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House of Commons Hansard
04 May 2016
Volume 609
  • Q13. What assessment he has made of the effect on the performance of Government of the introduction of five-year fixed-term Parliaments; and if he will make a statement. [904875]

  • What matters is what works and allows the Government to make long-term decisions in the long-term interests of the country. In my view, five-year fixed-term Parliaments are an important part of that.

  • Will the Prime Minister ensure that his Government’s performance includes the long-overdue creation of a centre of evidence on sexual abuse of children—something that I first raised in Prime Minister’s questions with Margaret Thatcher in 1989? We can deal with the awful consequences of child sex abuse for victims and perpetrators, but we must also use early intervention expertise to stop it happening in the first place. Will the Prime Minister back the excellent work of Ministers and Members from all parties and get this much-needed What Works centre up and running without delay, within the five-year term of this Government?

  • I am glad the hon. Gentleman rescued his own question with those last words. We are grateful to him, constitutionally at least.

  • I am sorry that it has taken so long for a question in 1989 to get an answer, but I can tell the hon. Gentleman that setting up a centre of expertise on sexual abuse is exactly what the Home Office is doing. It will play a significant role in identifying and sharing high-quality evidence on what works to prevent and deal with sexual abuse and exploitation. Alongside this, the Department for Education’s existing What Works centre will ensure that social workers across the country are able to learn from the best examples. It is a good example of Government reform, which I know the hon. Gentleman supports.

  • The Prime Minister and we on the Government Benches can be very proud of the fact that in recent years we have reduced both relative poverty and income inequality. We are a one nation party or we are nothing. Does the Prime Minister agree with Lord Rose, the leader of the Remain campaign, that if we were to leave the EU and exercise greater control over immigration for the sake of public services, wages would rise even faster?

  • If we were to leave the EU, I think we would see an impact on our economy that would be largely negative. That is not just my view; that is the view now of the Bank of England, the International Monetary Fund, the OECD and a growing number of international bodies. I would say to anybody who wants to make that choice that obviously it is a choice for the British people to make, but we have to be clear about the economic consequences.