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Volume 743: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2024

Prioritising connecting towns in the north of England is a big part of Network North, so you will be pleased that I have a suggestion, Mr Speaker. Direct trains between Preston and Liverpool do not exist because passengers have to get off because there are buffers at Ormskirk. Science, technology and new multi-modal battery trains are going to allow that to be an accessible possibility, and then get Midge Hall station in Leyland reopened; does my right hon. Friend agree that that is a great idea and we should crack on with it?

Network North will significantly improve connectivity across the north, including through £3 billion to connect up all the major towns and cities of the north and £12 million to improve connectivity between Manchester and Liverpool. My hon. Friend is a fantastic champion for the region and I know that she and my hon. Friend the Member for Southport (Damien Moore) recently discussed Midge Hall station with the Transport Secretary, who is looking at options. We are keen to use every penny that will be saved from our decision on HS2 to reinvest back in the north, in local communities, and my hon. Friend’s idea sounds fantastic.

Every parent’s worst nightmare is watching their children starve and suffer, yet in Gaza living hell is being realised, with innocent children eating weeds and 1,000 children having lost one or more legs, with many of them having to have them amputated without anaesthesia or pain relief. I am sure the Prime Minister will agree that this is inhumane, so will he please publicly call for unhindered access for food and medicine to reach Gaza, and tell Israel to stop attacking healthcare facilities?

As I have said previously, we are deeply concerned about the devastating impact of the fighting in Gaza on the civilian population, and particularly, of course, children. Too many people have lost their lives already and there is a desperate need for increased humanitarian support to Gaza. I have stressed those points repeatedly to Prime Minister Netanyahu, and we are doing our bit to get more aid in. As I have said, we have trebled our aid commitment. Earlier this month, we sent in the first maritime shipment of aid into Egypt, which will help, and we are working with the United Nations to deliver a new humanitarian land corridor from Jordan into Gaza. I agree with the hon. Lady that we want to see more aid going into Gaza to help the most vulnerable people, and we should be proud in this House that the United Kingdom is playing a leading role in making that happen.