(1 year, 8 months ago)Read Full debate
Order. I was about to put the Question, but Mr Hanson wishes to speak.
This is about bringing in new technology. What this is really about is powers that will enable the Secretary of State to spend money, once the new technology is developed, to insert the new material. The approximate cost would be in the low millions per site, but we do not have the exact costs at the moment.
Break in Debate
I rise to respond to the excellent speech made by the hon. Member for Bradford East (Imran Hussain) and the question asked by the right hon. Member for Delyn (David Hanson).
This is a sensitive issue. We are clearly trying to prevent organised criminal gangs from using mobile telephones in prisons, for all the reasons mentioned by the hon. Member for Bradford East. We therefore cannot be too specific about exactly where we are going to put these devices or exactly how we are going to interfere with mobile telephones. The answer that I have given is a broad figure in the ballpark of a few million pounds per site. I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman would wish me to share with the House the exact number of sites at which we are going to do this and which sites we will target first.
I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Lewes (Maria Caulfield) for all her extraordinary work as a Conservative Back Bencher to introduce the Bill. As the hon. Member for Bradford East pointed out, this is vital. There is a plague of mobile telephones that are being used to deal illicit drugs and to fuel violence. We need to cut down on them with better searching both at the prison gates and in cells, and we can also do much more to block the technology. With many thanks to Members, I commend the money resolution to the House.
Question put and agreed to.