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Leaving the EU: Workers’ Rights
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Tuesday 29 October 2019

(2 months, 3 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
29 Oct 2019, 1:29 p.m.

Again, I pay tribute to the hon. Lady for her efforts to get the withdrawal agreement Bill through the House. However, I must disagree with her. It is this Government who are committing to raising the national minimum wage to £10.50. We introduced the national living wage, our changes in the tax free allowance have taken millions of people out of tax altogether, and real wages are rising at their fastest level since 2015. There have been real increases in take-home pay for millions of workers, which is absolutely vital. This Government will always do everything we can to retain and enhance the rights of workers.

Mr Speaker Hansard
29 Oct 2019, 1:30 p.m.

Jim Shannon.

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The Economy
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 24 October 2019

(3 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
HM Treasury
Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Andrea Leadsom) - Hansard

This has been an interesting debate, in which strong views have been expressed by 41 Back Benchers.

Let us look at the UK economy. This year we have seen more people in work than ever before, with more women in work than ever before. The number of workless households is down by more than 1 million since 2010, and there are 200,000 more businesses than last year. Wages have grown at their fastest rate in 11 years and there has been the biggest ever increase in the national living wage. We are investing in the skills of the future, with more than 800,000 people participating in an apprenticeship in England in the last full academic year.

We have every reason to believe in our ability to succeed. We are the world’s fifth biggest economy and the ninth biggest manufacturer. We speak the world’s international business language. We have the best contract law and one of the most trusted judicial systems in the world. We have the most creative and innovative financial services sector anywhere, and three of the top 10 universities in the world. For the seventh year in a row, we have the most powerful capital city on earth.

But let us look at what Labour has on offer. Labour has proposed a punitive new tax every two months since Corbyn took office. Jeremy Corbyn’s party—

Mr Speaker Hansard
24 Oct 2019, 4:51 p.m.

Order. Resume your seat. I very gently say that, when names are put into these speeches, it is the responsibility of the Secretary of State to delete those names. We do not name people in the Chamber but refer to them by their title. That is a pretty obvious point.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
24 Oct 2019, 4:52 p.m.

Thank you so much, Mr Speaker.

The Leader of the Opposition has voted against £7,800-worth of tax cuts for hard-working people, and the British Chambers of Commerce has warned that Labour’s plans for our economy would send an “icy chill” up the spines of business owners and investors.

There have been too many contributions for me to mention them all, but I have picked out some that were particularly interesting. The hon. Members for Aberdeen North (Kirsty Blackman) and for Glasgow East (David Linden) both talked about the importance of immigration to Scotland, and I am delighted to mention at the Dispatch Box the amazing contribution that EU citizens have made to our country. That is why I am so pleased that over 1 million people have already been granted settled or pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme, enshrining their rights in law.

I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Central Devon (Mel Stride) on being elected as the new Chair of the Treasury Committee, and I commend his call for Barclays to reconsider pulling out of the new UK banking framework, which was agreed with 28 UK banks. He is right to look into that issue.

The hon. Member for Gedling (Vernon Coaker) talked about the tax gap. He should be reassured that, since coming into office, this Government have secured and protected more than £200 billion that would otherwise have gone unpaid. Our tax gap is at a near record low.

My hon. Friend the Member for West Worcestershire (Harriett Baldwin) talked about the financial services Bill. I can assure her that that Bill will maintain the UK’s world-leading regulatory standards and ensure that the UK remains fully open to international markets after we leave the European Union.

The right hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Sir Edward Davey) was right to welcome the United Kingdom’s amazing efforts on offshore wind. I commend him for the part he played in ensuring that the UK is a world leader in the deployment of offshore wind.

My hon. Friends the Members for Aberdeen South (Ross Thomson) and for Ochil and South Perthshire (Luke Graham) spoke as true Unionists and supporters of the Union. They highlighted how no-deal Nicola is not acting in the interests of Scotland.

My hon. Friend the Member for North Cornwall (Scott Mann) talked about how this Government are dealing with climate change, not just talking about it. Labour, on the other hand, has promised something that it cannot deliver and does not understand. Several unions have voiced their concern about the damage of a 2030 target for decarbonisation. The GMB dismissed it as threatening “whole communities” and “jobs”, as well as being “utterly unachievable”. The “30 by 2030” report put out by Labour today shows plans to hike up stamp duty on millions of homes, with home owners forced to spend tens of thousands to move home and local communities losing any say on onshore wind. On the other hand, this Government have a positive record on decarbonisation. We are the first major economy to legislate for net zero. Since 1990, we have reduced carbon emissions by 42% while growing our economy by nearly three quarters. We have shown that decarbonising can create jobs and prosperity. It has already produced 400,000 jobs in the low-carbon sector, and we hope that the number will reach 2 million by 2030. Our path to reaching net zero is realistic. It is based on science and has been supported by the Committee on Climate Change. We care too much about this issue to make pointless political promises that are just not deliverable.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bolton West (Chris Green) welcomed the Government’s investment in towns and cities, with the £3.6 billion new towns fund, which will support our high streets. I also wish to mention the hon. Member for Ynys Môn (Albert Owen), who highlighted the fact that this would be his last Queen’s Speech. I wish him well and thank him for his contribution in this place. My hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Trudy Harrison) talked movingly about her daughter’s new apprenticeship in the nuclear sector—we wish her well with that. My hon. Friend is rightly a great champion for new nuclear.

The hon. Member for Bury North (James Frith) raised the issue of Orkambi. All of us across the House are delighted by the achievement of my right hon. Friend the Health Secretary on Orkambi, which can be a vital drug for many cystic fibrosis sufferers. I also wish to mention the hon. Member for Newport West (Ruth Jones), who is calling again for the BBC to honour the right of the over-75s to get their free TV licences. I completely agree with her about that.

Finally, may I say that it is very refreshing to have spent a whole six days—albeit with a brief interval—debating the exciting positive future that awaits this country? As the Prime Minister said, this is

“a new age of opportunity for the whole country.”—[Official Report, 14 October 2019; Vol. 666, c. 19.]

As MPs, we should never lose sight of whom we serve, and this Queen’s Speech is about the people’s priorities. It is about the things that really matter to people in their everyday lives: more police; better schools; a stronger NHS; more support for those in need; and a United Kingdom that rewards hard work today, that protects the environment for tomorrow, that spreads opportunity right across our shores and that flies the flag for global free trade.

Instead of self-doubt we need self-belief in ourselves and in our abilities as a country to build the low-carbon, high-tech, business-backing United Kingdom we all want to see, spreading opportunity right across our shores. From our universities to our creative industries, from offshore wind to outer space, we have so much to shout about in this great country, and this Queen’s Speech will help us to do even more. From attracting the best minds in the world to exporting the best products to the world, we can make the United Kingdom the greatest place on earth. I commend this Queen’s Speech to the House.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

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Prime Minister's Role in Creating a Safe Environment
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 26 September 2019

(3 months, 4 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Wales Office
Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Sep 2019, 1:02 p.m.

No, I am not going to take a whole series of points of order—[Interruption.] Sorry, no, I am now going to proceed with the statement from the Secretary of State—[Interruption.] Order. I do not require assistance from the hon. Gentleman. We come now to the statement by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. [Interruption.] Order. If people who are leaving the Chamber would please do so quickly and quietly, we can attend to the terms of the statement from the Secretary of State. I think there is now something approaching calm.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Sep 2019, 1:04 p.m.

I am delighted that my first statement as the Business and Energy Secretary is on a subject that matters so much to every Member of this House and also to every person on the planet. As we heard from a 16-year-old girl, Greta Thunberg, it is vitally important to act now so that our children and grandchildren have a bright future ahead of them. We only have this planet, and we all have a duty to do everything we can, cross-party, cross-country and cross-world, to leave it a better place than we found it. So today, with permission, I would like to make a statement on the UN climate action summit in New York that took place on Monday this week.

The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for International Development joined the UN Secretary General, world leaders and key figures from business, industry and civil society at the UN climate action summit on Monday. The science is clear about the speed, scale and cost to lives and livelihoods of the climate crisis that is facing us. Costs show that the total global damage from climate-related events was more than $300 billion in 2017 alone. We know that, globally, emissions are continuing to rise year on year with tragic impact. We also know that the world’s most vulnerable are being hit hardest by the impacts of climate change. Natural disasters are already pushing 26 million people a year into poverty, with hundreds of millions of people potentially facing major food shortages in the coming decade.

The Prime Minister and other world leaders met because they are determined to take decisive collective action to cut emissions and to improve the resilience of countries and communities, and the Prime Minister showed very clearly what decisive climate action looks like at home and abroad. In the UK, we have cut emissions by 42% since1990 while growing the economy by 72%. We have cut our use of coal in our electricity system from almost 40% to only 5% in just six years, and we are leading the world in the deployment of clean technologies such as offshore wind. In just that one renewable sector, the UK is home to almost half the world’s offshore wind power. We became the first country in the G20 to legislate for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

We are already seeing thousands of jobs being created as part of this transition. Almost 400,000 people are employed in the low carbon sector and its supply chains, a number that we plan to grow to 2 million by 2030. We are also playing a critical part on the world stage. In his closing speech, the Prime Minister set out his determination to work together with others to tackle the climate crisis. He called for all countries to increase their 2030 climate ambition pledges under the Paris agreement and confirmed that the UK will play our part by raising our own nationally determined contribution by February next year.

To help developing countries to go further and faster, we also committed to doubling the UK’s international climate finance from £5.8 billion to £11.6 billion over the period from 2021 to 2025. This funding will support some of the most vulnerable communities in the world to develop low carbon technologies and to shift from fossil fuels to clean energy by, for example, helping to replace the wood-burning stoves and kerosene lamps used by millions of the world’s poorest families with sustainable and more reliable technologies such as solar power for cooking, heating and lighting.

This new funding will also help our incredible rain forests and mangroves, which act as vital carbon sinks, and help to restore degraded ecosystems such as abandoned land, which were once home to forests, mangroves and other precious habitats. So many of us have been glued to David Attenborough’s incredible series, “The Blue Planet” and “Planet Earth”, which really brought home the scale of destruction and the need for global action. Doubling our international climate finance will help the most vulnerable to deal with the damaging effects of climate change and to become more resilient.

