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Date Title Questioner
8 Oct 2019, 4:59 p.m. Belfast Agreement: Brexit Conor McGinn

Question to the Northern Ireland Office

To ask Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment the Government has made of the compatibility of the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement with (a) the UK leaving the EU without a deal and (b) the Irish backstop.

Answer (Julian Smith)

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon Member in the time available before Prorogation.

8 Oct 2019, 4:59 p.m. Developing Countries: Women's Rights Mr Jonathan Lord

Question to the Department for International Development

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to increase women’s rights in developing countries.

Answer (Zac Goldsmith)

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

8 Oct 2019, 4:31 p.m. Birds: Pest Control Jim Shannon

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the general licences for bird control that were introduced in April 2019.

Answer (Zac Goldsmith)

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

8 Oct 2019, 4:28 p.m. Reoffenders Stephen McPartland

Question to the Ministry of Justice

What plans he has to help reduce reoffending.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

This Government is committed to reducing reoffending by ensuring that all offenders have the tools they need to turn their backs on crime.

That is why we are focusing our efforts on supporting offenders to address any health and wellbeing issues; raise their levels of educations attainment and skills; get a job; and rebuild or reinforce their relationships.

We also know that a concerted cross-government effort is required to address reoffending. For example we recently entered into a National Partnership Agreement with the Department for Work and Pensions, to set out how departments will work together to improve offenders’ chances of securing work and integrate into the community on release from prison.

We know that in 39% of violent incidents victims believed alcohol was a factor. We are introducing an Alcohol Abstinence and Monitoring Requirement, giving courts the power to impose a ban on drinking alcohol as part of a community order where alcohol was a factor in the offending.

8 Oct 2019, 4:28 p.m. Members: Juries Bill Wiggin

Question to the Ministry of Justice

What plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to ensure that hon. Members are not prevented from participating in business in the House due to jury service responsibilities.

Answer (Chris Philp)

Trial by jury is fundamental to our world leading justice system and serving as a juror is one of the most important civic duties that anyone can be asked to perform.

The Jury Manual identifies that MPs who seek excusal on the grounds of parliamentary duties should be deferred in the first instance. This allows them to identify a more convenient time and strikes a sensible balance, ensuring that MPs are able to carry out their crucial role in this place.

If an MP feels that it is inappropriate to serve in his own constituency, he or she should be allowed to serve elsewhere.

Any individual requests for jury service to be deferred would be a matter for our independent judiciary

8 Oct 2019, 4:27 p.m. Prison Accommodation John Lamont

Question to the Ministry of Justice

What steps his Department is taking to increase prison capacity.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The Prime Minister has made clear his focus on tackling crime and announced in August an investment of up to £2.5 billion to transform the prison estate and provide 10,000 additional prison places.

Our recent Spending Round settlement provides the funding for MoJ to begin delivering this commitment and outline planning permission has been approved for a new prison at Full Sutton.

The 10,000 places are additional to the 3,500 places, which we have begun at Wellingborough; that we will start building at Glen Parva next year, and; that we have already built at HMP Stocken.

8 Oct 2019, 4:25 p.m. Prisons: Drugs Paula Sherriff

Question to the Ministry of Justice

What recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of drugs being smuggled into prisons.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

One of the first things the Lord Chancellor did was to visit HMP Leeds with the Prime Minister where they set out our focus on tackling crime, investing up to £2.5 billion transforming the prison estate and providing 10,000 additional prison places.

At HMP Leeds there is an X-ray body scanner installed there to identify items internally concealed on prisoners. HMP Wakefield also has an X-ray body scanner. At HMP New Hall in our women’s estate, the drug threat is different and staff there have worked hard to respond to the inspection report published in April. They have put in place an updated local drug strategy, do more suspicion-led drug testing and store medications in line with clinical guidelines.

We have previously invested £70 million to improve safety, security and decency in prisons. We use body, property, cell and area searches across the estate, aided by dedicated search teams and drug detection dogs.

As announced in August, we will be spending a further £100 million on prison security. Airport-style security, including X-ray scanners, will be put into prisons across the estate to help stop contraband such as drugs from getting in.

8 Oct 2019, 4:23 p.m. Slavery: Prosecutions Mr Jonathan Lord

Question to the Attorney General

To ask the Attorney General, what steps the Government is taking to increase the number of prosecutions for modern slavery.

Answer (Michael Ellis)

The CPS has had considerable success in increasing prosecutions of modern slavery cases involving the exploitation of vulnerable people. The number of modern slavery prosecutions increased from 284 in 2017-18 to 322 in 2018-19, an increase of 13.4%.

These cases are handled by specialist units with prosecutors who have the training, expertise and experience to deal with this difficult casework.

The CPS prosecutes offenders following an investigation by law enforcement, and referral to the CPS for advice and prosecution. Early engagement between the prosecutors and investigators is therefore central to a successful prosecution in all these complex cases. Prosecutors work closely with law enforcement to build robust cases, and provide early investigative advice, with the aim of lessening or removing the need to rely solely upon the evidence of vulnerable victims.

The CPS works with international partners to disrupt modern slavery crimes, and to strengthen the prosecution response overseas. The CPS maintains an overseas network of Criminal Justice Advisors to improve mutual legal assistance and extradition co-operation and work with authorities in those countries to improve their local capability to counter serious crime affecting the UK.

8 Oct 2019, 4:21 p.m. Trees: Urban Areas Ian Austin

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has plans to develop a national plan for inner city trees.

Answer (Zac Goldsmith)

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

8 Oct 2019, 4:21 p.m. Rule of Law Mr Gavin Shuker

Question to the Ministry of Justice

What recent discussions he has had with the Prime Minister on the rule of law.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Prime Minister and Lord Chancellor meet regularly and discuss a range of matters. The Lord Chancellor has sworn an oath to respect the rule of law and to defend the judiciary. It is an oath he takes very seriously. The government will always abide by the law.