have seen debt arise because of his Government’s failures. Will the Prime Minister end the manifest injustice of the poor paying most? (903176)

I think the hon. Gentleman’s proposal would also increase Bills for many millions of families, so I am not sure it is the right approach. What we are doing is providing around £900 of specific support for all families’ energy bills this winter, and there is further targeted support for those who are most vulnerable, which is absolutely the right thing to do. As the Chancellor has already announced, we are also consulting on the best thing to do going forward, including options, as the hon. Gentleman has mentioned, such as a social tariff, as part of our wider reforms of the retail energy market.

Every single country in the G7 requires some level of minimum service to be provided when strikes take place in essential public services, often with laws that go much further than that. Does my right hon. Friend agree that the British people should be entitled to the same basic level of protection when strikes take place in these services, and does he think the former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair had a point when he said last year that the “big defect” at the birth of the Labour party was its ties to organised labour?

My hon. Friend put that very well. She is right to make the point that what we are proposing is in line with the vast majority of other countries around the world. Indeed, many countries ban strikes in blue-light services altogether, which we are not doing. We are joining countries across continental Europe in having minimum safety laws, as I think the public would reasonably expect a level of emergency life-saving care in the event of strikes. That is a common-sense, reasonable position to take, and we all know why the party opposite cannot bring itself to support it.

Q12. This month, the right hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Nadhim Zahawi) was forced to pay millions to His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to settle a tax dispute. Was the Prime Minister aware of the investigation when he appointed the right hon. Gentleman to his Cabinet and as chairman of the Conservative party? Will the Prime Minister demand accountability from his Cabinet members over their tax affairs? (903179)

My right hon. Friend has already addressed the matter in full and there is nothing more that I can add.

I begin by putting on record the House’s heartbreak at the tragic death this morning of our friend Denys, the Interior Minister of Ukraine, and his deputy, and all those who were killed in that tragic accident. I am sure the House is united in its feeling on that.

On more local affairs, as many hon. Members have pointed out, I understand that the Government are in the final furlongs of giving out the levelling-up bids. I must ask the Prime Minister to look kindly on building the Borough Market of the midlands and a future meditech hub in Rutland. Can he assure me that not just urban, but rural areas will be levelled up?

I join my hon. Friend in paying tribute to the family of the Interior Minister of Ukraine—our thoughts are with them at this difficult time. I confirm that the Government believe that levelling up should apply equally everywhere across our United Kingdom. Urban and rural communities up and down the country will get the benefit of the investment that they deserve. We will ensure that we spread opportunity and that everyone takes pride in the place that they call home.

Q14. David Cameron said that the Scottish Parliament was “one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world”,yet the Prime Minister continues to block the Scottish Parliament’s clear mandate to allow Scots to choose their own future. On Monday, he sent his MPs through the Lobby to deny Scottish workers the right to strike, despite overwhelming Scottish Parliament opposition. On Tuesday, he sent his Secretary of State for Scotland to block a Bill of the Scottish Parliament that was voted for by 70% of MSPs, including Tories. Does he still think that David Cameron’s ridiculous assertion holds any water? (903181)

Some 347 Acts have been passed by the Scottish Parliament, which is undeniably one of the most powerful devolved legislatures anywhere in the world. In this exceptional case, it is clear that the Bill has adverse consequences on UK-wide equalities legislation. In those exceptional circumstances, the Scottish Secretary has regretfully taken the decision to block passage of the legislation. As I said previously, however, we want to engage in a dialogue with the Scottish Government to ensure that we can find a constructive way through.

The British people rightly expect us to control our borders, so I was pleased that the Prime Minister made the need to stop the boats in the channel one of his five priorities. Can he reassure me and my constituents that we will not only bolster the patrols on the French beaches, but ensure that people who make that dangerous journey and arrive are removed?

My hon. Friend is right that that is a priority for all our constituents, and he is right to highlight our new deal with France, which increases funded patrols on French beaches by 40%. As he said, we must go further to solve the problem once and for all, which means introducing new legislation that makes it unequivocally clear that if someone enters the UK illegally, they should not be able to stay here, but will instead be swiftly detained and removed.

Last night, the BBC revealed that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office knew the extent of Narendra Modi’s involvement in the Gujarat massacre that paved the way for the persecution of Muslims and other minorities that we see in India today. Senior diplomats reported that the massacre could not have taken place without the “climate of impunity” created by Modi and that he was, in the FCDO’s words, “directly responsible” for the violence. Given that hundreds were brutally killed and that families across India and the world, including here in the UK, are still without justice, does the Prime Minister agree with his Foreign Office diplomats that Modi was directly responsible? What more does the Foreign Office know about Modi’s involvement in that grave act of ethnic cleansing?

The UK Government’s position on that is clear and long standing, and it has not changed. Of course, we do not tolerate persecution anywhere, but I am not sure that I agree at all with the characterisation that the hon. Gentleman has put forward.