On Monday, as part of the international climate finance commitment, the Government clearly put technology at the heart of our response with the new £1 billion Ayrton fund to drive forward clean energy innovation in developing countries. The fund is named after the British physicist and suffragette Hertha Ayrton, whose work at the beginning of the 20th century inspired the Ayrton anti-gas fans that saved lives during the first world war. This is new funding that leading scientists and innovators from across the UK and the world can access, to save lives in the future as Hertha Ayrton’s work did over a century ago.

Our Prime Minister is not alone in taking action. We led on the summit’s adaptation and resilience theme with Egypt, and delivered a powerful call to action, joined by 112 countries. As part of that, we launched a first of its kind coalition for climate-resilient investment to transform infrastructure investment by integrating climate risks into decision making, ensuring that, for example, when roads and bridges are built, climate risk is taken into account. We also launched a new risk-informed early action partnership, which will help keep 1 billion people safer from disaster by greatly improving early warning systems of dangerous events such as floods and hurricanes, giving people vital extra hours, days and even weeks to prepare for them.

We were delighted that 77 countries, 10 regions and 100 cities committed at the summit to net zero by 2050. The incoming Chilean COP 25 presidency announced a climate ambition alliance of 70 countries, each signalling their intention to submit enhanced climate action plans or nationally determined contributions.

Businesses are taking action, too. More than 50 financial institutions pledged to test all their $2.9 trillion in assets for the risks of climate change. Nine multilateral development banks have committed to supporting global climate action investments by targeting $175 billion in annual financing by 2025.

However, the climate action summit was by no means an end in itself. It was a call for global action, which the UK and many others heeded. We cannot and will not be complacent. Coming out of the summit, the combined commitments of all those countries and all that good will still do not put us on track to meet the temperature goals of the Paris agreement. People across the country and across the world are every day sending a clear message that we must all go further, and as the Secretary-General said, “time is running out”.

Globally, much more is needed. The UK, as an acknowledged world leader in tackling climate change and as the nominated host for COP 26 in 2020, has a unique opportunity to work with countries and business across the world, to build on the foundations laid at this week’s summit, to drive the action agenda forward and to turn the tide of emissions growth. There is no other planet: this is it, and we must look after it.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Sep 2019, 1:25 p.m.

Order. I am deeply grateful to the hon. Gentleman.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Sep 2019, 1:29 p.m.

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey (Drew Hendry) for his raft of points, and I will try to tackle them all.

First, I congratulate the Scottish Government on their work in also legislating to achieve net zero by 2045. Of course they, like the UK Government, are following the advice and recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change, and we will need to work together to ensure that we all meet those targets.

The hon. Gentleman asks whether there will be a clear plan and pathway for net zero, and there will be. My Department is working flat out to provide particular pathways for us to consult on.

The Committee on Climate Change is clear that our clean growth and industrial strategies provide the right frameworks for delivering net zero, so we will continue to deliver through those strategies, including, for example, recent record low prices for offshore wind, the new future homes standard, the CCUS action plan, the £400 million investment in charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and the £390 million investment in hydrogen and low-carbon technology to reduce emissions from industry.

Finally, on Hinkley Point C, I am sure the hon. Gentleman will be aware that there is no cost to the taxpayer.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I am sure the hon. Gentleman is as delighted as I am that we have shifted from 40% reliance on coal to only 5% today. That is quite an achievement. He makes an important point about fossil fuels. He will be aware that we are looking at carbon capture, usage and storage, and an action plan with projects to improve our use of fossil fuels and to make them lower carbon. There is a lot to be done in this area, and we will continue to look at how we can make that work.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Sep 2019, 1:44 p.m.

I call Luke Graham.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 04 July 2019

(6 months, 3 weeks ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom (South Northamptonshire) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard

May I first sincerely congratulate my right hon. Friend on taking on the role of Leader of the House and say how lovely it is to be asking the questions rather than answering them?

My right hon. Friend will be aware that yesterday the fantastic diversity and inclusion awards were held, celebrating all the House of Commons and Digital Service staff here in the House of Commons for all the amazing work they have done to try and improve the rates of diversity and inclusion here. So will my right hon. Friend join me in congratulating everybody—all the nominees and award winners?

Will my right hon. Friend particularly join me in congratulating all those who worked so hard across parties on a very long-term basis—and also yourself, Mr Speaker, who supported the work—on the independent complaints and grievance procedure, which was one of yesterday’s award-winning entries? May I also thank all the staff of the House of Commons, Members’ staff, trade unions and so many people across the House who have really helped to ensure that everybody in this place in the future will be treated with dignity and respect?

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

Before the Leader of the House replies, I should like to echo very much what the right hon. Lady has said. Yesterday’s ceremony was a very happy, even joyous, occasion on which we were able to mark and commemorate great progress while being very aware of the continuing challenges and the great deal of additional work that remains to be done. She herself won an award, which she has been too modest specifically to reference, and I think that she regarded it as a tribute to her, but also to all those who worked in her support. This is one of those situations in which we prefer to regard the glass as half full rather than half empty, but there is a fine line. I think we are deservedly proud of the progress, but we know that we still have a lot of work to do.

See more like "Pregnancy and Maternity (Redundancy Protection)"

Pregnancy and Maternity (Redundancy Protection)
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Tuesday 21 May 2019

(8 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 1:34 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman makes his own point in his own way. It is very clear, it is on the record, and doubtless, as he hopes, it will be picked up elsewhere. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman pessimistically chunters from a sedentary position, “and ignored”. He should have more belief in himself and more faith in the force of his own message. [Interruption.] The former Government Chief Whip chunters from a sedentary position, “No, he should be a realist.” Well, we are always grateful to the right hon. Member for Derbyshire Dales (Sir Patrick McLoughlin). It is good at least to see a smile on his face.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 1:34 p.m.

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

I am delighted to be opening the Second Reading debate on the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill. This has been a very long time coming. Today we can move decisively to end inaction and protect our Parliament for future generations. Let us not be under any illusion about the possible consequences if we fail to take action. The tragic fire at Notre Dame has served as a stark reminder of the risks to this historic building. There is no doubt that the best way to avoid a similar incident here is to get on with the job of protecting the thousands of people working here and the millions who come to visit.

Members of this House will be well aware of the problems in the Palace. There have recently been three significant incidents of falling masonry—in Norman Shaw North, outside Black Rod’s Entrance, and at the door to Westminster Hall. It is only through luck that none of them has led to any serious injuries or even fatalities. Operating on luck is absolutely no way to proceed. We would not be forgiven if one of those incidents had caused significant harm to a visitor or a member of staff.

There is an ongoing need for round-the-clock fire patrols, given that there have been 66 fire incidents in the Palace since 2008. That is why, by the way, I have undertaken my fire safety training for the building—and I would strongly encourage all hon. and right hon. Members to do likewise.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 16 May 2019

(8 months, 1 week ago)

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Commons Chamber
Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
16 May 2019, 11:46 a.m.

May I just say a big thank you to the shadow Leader of the House for that tribute to Philippa Helme? I first came to know Philippa in 1997 when I was appointed to the Welsh Affairs Committee, of which she was the extremely accomplished Clerk, and I have known her for the last 22 years. As the shadow Leader said, she has served the House with great distinction, and I look forward very much to hosting the retirement reception for her in Speaker’s House—next Thursday, if memory serves me correctly.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
16 May 2019, 11:46 a.m.

I echo the tribute paid by the hon. Member for Walsall South (Valerie Vaz) to Philippa Helme. She has been an assiduous Clerk for many years, and we wish her a very happy and energising retirement. I am sure that she will feel some elements of relief in escaping from this place—which reminds me that the hon. Lady is always after recess dates, which suggests that she too is desperate to get away from it.

The hon. Lady asked specifically about the meaningful vote on the withdrawal agreement Bill. She will be aware that the Bill is not subject to a motion under section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. There will be a Second Reading debate on a Bill that is yet to be introduced. Section 13 of the Act stipulates that a meaningful vote must be passed for ratification of the deal, and the Government will ensure that the conditions are met to enable ratification to take place. There will be no issues relating to purdah: that has been carefully checked, and there are no such implications. As I have said, the Bill will be introduced soon so that colleagues can consider it.

The hon. Lady asked when the Bill would be completed. We have made it very clear that we will be able to leave the European Union on the first day of the month following ratification of the treaty. We would like that to happen this summer, and we will work hard to ensure that it does, but, as ever, there are discussions in the usual channels about the programming of the Bill.

The hon. Lady referred to the length of the Session. It was set out at the beginning that this would be an extended Session because of the enormous change that would be involved in our leaving the European Union. However, we have achieved some superb legislation during this period. Our 44th Bill, the Offensive Weapons Bill, received Royal Assent today. The excellent energy cap has been introduced, and the Tenant Fees Act 2019, which will help people who have been harshly treated by their landlords, has been enacted. So there has been a lot that is good about this Session—and, very importantly, we have to leave the European Union. All colleagues can, of course, influence the end of the Session by voting for the Second Reading of the withdrawal agreement Bill.

The hon. Lady asked about the House rising early. I must say that I was rather astonished on Monday. First there were two very important statements, one on the Tessa Jowell brain cancer mission and the other on domestic abuse, and then there was the Second Reading of a Government Bill which had the potential to affect business rates and our high streets. There was huge scope for colleagues to talk about many issues relating to their constituencies yet only one Government Back Bencher made a full speech during Monday’s debate, and there were no Scottish National party contributions at all—not even interventions—and no Labour Back Benchers spoke. It is not for me, I gently say to the House, to determine who speaks in debates; I merely make the time available. So I do not accept in any sense that it is for the Government to determine when the House rises; that is a matter decided by the demand from colleagues to make contributions in debates.

The hon. Lady asked me to ensure that all ministerial visits are advised. All Ministers are well aware of the ministerial code. She again made reference to a visit she feels she was left out of; that was nothing to do with the Minister concerned, who in fact was the person who alerted the hon. Lady to the fact of that meeting going ahead.

The hon. Lady raised an important point about voter ID pilots. She will appreciate that there are huge risks at present with individuals not having to provide any form of ID whatsoever, and merely going up to polling booths and saying they are individual X or Y. There are many anecdotal cases where people have turned up at polling booths and been told they have already voted when they clearly have not. It is because of such problems that we have to ensure the integrity of our electoral system and give the public confidence that our elections are secure and fit for the 21st century.

The Electoral Commission’s own evaluation shows that the 2018 voter ID pilots were a success and the overwhelming majority of people cast their vote without a problem. We need to continue to understand how voter ID will work on a wider scale and what works best for voters, so it is important that we continue piloting before any national roll-out takes place.

