Skip to main content

West Midlands: Economic Growth

Volume 742: debated on Wednesday 6 December 2023

Q1. Whether he has had recent discussions with the Mayor of the West Midlands on economic growth in that region. (900527)

I welcome you to your place, Madam Deputy Speaker. I know that the whole House wishes Mr Speaker a speedy recovery. Before I answer my hon. Friend’s question, I also know that the whole House will want to join me in offering our condolences to the family and friends of Alistair Darling, Glenys Kinnock and Lord James Douglas-Hamilton. They each made an enormous contribution to public life and will be deeply missed.

The Hillsborough families have suffered multiple injustices: the loss of 97 lives, the blaming of the fans and the unforgivable institutional defensiveness of public bodies. I am profoundly sorry for what they have been through. Today, the Government have published their response to Bishop James Jones’s report to ensure that the pain and suffering of the Hillsborough families is not repeated. I am immensely grateful that they shared their experiences. I hope to meet them in the new year, and the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice will make an oral statement after PMQs.

Turning to the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Lichfield (Michael Fabricant), the Government continue to work closely with the Mayor of the West Midlands to develop fully his plan to deliver growth.

I join the Prime Minister in his comments about the Hillsborough families.

It is thanks to Margaret Thatcher and her robust treatment of militant trade unions in the west midlands, and to her contribution of £10 billion at today’s prices to the motor industry in the west midlands that iconic names such as Jaguar and Land Rover still exist. Does the Prime Minister share my boundless joy that on the road to Damascus and in recognition of her great heritage and all that she achieved, another fanboy has joined in her great belief—the Leader of the Opposition?

My hon. Friend is a fantastic champion for his area, and because of the pro-business policies of this Government, I am delighted to see that Jaguar Land Rover has invested billions of pounds in its move towards electrification in the region. He is absolutely right: I am always happy to welcome new Thatcherites from all sides of this House, but it says something about the Leader of the Opposition that the main strong female leader that he could praise is Margaret Thatcher, not his own fantastic deputy.