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House of Commons Hansard
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11 March 2019
Volume 656

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On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. You may have seen today that NHS England announced the trialling of the abolition of the four-hour waiting time target in A&E departments. You will recall that the target allowed the previous Labour Government to deliver some of the lowest waiting times in history, but it has not been met under this Government since July 2015. Indeed, 2.8 million patients waited beyond four hours in A&E last year. Getting rid of the target should be based on clear medical evidence, not pressure from Downing Street. Would it not have been a basic courtesy for the Secretary of State to have come to the House today to offer a statement so that we could question him on our constituents’ behalf? Have you had any notice that the Secretary of State intends to make a statement on getting rid of the four-hour A&E target?

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I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving me notice that he intended to raise that point of order. We have not received any indication that the Secretary of State intends to make a statement to the House, but it is obviously up to him to decide whether to do so. However, the hon. Gentleman will know that there are other ways of pursuing the matter. I am sure that the Table Office would assist him with any information that he may require, although I suspect that he does not require any given that he is quite well versed in such things. At the same time, those on the Treasury Bench will have heard his concerns, which I am sure will be fed back.

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On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. In wishing you and others a happy Commonwealth Day, I want to reference the fact that it is now close to 50 years since the remarkable events that eventually brought large numbers of Ugandan Asians to these shores. The success of that generation has been quite extraordinary, and the philanthropy associated with their entrepreneurial success is almost as remarkable as their commercial achievements. For example, two of my constituents, Babu Odedra and Ash Chavda, bought a redundant theatre that they are in the process of helping to restore as part of their contribution to our city. I wanted to seek your advice, Madam Deputy Speaker, as to whether you think that a celebratory 50th anniversary debate about that generation of Ugandan Asians would be appropriate.

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The hon. Gentleman has clearly successfully raised an issue about which he feels strongly, making specific reference to his constituents. However, I am sure that the matter could be of wider interest, so he may want to gather colleagues from across the House to make an application for such a debate to the Backbench Business Committee.

Bill Presented

Online News Platforms (Regulation) Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Damien Moore, supported by Eddie Hughes, Douglas Ross, Mrs Kemi Badenoch, Paul Masterton, Vicky Ford, Bill Grant, Ben Bradley, Esther McVey, Gillian Keegan, Luke Graham and Stephen Kerr, presented a Bill to regulate online news platforms; and for connected purposes.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 22 March, and to be printed (Bill 355).