Finally, the hon. Lady asked about action not words with regard to climate change, so let me remind her that we have reduced emissions faster than any other G7 nation. We have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 25% since 2010. In the last year we have generated record levels of solar and wind energy. We have planted over 15 million trees since 2010. We have opened the world’s largest offshore wind farm and the world’s first floating offshore wind farm in Scotland. That is action not words.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

Ah! Wonderful alliteration!

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
16 May 2019, 11:55 a.m.

My right hon. Friend is, as ever, succinct and to the point. As he is well aware, the Government’s White Paper on online harms will set out our plans to make this the best country in which to be as safe online as offline. We are encouraging companies to take forward a shared international approach to regulation and we are absolutely determined to resolve the issue of the ongoing harm being created through social media companies.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 09 May 2019

(8 months, 2 weeks ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

Some people think that we have already had the debate, but I always enjoy the mellifluous tones of the right hon. Gentleman and his unfailing invocation of literary testimony. He enjoys it, even more than we do.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 May 2019, 11:15 a.m.

My right hon. Friend raises an important issue for his constituency, and I understand his concern about unnecessary scaremongering. However, the chief executive of the Environment Agency does an excellent job; I would say that because I appointed her when I was Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. She is assiduous in ensuring that people are made aware of the risks from climate change.

Having ratified the Paris agreement on climate change in November 2016, reduced emissions faster than any other G7 nation and, in the past year, generated record levels of solar and wind energy, the United Kingdom is leading the world in tackling climate change, but we still have to do everything possible at home to ensure that we protect people and our environment from the impact of global climate change.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

Yes, that was in 2012—I remember it well.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 May 2019, 10:29 a.m.

I regularly meet the director of security in the Palace and the Director General to talk about the challenges we face when going about our everyday work. I have raised the demonstrations going on outside, but not specifically the noise. Since my right hon. Friend makes that point, I will undertake to raise that issue the next time I speak to the DG.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I am delighted—congratulations to the hon. Lady and her husband. That is fantastic news, and we all share in wishing her a fabulous pregnancy with no sickness, tiredness, or anything of that sort. She is right to say that proxy voting was an important step as many more new families come to this place, and it is right for the diversity of the House of Commons that many more young parents are coming here as representatives. I commit to doing everything I can to make this place more family friendly. The issues of how we vote and the late timing are matters for the House, and I encourage the hon. Lady to seek either a Westminster Hall debate or a Backbench Business Committee debate so that all hon. Members can share their views. Surprisingly to me and to her, not all hon. Members share our view about making this place family friendly.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
9 May 2019, 11:56 a.m.

The hon. Lady will certainly get the Westminster Hall debate, and she should have a word with her hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead (Ian Mearns) about the Backbench Business Committee debate.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 May 2019, 11:58 a.m.

I am sorry that the hon. Lady is the second Scottish parliamentarian to raise a bank branch closure in their constituency during business questions, and I agree that bank closures are difficult for our constituents. She will be aware of the access to banking arrangements, under which banks must consult and demonstrate that there is no commercial value to be had from a bank branch, and that alternative arrangements are in place to suit the needs of the local community. In many cases those arrangements are provided by local post offices. The Government have invested £2.3 billion in the post office network since 2010, meaning that post offices are open for an extra 200,000 hours a week, with more than 4,000 opening on Sunday. Nevertheless, the hon. Lady makes an important point, and I encourage her to seek an Adjournment debate on the issue.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

I call Chris Bryant.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 25 April 2019

(9 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I completely agree with my hon. Friend. It is extraordinary that, although there was a referendum only in 2014, with an overwhelming majority for Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom, rather than focusing on improving Scotland’s economy and schools, the Scottish nationalists are determined to ask people again because they did not get the result they wanted. We urge the Scottish nationalists to focus on delivering for the people of Scotland. May I also wish my hon. Friend the best of success in running the London marathon this weekend?

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
25 Apr 2019, 12:55 p.m.

I call Dr Paul Williams—another very fit fellow.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I am delighted that the hon. Gentleman has seen fit to raise this issue, and delighted by his happiness about the work that his constituents are doing. It is vital for us all to do everything we can to support refugees who have come to this country, particularly black and ethnic-minority women—and men as well, but it is often the women who have suffered so much. The hon. Gentleman is right to raise the issue, and to praise that charity for what it is doing to highlight the need for further support.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
25 Apr 2019, 1:17 p.m.

We now come to the Select Committee statement. Anna Turley will speak on her subject for up to 10 minutes. I remind colleagues that, because the statement is analogous with a ministerial statement, no interventions may be taken. At the conclusion of the statement, the Chair will call Members to put questions on the subject of the statement, and will call Anna Turley to respond to them in turn. Members can expect to be called only once. Interventions should be questions, and should be brief. Front Benchers may take part in questioning.

I call Anna Turley to speak on behalf of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee.

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Points of Order
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 11 April 2019

(9 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard

I will respond to the hon. Gentleman, but the Leader of the House is signalling a willingness to comment and therefore I think we should hear from her.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. I think I can clear this up. My hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Sir William Cash) is absolutely right that two motions were laid yesterday. In the event that the European Union had declined to provide an extension to article 50, we would have been leaving the European Union without a deal tomorrow. Therefore, it was felt that we needed to have a motion laid, as a contingency plan, for the House to sit tomorrow should it be the case that we were leaving without a deal tomorrow. However, I also laid the motion for the Easter recess. The fact of the matter is that later today I will be moving item 1 on the Order Paper, which is the Easter Adjournment, and we will not be moving item 3, which is the sittings of the House motion. I hope that clears things up, Mr Speaker.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 04 April 2019

(9 months, 3 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I can absolutely assure—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Apr 2019, 11:05 a.m.

Order. I do beg the Leader of the House’s pardon. People who came in after the statement was issued cannot expect to be called and should not stand. We really must observe the basic principle of respect. The Leader of the House delivers a statement and it is responded to, but people cannot wander into the Chamber and expect to be called. It is quite wrong.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Apr 2019, 11:08 a.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I was just going to say to the hon. Lady that I would love to be outside looking at the cherry blossom, as I am sure we all would. Maybe that is what some colleagues were doing before they wandered into the Chamber.

The hon. Lady asked about key legislation and the Brexit Bills, particularly the Financial Services (Implementation of Legislation) Bill. As she will know, we want to consider the amendments made in the other place carefully. That Bill is relatively straightforward and seeks to deal with in-flight files during the Brexit transition period, but one amendment would have a more significant impact on the rights of the Crown dependencies, so it is right for the Government to take a bit of time to consider that properly. However, we will bring the Bill back in due course.

The hon. Lady asked about other Brexit primary legislation, and she will be aware that, in addition to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, nine other exit-related Bills are in Parliament or have already received Royal Assent. The Nuclear Safeguards Act 2018, the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, the Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act 2018, the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018, and the Healthcare (European Economic Area and Switzerland Arrangements) Act 2019 are all now law. The Bills still in the Commons or the Lords are the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, the Agriculture Bill, the Fisheries Bill, the Financial Services (Implementation of Legislation) Bill, as has been mentioned, and the Trade Bill. Progress is being made, and they are all scheduled to receive Royal Assent before they are needed.

The hon. Lady also asked for an update on the secondary legislation. Almost all the Brexit SIs needed for exit day have been laid—around 515 of about 550. The programme of secondary legislation is in hand and is almost complete. The remaining SIs are planned for completion when they need it.

On schools, I am sure that the hon. Lady will want to celebrate, as I do, the fact that 1.9 million more children are being taught in good or outstanding schools. We created 920,000 more school places between 2010 and 2018, and the gap between disadvantaged pupils and others has narrowed. All those things are important to give young people a good start in life.

The hon. Lady asked for a statement on the knife crime summit. I will certainly take that request away, but I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will want to update the House.

The hon. Lady mentioned the national living wage, and I am sure that she will share in the delight that it went up on Monday by the highest rate since it was first introduced in 2015, increasing by almost 5% to £8.21 an hour.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Apr 2019, 11:19 a.m.

As I have always said, it is vital that everybody in this place and in this Palace of Westminster treats each other with courtesy and respect and I completely uphold that. As the hon. Gentleman will be aware, behaviour in the Chamber is a matter for the Chair. On the other hand, I am sure you will also agree, Mr Speaker, that it is vital that everybody is treated with courtesy and respect.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Apr 2019, 11:20 a.m.

Yes, that is absolutely fair and reasonable. I did not intervene at the time, as the hon. Gentleman will know. The right hon. Member for Rayleigh and Wickford (Mr Francois) felt extremely strongly and expressed himself with force, and I respect the right hon. Gentleman’s sincerity and integrity—I make no bones about that; I do—but moderation in the use of language and the importance of trying to keep the temperature down can hardly be overstated. I think the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr Sheerman) has served a useful purpose today, of which we can all take note.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Apr 2019, 11:24 a.m.

I entirely endorse the first part of my hon. Friend’s question. I draw the House’s attention to the fact that the article 50 Bill contained 58 words and it went through the entire parliamentary business and legislation Committee process. It was consulted on widely and it had five days of debate in this Chamber, compared with the under one hour on Second Reading for yesterday’s Bill. I therefore agree with him that it was extremely damaging to the way in which we carry out business in this place.

On the second part of my hon. Friend’s question, as I have said to him on a number of occasions, I do not believe that a business of the House Committee for determining business would have the necessary flexibility to be able to ensure that, as we are seeing at the moment, swift changes to business can be properly and reliably agreed. From time to time, the House needs to go through the usual channels with a very quick decision when emergency changes are necessary.

Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Apr 2019, 11:25 a.m.

I do not want to dwell at any length on what the hon. Gentleman said and I completely respect his sincerity, but I think it is fair just to note, reputationally for the House, that many of the Members who are complaining about the paucity of time for the debate on the Second Reading of the Bill did nevertheless seem untroubled by the absorption of three hours on the business of the House motion. It was partly for that reason that there was so little time left for Second Reading. But there is an argument to be had about the matter and I respect the hon. Gentleman’s point of view.

I have heard what the Leader has said about a business of the House committee. That is the Government’s position. The hon. Gentleman has been a keen and articulate champion of the cause of such a committee for many years, and, as he knows, I have joined him in that quest. It is a matter of recorded fact that the coalition Government were committed to the introduction of such a committee and Prime Minister Cameron—I say this as a matter of fact—reneged on that commitment. It is unarguable, it is incontestable, it is incontrovertible. That is the reality. He may think that the situation changed, but he promised it and he broke the promise. It is as simple as that.

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Points of Order
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Wednesday 03 April 2019

(9 months, 3 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Apr 2019, 1:02 p.m.

I think the spontaneous reaction on both sides of the Chamber, joined in by the Leader of the House and other colleagues, speaks volumes. I hope that I speak on behalf of the House in saying that we have the most enormous respect and admiration for the hon. Lady. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”] She has displayed courage and fortitude of which many people, and probably most of us, can only dream. In the most harrowing of circumstances, faced with an explicit and very real threat to her life from neo-Nazis, she has not wilted for a second. She has defended her own rights, she has defended the rights of her constituents, she has defended the rights of all her colleagues, and she has defended the rights of Parliament as an institution.

By this sort of poisonous, fascistic bile we will not be cowed, and the sooner the purveyors of hate, of fascism, of Nazism, of a death cult realise that, the better. I salute the hon. Lady, and I know that others will do so too—

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Apr 2019, 1:03 p.m.

Led, I think, by the Leader of the House.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Apr 2019, 1:03 p.m.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. On behalf of those on the Government Benches, I pay tribute to the hon. Member for West Lancashire (Rosie Cooper) for her courage in facing this down. We all absolutely stand with her.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Apr 2019, 1:03 p.m.

I warmly thank the Leader of the House for what she has said. I think that she speaks for us all.

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Points of Order
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 28 March 2019

(10 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
28 Mar 2019, 1:22 p.m.

I am grateful to the right hon. Lady for her point of order, and for showing me a copy of the relevant email, which I have just read at the Chair. I hope I can offer her and all colleagues the assurance sought. I make two points. First, as I indicated to the House that I would, I have had arranged for me a meeting between me, other senior colleagues and, indeed, a variety of colleagues to whom this matter is of concern, with the Parliamentary Security Director and the chief superintendent on the parliamentary estate. However, I have to acknowledge that that meeting is taking place only next Thursday, so it is some way off, but that was convenient for diary purposes for everybody involved.

My second point is that, although this does warrant further investigation and colleagues would not expect me to shoot from the hip, I am concerned by the idea, which has now been put to me not only by the right hon. Lady but by another hon. Member last night, that there has been at least one case—let us not get into an argument about how many, but at least one—of an individual coming on to the parliamentary estate and behaving in a threatening or abusive manner towards Members and staff. Although it is of course a treasured principle that there should be a presumption of public access to the estate for our citizens and people who want to visit here, it is axiomatic not only that they go through security but that they pose no threat to anybody here. If there is evidence of a person or persons in relation to whom we cannot feel that sense of security, I believe it must be right for preventive action to be able to be taken, because if there is a clash between someone’s right to visit here and our right—the right of us all, Members, staff and MPs’ staff—to be safe, the latter has to trump the former. I hope that is helpful.

Mr Speaker Hansard
28 Mar 2019, 1:23 p.m.

The Leader of the House wants to come in, and it is absolutely right that she should.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
28 Mar 2019, 1:24 p.m.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. Following the exchanges yesterday in which you quite rightly said you would convene a meeting, it might be of some reassurance to the right hon. Member for Broxtowe (Anna Soubry) that the director of security let my office know this morning that there will be significantly increased security tomorrow, for precisely the reason the right hon. Lady mentions. Our security teams here in the Palace are very aware of the concerns.

I remind all hon. Members that the behaviour code that forms a part of the independent complaints procedure applies to everybody, whether they work here or visit here, so if anybody feels that they are being treated in an unhelpful or derogatory way, that invokes the behaviour code that this House signed up to last July.

Mr Speaker Hansard
28 Mar 2019, 1:25 p.m.

That is a very helpful underlining of the concern and the route map to resolution if colleagues are offended or insulted in that way. I had not made that point, and it is very helpful that the Leader of the House has done.

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Sittings of the House (29 March)
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 28 March 2019

(10 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard
28 Mar 2019, 5:01 p.m.

I beg to move,

That this House shall sit on Friday 29 March 2019.

May I start by saying that I recognise that changes to the sittings of the House agreed at short notice can create inconvenience to Members and their constituents? I know how important constituency work is to all of us, and I do regret not being able to give more notice. I do, however, believe that all of our constituents expect the House to continue to make progress at this crucial time. To be of assistance to the House, I can again confirm that, should the House agree this motion, it is intended that the sitting hours tomorrow will be the same as for a normal sitting Friday, with the House sitting from 9.30 am and the moment of interruption at 2.30 pm. Should any urgent questions be allowed, these would take place from 11 am and the debate would resume following those urgent questions in the usual way. As I said earlier today in my business statement, I join those who recognise the hard work and dedication of the staff of the House and of our civil servants. I thank them for their support to us in this place, and I am very grateful to them in advance for their work tomorrow should this motion be agreed.

As I said to the House during my business statement earlier today, the motion tabled by the Government this afternoon has been prepared in order that it complies with your ruling, Mr Speaker, while also reflecting that the European Union will agree an extension to article 50 until 22 May only if the withdrawal agreement is approved by 11 pm on 29 March. It is crucial, therefore, that we make every effort to give effect to the Council’s decision, and tomorrow’s motion gives Parliament the opportunity to secure that extension. I think we can all agree that we do not want to be in the situation of asking for another extension and facing the potential requirement of participating in European Parliament elections.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

The Government would not be in a position to bring back the same or substantially the same proposition if their proposition tomorrow were defeated. I am very clear in my mind about that.

By the way, reference was made earlier—I think by the hon. Member for Cardiff West (Kevin Brennan)—to amendments. The question he had in his mind was whether an amendment could be tabled to ensure that the motion required both sets of questions to be considered. Of course, the answer is that an amendment could be tabled but the selection of amendments is a matter for the Chair. I am clear that the convention that the same question shall not be put again in the same Session will be asserted and upheld.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. You have rightly pointed out the same question point. But another point that is very important is that in agreeing tomorrow’s motion we will trigger the automatic extension to article 50 to 22 May, and if we do not agree the withdrawal agreement tomorrow, we will not. That leaves in doubt the future of the arrangements with the European Council.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

Thank you.

See more like "Business of the House"

Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 28 March 2019

(10 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
28 Mar 2019, 12:36 p.m.

Order. That has very little to do with the business of the House for next week. I do not say this in any spirit of discourtesy to the hon. Lady, but I am perfectly conscious of and capable of executing my responsibilities in relation to that business and all other business. The right hon. Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin) is in the lead on the matter. Procedural propriety has been observed and he is perfectly clear with other colleagues as to the basis, sanctioned by the passage of the business of the House motion, on which we will proceed in these matters. I am sorry if the hon. Lady is not clear about the matter, but there is no basis for that ambiguity.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
28 Mar 2019, 12:29 p.m.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for St Albans (Mrs Main) for her comments. She, like me, would like to see resolution; we would like to see the UK leave the EU in an orderly fashion. Again, I urge all colleagues to find it in their hearts to consider finding a way forward urgently so that we can give businesses and citizens some certainty.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

Well, the people of East Renfrewshire did unseat the Scottish National party MP and elect a Conservative Member, so it is not surprising that it is Scotland’s happiest place to live. However, my hon. Friend has made a very good point. We all need to make time for the little things that make life happy. I should be delighted to visit him.

Mr Speaker Hansard
28 Mar 2019, 12:46 p.m.

We could have a debate on the definition of happiness. I will offer a starter for 10: victories for Arsenal football club and Roger Federer.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Wednesday 27 March 2019

(10 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
27 Mar 2019, 2:06 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman is constitutionally correct. He has made his own point in his own way with his customary fluency, but the Leader of the House now has the Floor again.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
27 Mar 2019, 2:08 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

What today does is effectively turn that precedent on its head: those who are not in Government are deciding the business, and there are inevitable ramifications to that.

I work constantly to represent Parliament’s voice in Government, and today I am genuinely concerned that the decisions we are being obliged to make could result in Parliament being extremely frustrated. It is highly likely that we could be in a position where the preferences of the House simply cannot be achieved. Whatever the House decides needs to be both deliverable and negotiable, and, very specifically, the European Union has been clear in all circumstances that changing the withdrawal agreement is simply not an option.

This Government want to deliver on the referendum of 2016 in a way that maintains a deep and special partnership with the European Union. Urgent action is needed; businesses and people cannot be left in limbo any longer. There are two sides to this negotiation, so I repeat that what the House decides needs to be deliverable and negotiable and also needs to deliver on the referendum.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 21 March 2019

(10 months, 1 week ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
21 Mar 2019, 11:16 a.m.

Before the Leader responds, and in the light of what the shadow Leader has said about the second anniversary of the death of PC Keith Palmer, I can inform the House that I intend that there should be a one-minute silence tomorrow in the Chamber, supported, I would hope, by people observing our proceedings. The intention is that that minute’s silence will take place at 11 o’clock.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Mar 2019, 11:17 a.m.

First, I share the hon. Lady’s tribute to PC Keith Palmer. I was delighted to be at the memorial recognition of his great sacrifice and the unveiling of the memorial to him. She is absolutely right to pay her own tribute. I also share in her pleasure that there will be a memorial service for Paul Flynn, a much-missed colleague. I echo her words about the appalling atrocity that took place in New Zealand. It is absolutely horrendous. We all hope that the communities in New Zealand can come together, as they are doing, and we support all those who have been so tragically affected.

The hon. Lady asks about the meaningful vote next week. She will recognise that, as I said in my business statement, this is a fluid situation and we are waiting for the response of the EU27 to our request for an extension, which the Prime Minister has taken to them in response to the requirement of this House that she do so. As soon as we have a response from the EU Council, I will be able to update the House on when we can bring forward a meaningful vote and a debate next week. But it is certainly the Prime Minister’s intention to do so. Likewise, in terms of bringing forward the statutory instrument, hon. Members will know that, under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018, it is required that that statutory instrument be approved by both Houses. It is therefore vital that we find time for that as soon as we can.

The hon. Lady asks about Opposition days. We have debated a range of secondary legislation this week. I have announced important business for next week, including the section 13 debate on Monday and Lords amendments to two important Bills, the Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill and the Offensive Weapons Bill. This week, we have had debates on two statutory instruments requested by the official Opposition. I will, of course, continue to consider her requests for further dates.

I absolutely agree with the hon. Lady that all Members right across the House have a huge interest in matters outside of Brexit. There is no doubt about that. I think the Business question every Thursday demonstrates the range of different interests across the House. All of us share a desire to be able to talk about things not Brexit-related that are so important to people, so I completely agree with her there.

What I will say about the Prime Minister’s speech yesterday is that what she was seeking to invoke among all parliamentarians was just the absolute reality that in a hung Parliament it is for every Member to seek to support good governance. I think that we can all be proud of the fact that in this Session alone we have introduced over 50 pieces of primary legislation, more than 40 of which have already received Royal Assent. In a hung Parliament, that demonstrates the House’s ability to work together in order to reach consensus, agree concessions and act in the national interest.

What the Prime Minister is seeking is for all individual Members to recognise that her withdrawal agreement and future declaration offer the means by which we can leave the European Union, in line with the will of the people as expressed in the referendum, but at the same time the significant minority of people who want to remain in the EU will also have their concerns met by a very close future economic and security partnership. I therefore urge all colleagues, right across the House, to consider the Prime Minister’s deal very carefully.

The shadow Leader of the House asked whether I believe in collective Cabinet responsibility. Of course I do. I have totally supported the Prime Minister’s desire to get a vote through this place. I have always been absolutely clear—in the press and in this Chamber—that I support a withdrawal agreement and a political declaration that deliver the will of the people, but that at the same time continue a close, collaborative relationship with our EU friends and neighbours.

The hon. Lady asked about Interserve, and she was absolutely right to do so. The Government certainly welcome the announcement that Interserve made last Friday regarding its refinancing, which will not affect the operational part of the company. It will bring the company the stability required to allow it to compete for future business and to continue to deliver good-value public services for the taxpayer. It is in the taxpayer’s interests to have a well-financed and stable group of key suppliers, so we welcome the actions that Interserve has taken.

The hon. Lady asked about schools and climate change. Let me say again that I absolutely welcome, support and endorse the determination of young people to do everything they can to support all those experiencing the negative effects of global climate change. We should do everything we can to support our environment around us. The United Kingdom ratified the Paris agreement in November 2016. More than 50% of UK electricity came from low-carbon sources in 2018, making it a record year for renewables, under this Conservative Government. We have cut the use of plastic bags by 86%, through our plastic bag charge. We have reduced emissions faster than any other G7 nation. The latest figures show that we have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 23% since 2010. There is obviously a lot more to do, but I commend all young people who show their passion for the subject. At the same time, I reiterate that education is the best gift that a society can give its young people.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Mar 2019, 11:47 a.m.

I completely agree with the hon. Lady that colleagues on both sides of the House—she is a perfect example—all want to do the best for our country and our society. I totally endorse her thoughts that MPs need to be treated with respect and given the opportunity to represent their constituents and their country in alignment with their own beliefs and with doing the best they can possibly do. I pay tribute at all times to all Members of Parliament, and I will do everything I can to ensure that we are all able to go about our business and do a good job for our constituents and for our country.

Mr Speaker Hansard
21 Mar 2019, 11:48 a.m.

I thank the Leader of the House for what she said in response to that very powerful inquiry from the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Diana Johnson). I have said it before, in the light of some extremely ominous coverage of Members some months ago, but I will say it again, because it brooks of no misunderstanding or contradiction: none of you is a traitor and all of you are doing your best.

This should not be, and I am sure it will not prove to be, a matter of any controversy whatsoever. From the Chair, let me say that I believe passionately in the institution of Parliament, in the rights of Members of this House and in their commitment to their duty—I use the word “duty” in the singular advisedly. The sole duty of every Member of Parliament is to do what he or she thinks is right. There is nothing, in my judgment, to be added.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
21 Mar 2019, 11:51 a.m.

Order. Let us grow up. Do grow up, for goodness’ sake. This is not a matter of party political hackery. Let us have some seriousness of purpose and mutual respect. The hon. Member for Leyton and Wanstead (John Cryer) is an experienced Member of the House. He has asked an honest question, to which I know the Leader of the House will honestly reply. For goodness’ sake, let us raise the level.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

Mr Speaker, may I just say that your response does not raise the level? I will leave it there.

Mr Speaker Hansard
21 Mar 2019, 11:51 a.m.

Order. Resume your seat, Leader of the House. My response sets out the constitutional position that has applied to Members of the House of Commons over generations, and I cannot for the life of me see or believe that there is anything remotely controversial about what I have said.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Mar 2019, 11:35 a.m.

In response to the point made by the hon. Member for Leyton and Wanstead (John Cryer), what I wanted to say is that I will speak for my own views when I say that I have the highest regard for Members from right across this Chamber. All hon. Members do exactly as they think is right for their constituents and for their country, and it is absolutely right that they should continue to do so. What I think the Prime Minister was urging upon all hon. Members is to recognise that in a hung Parliament it is incumbent on us all to ensure that there is good government, because, by definition, it is important that we all participate in ensuring progress for our country, as indeed we have done through more than 40 pieces of primary legislation in this Session alone, where we have been able to come together in the national interest to make progress on certain areas of legislation, ranging from counter-terrorism to tenants’ fees, all manner of automated vehicles and so on. We have been able to work together to come to a conclusion and make a positive statement about the way the country should go. I think that the Prime Minister was seeking to urge all right hon. and hon. Members to look carefully at the reality, which is that there is a means by which we can deliver on the referendum, while ensuring we keep a close and collaborative relationship with our EU friends and neighbours. Alternatively, the legal position that this House voted for is to leave the EU on 29 March without any other arrangements. What the Prime Minister is seeking for this House to do is to come together to support a way forward. The House has not so far done that.

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Speaker’s Statement
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Monday 18 March 2019

(10 months, 1 week ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard

There can always be Speaker’s Conferences, though I must say—I do not direct this particularly at this Government at all; it is a wider observation—that it is a perhaps curious and quaint fact that ordinarily, Speaker’s Conferences are convened at the instigation of the Government of the day. Indeed, I recall a particular occasion some years ago when I had some interest in the possibility of a Speaker’s Conference on aspects of parliamentary power. If I said to the right hon. Gentleman that the reaction to my suggestion at the time from the then Leader of the House was not wildly enthusiastic, I think that I would be somewhat understating the position. But that was then, and maybe the new Leader of the House, or relatively new Leader of the House, who has been a notable reformer in other respects, will be seized by the salience of what the right hon. Gentleman has commended to the House and will feel that she could have a key role in initiating such an important constitutional development. If she did, I would be perfectly willing to play ball with it. I have no idea; it is not something she and I have discussed, but you never know.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard
18 Mar 2019, 4:32 p.m.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I just want to be very clear: I am indeed a reforming Leader of the House of Commons. For me, treating colleagues with courtesy and respect is at the forefront of that reform. Any Speaker’s council would have to have that at its heart, and I simply would not be confident that that would be the case.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 14 March 2019

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Mar 2019, 11:19 a.m.

My hon. Friend raises a concerning constituency issue. He will know that we have launched a comprehensive review of our railways, to build on the success of privatisation and get the best from both public and private sectors. He might like to seek an Adjournment debate so that Transport Ministers can respond to his particular concerns directly.

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Mar 2019, 11:19 a.m.

The star of the show, Helen Jones.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I can assure the hon. Lady that I take seriously my responsibility to be the voice of Parliament in Government, and all the time I reflect the views that I hear in the Chamber. I am pleased to be able, for example, to give time for statutory instruments to be debated in the Chamber on request from the Opposition, and to give a great deal of time for general debates that have been requested by hon. and right hon. Members across the House. In response to her question about the business for next week, I am sure that she will appreciate that today the House is being invited to consider whether it wishes the Government to seek an extension to article 50. Until we have established an answer to that question, we cannot consider what are the next steps.

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Mar 2019, 11:19 a.m.

The hon. Member for Glasgow East (David Linden) is an authentic representative of the Scottish scouting movement, I believe.

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UK’s Withdrawal from the European Union
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 14 March 2019

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Mar 2019, 6:27 p.m.

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his point of order, which, of course, is not a matter for the Chair. The Leader of the House can respond if she wishes. [Interruption.] The right hon. Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) is getting over-excited. He is a young pup—a new young Member—and I know that he requires encouragement.

If the Leader of the House wants to respond the point of order she can, but she is under no obligation.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. Let me simply say that I will of course take the right hon. Gentleman’s concerns into account.

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Mar 2019, 6:27 p.m.

We are grateful.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Wednesday 13 March 2019

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard
13 Mar 2019, 8:21 p.m.

Mr Speaker, in the light of tonight’s decision, I should like to inform the House that tomorrow’s business will now be a debate on a motion relating to an extension of article 50. On Friday 15 March, the House will consider private Members’ Bills.

I shall announce next week’s business tomorrow in the usual way.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
13 Mar 2019, 8:22 p.m.

I call the Leader of the House.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
13 Mar 2019, 8:22 p.m.

The Leader of the House does not wish to comment. Fair enough. It is a business statement, so she can respond if she wishes but she does not wish to do so.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

The hon. Gentleman will be fully aware that the revocation of article 50 would mean not leaving the EU and so would put us in direct contravention of the will of the people expressed in the referendum, and the Government will not be doing that.

Mr Speaker Hansard
13 Mar 2019, 8:35 p.m.

Order. I simply say to colleagues that I think it is clear that whatever the House decides, it will not be a state secret. It will become public. It will be known. The message will be communicated. In fairness, I think the Leader of the House has acknowledged that whatever the House decides, it will be communicated to the European Union. That will happen, and the wording of what has been decided will be absolutely crystal clear. The will of the House will be forwarded to the European Union, whatever that will is.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

As I have said to a number of Members, the Government are listening very carefully to the views of the House. That is why my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said that if the meaningful vote was not passed, we would come back to the House today with a vote on rejecting a no-deal Brexit, and in the event that that was passed, we would come back to the House tomorrow to seek its views on an extension of article 50. That is exactly what we are doing. The Prime Minister has further said—as have I, just now—that if the House wants an extension of article 50, we will seek to agree that with the European Union, but what Members must understand is that it is not in the Government’s gift to insist on an extension. That will be a matter for agreement with the European Union.

Mr Speaker Hansard
13 Mar 2019, 8:37 p.m.

I think everyone is aware of that. I do not wish to be unkind to the Leader of the House, but I do not think she is telling us anything that we do not know. We all know that.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

Members are asking me the same old question.

Mr Speaker Hansard
13 Mar 2019, 8:37 p.m.

Well, repetition is not an unknown phenomenon in the House of Commons. I understand what the Leader of the House is saying, but I think everyone is perfectly well aware that an extension request is just that: a request.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
13 Mar 2019, 8:45 p.m.

The motion that has been laid suggests that the House will carry on its debate until 5 pm, but that is a matter for the House to agree.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

In other words, it is an amendable motion.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Tuesday 12 March 2019

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Mar 2019, 7:41 p.m.

Mr Speaker, with the leave of the House and further to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement, I should like to make a short business statement regarding the business for tomorrow and the remainder of this week:

Wednesday 13 March—My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will deliver his spring statement, followed by a debate on a motion relating to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union without a withdrawal agreement and a framework for the future relationship.

Thursday 14 March—Debate on a motion relating to the NICE appraisal process for treatments for rare diseases. The subject for this debate was determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

Friday 15 March—Private Members’ Bills.

I will make a short business statement on Wednesday should it be necessary, and I shall make a further business statement in the usual way on Thursday.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
12 Mar 2019, 7:43 p.m.

Forgive me, but I want to facilitate the House. Let us continue the exchanges on the business statement, as the hon. Gentleman’s inquiry is really for the benefit of the Leader of the House, to which she can respond.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Mar 2019, 7:43 p.m.

The motion will be brought forward in the usual way and it will be for the House to agree.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Mar 2019, 7:45 p.m.

What I can say to the hon. Gentleman is really just to repeat what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said, which is that if the House votes to leave without a deal on 29 March, it will be the policy of the Government to implement that decision. If the House declines to approve leaving without a deal on 29 March, the Government will, following that vote, bring forward a motion on Thursday on whether Parliament wants to seek an extension to article 50.

Mr Speaker Hansard
12 Mar 2019, 7:45 p.m.

If it is helpful, I can inform the House that I understand that the Government’s motion for tomorrow’s debate has now been tabled. Colleagues who are thinking of tabling amendments, or who simply want to study the motion in the Table Office, have the opportunity to do so if they wish.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

These are matters for the House to agree.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Mar 2019, 7:50 p.m.

As I understand it at the moment, the Business of the House motion, I think, is proposing a 7 o’clock finish. A 7 o’clock finish is proposed, though, as the Leader of the House says, that is an amendable proposition. If colleagues want to propose amendments to that, they can.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I am always up front, honest and open with the House. Should the House decline to leave the European Union without a future declaration and withdrawal agreement, then and only then will I come forward with a motion for the following day, which will be amendable; it will be for the House to determine what the proposed extension period should be. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
12 Mar 2019, 11:30 a.m.

I do not know whether the hon. Member for Glasgow South (Stewart Malcolm McDonald) is genuinely indignant or flummoxed. I hope that he is neither, although he certainly seems to be the former. To be fair, the Leader of the House has repeatedly said—[Interruption.] Order. The hon. Gentleman should not chunter and witter away to no obvious benefit or purpose from a sedentary position when I am trying to assist him. The Leader of the House has repeatedly said that the Government would table a motion for Thursday, and that it would be amendable. As I indicated some several minutes ago in response to the right hon. Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn) who inquired about my thinking in respect of amendments on Thursday, I would apply the same logic as I shall apply to tomorrow’s deliberations. There will be ample opportunity for Members to table amendments with what are, in effect, their own propositions and ideas for an extension, so I assure the hon. Member for Glasgow South that he will not be disadvantaged.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard

It is a tad ambitious for the hon. Gentleman to expect the Leader of the House to facilitate that tomorrow, but he never loses an opportunity. I understand his enthusiasm on that matter, which I rather share, but it is a matter of hot dispute within the House. The Leader of the House can respond if she wants, but she is not under any obligation to do so.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for making me think of every Thursday morning. He raises that issue with me frequently, and I have always said that if the Procedure Committee wants to come forward with an appraisal of electronic voting, with huge support from around the House, I will always be delighted to consider it.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
12 Mar 2019, 8:11 p.m.

Quite possibly, there is the fact that the right hon. Lady does not wish, at this stage, to do so. I can think of another reason, which is that the precise terms of the motion for Thursday, particularly as it is contingent on what happens tomorrow, will not yet have been crafted. The Leader of the House does not need my help, but I am saving her the hassle of getting up at the Dispatch Box.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I am very grateful, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker Hansard
12 Mar 2019, 8:11 p.m.

I was genuinely trying to be helpful. It seems to me entirely reasonable not to have the wording yet, but there we go. Anyway, the right hon. Lady says she is grateful, and I will take her at her word.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 07 March 2019

(10 months, 3 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
7 Mar 2019, 11:54 a.m.

Just before the Leader of the House responds, I thank her very much, as will other colleagues, for what she said about World Book Day, and I report that my daughter has today gone to school dressed as Pippi Longstocking. I am sure other Members will have examples with which they can regale the House.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
7 Mar 2019, 11:55 a.m.

That is very reassuring, and not at all surprising, Mr Speaker. I am sure the whole House will celebrate the fact that maths A-level is now one of the most popular subjects for students to take, and the whole country can be proud that more children are getting a serious and good education. Thank you for sharing that, Mr Speaker—I shall not share what my children have gone to school, as because they have not dressed up. That is mainly because they are 23, 20 and 15—[Laughter.] It would be a little odd! They used to go as things like Peter Pan. It used to be fun. I remember making many a costume, but sadly those days are behind me.

The hon. Lady raised a number of extremely important questions. She asked about next steps. She will appreciate that the Prime Minister’s commitments mean that I have had to announce the business as we know it today. As she appreciates, it is the Government’s intention to seek to win the meaningful vote on Tuesday. Should it be the case that the Government do win it, I would then need to come forward—if I had already announced contingent business, I would have to come forward to change it. What we are expecting, and what the Government are working towards, is winning that meaningful vote on Tuesday. As the hon. Lady will know, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and the Prime Minister herself are very carefully seeking agreement from the European Commission and the EU27 to resolve the outstanding issues on the backstop. It is very important that she understands the reason why the business has been announced as it has.

On recess dates, the hon. Lady will appreciate that for decades, if not longer, Leaders of the House have had to say that recess dates are announced and will then take place subject to the progress of the House. I am sure she appreciates that I will have to make that comment to her again.

On the Financial Services (Implementation of Legislation) Bill and the fact that that business did not go forward, as the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, my right hon. Friend the Member for Central Devon (Mel Stride), said on Monday, it is right that we take the time to look properly at the proposed amendments and consider their impact with the Crown dependencies, which are separate jurisdictions with their own democratically elected Governments. Taking the time to review those amendments was therefore extremely important.

The hon. Lady asks if the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union will appear before the Select Committee. I understand that he has agreed to do so. As she will appreciate, his absolute priority is to seek the support of the European Union for the changes that the UK Government are looking for to the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration. He always shows himself willing to appear before this House for scrutiny. He has been absolutely assiduous in his determination to be open to scrutiny at all times.

The hon. Lady asks about the two debates earlier this week, on Eurotunnel and the Standing Order No. 24 debate. She will be aware that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the Transport Secretary have both been to the House this week to provide updates on this very important matter. She will know that leaving the EU with a deal remains the Government’s top priority, but it is important that we prepare for all scenarios. The agreement with Eurotunnel secures additional freight capacity and helps to ensure that the NHS has essential medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The hon. Lady asks about fracking. She will be aware that the Government are determined that, as we move towards a carbon-free future, we will need to continue to rely heavily on gas for some years. Gas is the cleanest carbon fossil fuel and it is essential that we take our gas security seriously. Fracking offers not only a UK-grown source of gas security, but huge opportunities for economic growth in those areas that have it.

On the right to rent, the hon. Lady will be aware that the Government are challenging the judgment. The Government do not agree with the findings and that will continue to be looked at.

Finally, the hon. Lady made a point about the pay gap for women. She will be aware that the Government have brought in mandatory reporting on the pay gap for large employers, with unlimited fines for those who do not comply. The official overall gender pay gap in the UK is 17.9%, which is a record low. There is much more to do, but on the Government side of the House we are committed to reducing and eliminating the gender pay gap.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 28 February 2019

(10 months, 4 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
28 Feb 2019, 10:54 a.m.

On the hon. Gentleman’s last point, he is really clutching at straws as an SNP Member who has allowed his own Government in Scotland to raise taxes for workers in Scotland. He is guffawing about the question of a car park tax—far more important that he look at the log in his eye over the mainstream taxes on Scottish workers, who now pay more than those in the rest of the United Kingdom.

The hon. Gentleman asks about the next steps for the meaningful vote. He will be aware that the Prime Minister has given three commitments—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
28 Feb 2019, 10:54 a.m.

Order. I can see that the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) is in a jovial and jocular mood, but he asked a series of questions. The Leader of the House is answering them, but he seems more interested in having a sort of finger- wagging competition with Conservative Members on the Government Benches. He should do the Leader the courtesy of listening to her replies.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
28 Feb 2019, 10:59 a.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

The hon. Gentleman asks about the next steps for the meaningful vote. The Prime Minister has set out three steps. First, we will hold a second meaningful vote by Tuesday 12 March at the latest. Secondly, if the Government have not won a meaningful vote by Tuesday 12 March, then, in addition to our obligations to table a neutral amendable motion under section 13 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, we will table a motion to be voted on by Wednesday 13 March at the latest, asking this House if it supports leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement and a framework for a future relationship on 29 March. The UK will leave without a deal on 29 March if that vote is passed. Thirdly, if the House, having rejected leaving with the deal negotiated with the EU, then also rejects leaving on 29 March without a withdrawal agreement and future framework, the Government will, on 14 March, bring forward a motion on whether Parliament wants to seek a short, limited extension to article 50. If the House votes for an extension, the Government will seek to agree that extension approved by the House with the EU and to bring forward the necessary legislation to change the exit date. That is what the Prime Minister said and I hope that that is very clear to the hon. Gentleman.

What I would also say to the hon. Gentleman is that we on the Government Benches are trying our hardest to deliver on the result of the June 2016 referendum. He and his colleagues in the SNP are trying their hardest to undermine the result of their referendum in 2014.

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Oral Answers to Questions
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 21 February 2019

(11 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Feb 2019, 10:19 a.m.

The hon. Gentleman is a busy bee doing this extensive tour; it sounds absolutely enticing.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I certainly join my hon. Friend in thanking all those who do so much right across our country. I pay particular tribute to the work of the Church of England, which operates the single largest group of schools in the UK. Very often those schools are in small rural communities, and the schools and their teachers face big challenges, as do other rural services—distance, access to facilities, cost of living, the reduction in family sizes and so on. The Church has done a great deal to try to improve the sense of community right across our country.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Feb 2019, 10:23 a.m.

I hope that my hon. Friend will be encouraged to learn that more than 250 young people will gather in Liverpool this weekend to take part in the national youth ringing contest. The Church of England is delighted to see young people rediscovering the love of these traditional community activities. Church schools and parishes provide a range of support to children and young people, and initiatives such as these show how beneficial exercise and teamwork can be for young people’s wellbeing.

Mr Speaker Hansard

I must say to the House that I have observed bell ringing being undertaken in Winslow and in Lillingstone Lovell in my constituency, and very skilfully undertaken it was too. For my own part, I am bound to say that I think I was very maladroit when trying to bell ring. I found it a most strenuous activity. But there you go—perhaps with practice I might get a little bit better.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 21 February 2019

(11 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard

I do not want to make the hon. Gentleman envious, but I am pleased to tell the House that I have a fully up-to-date and, dare I say, sanitised version of the business of the House, and mine very clearly says “Friday 1 March”. [Interruption.] Well, I feel very sorry for colleagues. I am obviously in a privileged position and should be thankful for it.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Feb 2019, 10:54 a.m.

If the hon. Gentleman had only realised, I put that deliberately on his paper in the hope that he might think that, as it would be 29 February, I might propose to him. Just continuing the love, Mr Speaker.

The hon. Gentleman says that I am more ERG than TIG, but he is the one who is desperate for independence, so perhaps he should be the one to go and join the Independent Group. He asks about the debate next week. I have certainly tried to make it clear that the Prime Minister will bring back the meaningful vote just as soon as she feels that she has accommodated the wishes of the House for the legally binding changes to the backstop that will mean that the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement and political declaration can be approved by the House. All Members need to take that incredibly seriously. It is not the Government’s policy to have no deal; it is the Government’s policy to have a good deal that works for the UK and our EU friends and neighbours. Should we agree to and pass the meaningful vote, we will swiftly be able to move to the withdrawal agreement Bill and give certainty to citizens and businesses right across the United Kingdom. It is in all our interests to do so.

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Bell Ringing
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 21 February 2019

(11 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Feb 2019, 10:23 a.m.

I hope that my hon. Friend will be encouraged to learn that more than 250 young people will gather in Liverpool this weekend to take part in the national youth ringing contest. The Church of England is delighted to see young people rediscovering the love of these traditional community activities. Church schools and parishes provide a range of support to children and young people, and initiatives such as these show how beneficial exercise and teamwork can be for young people’s wellbeing.

Mr Speaker Hansard

I must say to the House that I have observed bell ringing being undertaken in Winslow and in Lillingstone Lovell in my constituency, and very skilfully undertaken it was too. For my own part, I am bound to say that I think I was very maladroit when trying to bell ring. I found it a most strenuous activity. But there you go—perhaps with practice I might get a little bit better.

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Clergy Recruitment: Rural Parishes
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 21 February 2019

(11 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
21 Feb 2019, 10:19 a.m.

The hon. Gentleman is a busy bee doing this extensive tour; it sounds absolutely enticing.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I certainly join my hon. Friend in thanking all those who do so much right across our country. I pay particular tribute to the work of the Church of England, which operates the single largest group of schools in the UK. Very often those schools are in small rural communities, and the schools and their teachers face big challenges, as do other rural services—distance, access to facilities, cost of living, the reduction in family sizes and so on. The Church has done a great deal to try to improve the sense of community right across our country.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 14 February 2019

(11 months, 1 week ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 10:50 a.m.

I thank the shadow Leader of the House for what she has just said. Many Members from across the House will know Eve Griffith-Okai. I think I am right in saying that she has served under, with and in support of no fewer than four Speakers; she served Speaker Weatherill, Speaker Boothroyd and Speaker Martin, and she has brilliantly served me. She is much loved across the House and has an outstanding track record of public service, which I am glad to say has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated in the Chamber.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 10:54 a.m.

As Jane Austen said,

“Is not general incivility the very essence of love?”

I shall therefore take the slightly unhumorous remarks of the hon. Member for Walsall South (Valerie Vaz) to be the beginning of a real friendship between us. I am grateful to her for asking some important questions. She asks about Opposition days. I hope she will accept that I have been able to find time for some of the important business that she has requested of me in recent weeks. I was pleased that, as she requested, we were able to debate the Securitisation Regulations 2018 yesterday. I hope that she will also welcome my announcement today that we will have a general debate on the NHS 10-year plan next week, which she requested on 31 January. I am seeking to deliver on requests that she is making. She asks about the probate statutory instrument, and I absolutely heard her request. I ask that she also makes it through the usual channels, as is the convention. The Government will of course respond, as we have done in the past, taking her requests very seriously and delivering on almost all of them.

The hon. Lady asks again about the awarding of contracts by the Department for Transport. She will be aware that we have just had DFT oral questions, where this issue was very much dealt with by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. He also answered an urgent question earlier in the week on the same subject. Just to be clear—all hon. Members who have been involved in any kind of business procurement will understand this—a process is undertaken that seeks to assess who is suitable for a contract. That does have a cost associated with it, but as my right hon. Friend made very clear, no taxpayers’ money was actually awarded to the supplier involved, because it failed to meet the requirements of the contract.

The hon. Member for Walsall South asks for a statement on a call for changes to use of the consumer prices index and the retail prices index. I will of course take that away and consider what can be done. She asks when we will bring back a meaningful vote. As the Prime Minister explained to this House just this week in a statement lasting two hours and 18 minutes, in which she answered questions from Members from right across the House, she is currently negotiating a revised deal. Members will be aware that there is a debate all day today on this topic.

The Prime Minister has explained that when we achieve the progress we need, we will bring forward another meaningful vote, but if the Government do not secure a majority in this House in favour of a withdrawal agreement and a political declaration, they will make a statement on Tuesday 26 February, and will table an amendable motion relating to the statement. A Minister will move that motion on Wednesday 27 February, thereby enabling the House to vote on it, and on any amendments to it, on that day.

Obviously, I will make a business statement in the usual way next week, setting out the details of the business for the week commencing 25 February. The hon. Member for Walsall South asks, “Where is the negotiation?”. She will appreciate that there is a negotiation; it is on the final element—resolving the issues associated with the backstop—that the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union are firmly committed to achieving in order to bring a motion to this House that it can support, thereby giving certainty to businesses, and citizens across this country and the EU.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 11:13 a.m.

I have chatted to our hon. Friend the Member for Taunton Deane (Rebecca Pow), who has been pleased to tell me about some of the excellent infrastructure projects that she has campaigned for in her wonderful constituency, including the upgrade of the Toneway at Creech Castle, the upgrade of the A358, the Staplegrove spine road and the upgrade of Taunton rail station, on which work is beginning now. Our hon. Friend is delighted with the efforts that she and others are making to improve Taunton Deane. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater and West Somerset (Mr Liddell-Grainger) has given you, Mr Speaker, and my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton Deane prior notice of his intention to raise her constituency in this place.

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 9:54 a.m.

Well, I am not aware that that is so today, though I speak with care. The Leader of the House is quite right to say that if a Member intends to refer to another Member’s constituency, especially if he or she intends to do so in what might be called disobliging terms, it is a courtesy so to notify. The hon. Member for Bridgwater and West Somerset (Mr Liddell-Grainger) has, on a number of occasions, notified me of his intention to refer to the Taunton Deane constituency, but—I express myself with care—I am not aware that he did so on this occasion, and that should have happened. [Interruption.] He is signalling that he either has written or will write; I think it is the latter—could do better.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

My hon. Friend raises an issue that is of interest to a number of right hon. and hon. Members right across the country, including you, Mr Speaker, and me. Certainly, if my hon. Friend wants to seek a Backbench debate or a Westminster Hall debate, I am sure many on all sides of the argument would want to take part in it.

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 11:16 a.m.

I cannot speak for the Backbench Business Committee, but I can assure the hon. Member for North West Leicestershire (Andrew Bridgen) that if he wants a debate on the matter in Westminster Hall, he will get it all right.

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Speaker’s Statement
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Wednesday 13 February 2019

(11 months, 1 week ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Mr Speaker Hansard
13 Feb 2019, 2:28 p.m.

Colleagues, imminently we will come to the motion on the retirement of the Clerk of the House and I will look to the Leader of the House to move the motion of congratulation to Sir David Natzler. Just before I do, I should like to record my own brief tribute.

People across the House will know that David Natzler has served without interruption in this House for over four decades. If memory serves me correctly, he began in our service in 1975. That service has been unstinting, selfless, formidable and, I think and hope all would agree, quite exceptional. Blessed with a brilliant brain, an understated manner, unfailing courtesy, and an absolute and undiluted passion for Parliament, he has given both of his skills and of his endeavours throughout his time here in a manner which I think is universally appreciated. I mention that he has served for over four decades. My own experience of him, I confess, dates back only just over two, but I would like to record a couple of relevant facts.

I got to know David when he served as Clerk of the Trade and Industry Select Committee. I was briefly a member of that Committee, from 1998 to 1999, and was on it with the hon. Member for Coventry South (Mr Cunningham), and indeed, the now right hon. Member for Chorley (Sir Lindsay Hoyle), the Senior Deputy Speaker of this House. The now Chairman of Ways and Means and I, and the hon. Gentleman, worked with and hugely benefited from David Natzler’s expertise—his procedural expertise and his ability to get to grips with the brief of the Committee and to offer us informed and invaluable advice on the vast miscellany of different inquiries that the Committee undertook.

As a Committee, we also travelled with David Natzler. Even if you are travelling somewhere very pleasant and staying in moderately salubrious surroundings, the camaraderie of the group, as I think all colleagues can testify, is important, and part of that is the contribution of our professional staff. David Natzler was a brilliant Clerk of the Committee. I am sure that that will be remembered, too, by its Chair for a decade, the former Member of this House and, between 1997 and 2005, the Member of Parliament for Ochil, now a Member of the other place—namely, Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan, known to many of us as Martin O’Neill. David was superb and he made a big and decisive difference to the operation of the Select Committee.

As Speaker, I have been privileged to know David Natzler in four of the roles that he has discharged for the House—as Clerk of Committees, Clerk of Legislation, Clerk Assistant and, since 2015, as Clerk of the House. As he approaches retirement, he will of course mark four years as Clerk of the House, which is a very normal period to serve as our Clerk, in the final role that a member of the Clerks service discharges to Parliament.

There is much that David has contributed, but I have a sense that he will be particularly proud of the work that he did back in 2009-10 on, and in support of, the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons. Colleagues will recall that that Committee was chaired with great skill, courtesy and even-handedness by the former Member of this place for Cannock Chase, Dr Tony Wright.

I do not think I give much away if I say that David Natzler thirsted to clerk that Committee. He knew that it was the will of the House that reforms should be made to the running of this place—not only to the operation of the Chamber, but to the work, remit and manner of composition of our treasured Select Committees. David felt that he could input invaluably to that work, and I hope that colleagues will agree that he most assuredly did. That work had to be discharged, not least because of the proximity of a general election, with considerable dispatch, but with attention to detail and proper discrimination—I use the word “discrimination” in its best sense—between what was important and could not wait and what might be important but could. I think that if Tony Wright were in this Chamber now, he would agree that David Natzler clerked that Committee, to which I remember giving evidence, among many others, brilliantly.

David has been the most assiduous and dedicated servant of the House. He signalled to me, probably a year, if not 18 months ago, his desire to retire around now. I hope that all colleagues will join me—I very much look forward to what the Leader of the House has to say by way of tribute—in wishing Sir David and his wife, Hilary, a very long, rewarding and happy retirement.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard
13 Feb 2019, 2:36 p.m.

I beg to move,

That Mr Speaker be requested to convey to Sir David Natzler KCB, on his retirement from the office of Clerk of the House, this House’s gratitude for his long and distinguished service, for his wise contribution to the development of the procedure of the House and to modernising its practices, for his leadership and thoughtfulness in the discharge of his duties as head of the House Service, and for the courteous and helpful advice always given to individual honourable Members.

It is a real pleasure to move this motion in order to give the House the opportunity to pay tribute to Sir David Natzler today. I am sure that I speak on behalf of the whole House when I say that David has given outstanding service to the House of Commons. David began working here in 1975 and has held a variety of senior posts within the Chamber and Committees Team, incorporating the former Department of Chamber and Committee Services and the old Clerks Department. This has included his work as a Clerk to a range of Select Committees, including the Social Services Committee, the Procedure Committee and the Trade and Industry Committee. He was Principal Clerk of Committees, Secretary to the House of Commons Commission, Principal Clerk of the Table Office, Clerk of Legislation and Clerk Assistant.

David served as acting Clerk of the House from September 2014 and was formally appointed as Clerk of the House in March 2015, the 50th person to fill the role. David’s commitment to this place is quite simply unrivalled. When he met his delightful wife, Hilary, at a party in London, he soon discovered that she worked for Hansard. They were married in 1988, and it proved an inspired choice. What a wonderful recipe for keeping a husband on his toes—a wife who can take down his words in evidence and use them against him!

David has been a source of procedural advice and parliamentary wisdom to many a Leader of the House, not just in his role as Clerk, but in many of the senior roles he has occupied. I know that he has relished working with a number of Leaders of the House, dating back to Geoff Hoon and Jack Straw, and more recently, as Clerk with William Hague and with my right hon. Friends the Members for Epsom and Ewell (Chris Grayling) and for Aylesbury (Mr Lidington). As Secretary to the House of Commons Commission from 2004 to 2006, David also worked closely with the shadow Leaders of the House, including, at the time, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), now the Prime Minister.

Since becoming Leader of the House in 2017, I have personally benefited from the advice and wisdom that David so readily provides to all who knock at his door. Over the past 18 months, David has worked closely with me and my office. We have been through thick and thin. I think it is fair to say that we have a mutually appreciated candour and a clear recognition of each other’s viewpoint in turbulent times. I have a huge amount of respect for David and the work he does. In more than a decade at the Table of the House, among his many talents he has developed an impressive ability to convey a wide range of emotions with the single raising of an eyebrow—something that you often miss, Mr Speaker, as his back is turned to you, but I can assure you that it is very meaningful.

Throughout the highs and lows of the past four years, David has had the best interests of the House at heart, and during that time, he has stacked up a number of important achievements. I know that he was delighted to have secured Richmond House as part of the Northern Estates project, and then, at the start of last year, to see the restoration and renewal programme finally get the approval of both Houses in the form recommended by the Joint Committee. I share his enthusiasm and I am pleased that the Government have worked collaboratively with Parliament in the preparatory work for restoration and renewal and in bringing forward the Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny.

David has also overseen the introduction of the Parliamentary Security Department, as well as the Parliamentary Digital Service. He helped to bring in the governance changes, as recommended by the Straw Committee in 2014, which notably included the recruitment of the Director General.

In recent months, David has led the House service through the immediate aftermath of the Dame Laura Cox report. It was an uncomfortable read for many in the senior House administration and for anyone who cares passionately about this House. However, I want to pay tribute to David for the way in which he and his staff have acted to make swift progress on the Cox recommendations. I know that many staff in the House have appreciated the time that he has taken to get out and talk to them—for example, in town hall meetings—in order to show his personal commitment to getting the House through this challenging period.

Over the years, David has played his part in moving us towards a less antiquated House through a number of changes that have definitely not been without controversy. For example, he oversaw the replacement of vellum with archival paper for the printing of new laws, for which goats around the United Kingdom will be grateful.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
13 Feb 2019, 2:40 p.m.

I was actually about to say that some of Sir David’s colleagues rather wish his clothing adjustments had extended to the scruffy white bowtie. David’s own bowtie tends towards the off-white shades more commonly favoured by trendy interior designers. I am sure my hon. Friend has a strong opinion on that.

It was a different modernising move that was the high point of David’s career. I am reliably informed that his personal high point was working with the Wright Committee on Reform of the House of Commons 10 years ago. This involved twice weekly extended private discussions—bordering on arguments—with a great number of Members about parliamentary politics and procedure. What more could a senior Clerk ask for?

As well as his official duties in the House, David has represented the Lords and Commons cricket team in their regular matches against the Dutch Parliament and played for parliamentary football and tennis teams. In his spare time, he is an ardent Shakespeare enthusiast, a founder member of the Richard Burbage Society and author of a scholarly essay entitled “The Two Gentlemen of Venice”—we can only speculate who they are. David’s intellectual gifts are part of parliamentary folklore—many a Member, myself included, has asked him a question and then struggled to keep up with the sheer subtlety of his arguments—but he is also blessed with a kindly heart and a vivid sense of humour.

I want to say a personal thank you to David both for his service to the House and for the collegiate way he has worked with me and my office in my time as Leader of the House. After 43 years, he should be proud that he leaves the House in a strong position to face the coming challenges of the next few months and years. In particular, I would like to wish him a very restful retirement. Few deserve it more and I imagine he is very much looking forward to it. I commend this motion to the House.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

I thank the Leader of the House very warmly for what she has said.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 07 February 2019

(11 months, 2 weeks ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
7 Feb 2019, 9:30 a.m.

The right hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Sir John Hayes) is unfailingly courteous. He has, in fact, written to me to explain—movingly and manifestly with some regret—his absence from business questions today. He felt that he would have been able to provide the House with a question that was important in terms of substance and beautifully delivered—something that I would not for one moment contradict. We wish him well today, but we hope that he will be back with us next week. I am not sure that we can bear his absence much longer.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
7 Feb 2019, 11:31 a.m.

I think that everybody would concur; we cannot possibly miss my right hon. Friend the Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Sir John Hayes) for a further week. I also pass to him our very best wishes and congratulations on becoming a knight of the realm. He is a very good fellow in this place, and a very loyal attendee at business questions.

The hon. Member for Walsall South (Valerie Vaz) asks about the general debate next week. She will have observed that I announced business on the Securitisation Regulations 2018 next Wednesday. That was a request from the Opposition, so I hope that she is pleased that I have been able to find Government time for that debate in the Chamber.

I also congratulate John Benger on his appointment. I was delighted, along with Mr Speaker and the hon. Lady, to be part of the selection panel. We all agree that he will do an excellent job.

The hon. Lady asks about the next steps on Brexit, particularly whether the motion next week will be amendable and voteable. I do want to help the House on this, so let me be absolutely clear: if a deal is brought back for a meaningful vote, yes, the vote to approve the deal with be a motion under section 13(1)(b) of the EU withdrawal Act, and it will be an amendable motion, as it was in January. If we are not able to bring back the revised deal for that second meaningful vote, the business for Thursday, as I announced earlier, will be a debate on a motion relating to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The Prime Minister will provide an update to the House next week. If necessary, I will then make a further business statement as a consequence of her statement. As the Prime Minister has said, the motion next week will not be brought back under section 13—there is not a legal requirement to do so—but it is a commitment that the Government have made outside the statutory framework of the EU withdrawal Act. The Government always take seriously the views of this House, and that remains the case on the motion next week, whether it passes with or without amendments. I hope it is clear that, as of now, we will be providing for the House to have a debate next Thursday, whether it is on a meaningful vote or on an amendable, neutral motion.

The hon. Lady asks about the issue of tariffs in a no-deal Brexit. We have just had International Trade questions. I am sure that she will have raised her questions there via Opposition colleagues and received a response. She also mentioned the urgent question on roaming that just took place and has put in a request for that statutory instrument to be debated on the Floor of the House. As always, if she wants to make her request through the usual channels, the Government have been very keen to provide time where there is a reasonable request.

The hon. Lady mentioned the appalling problem of mental health issues among the young, and she is absolutely right to do so, with issues ranging from clean air to excessive use of social media—we have seen only recently the appalling effect that that can have on young people. The Government are committed to doing everything possible to try to resolve the problem of spiralling mental health problems in young people. She specifically asked about ministerial cars’ engines running. Ministerial cars’ engines are not meant to be kept running, and if hon. Members find that they are, then they should challenge that.

The hon. Lady mentioned that the EU is committed to the Belfast/Good Friday agreement. I would say to her that the United Kingdom is absolutely committed to strengthening further the bonds between all of the four nations of the United Kingdom, and it is this Government who are determined to do everything possible to maintain the Belfast/Good Friday agreement.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
7 Feb 2019, 11:45 a.m.

I am very glad that the hon. Gentleman takes these things so seriously; obviously it is a very serious matter, and if he feels it is appropriate to be determining who is going to hell over it, obviously that is a matter for him. I personally do not find it incredibly amusing. I think it is vital that people treat each other personally with courtesy and respect. I have always said that; I continue to think that. It is just not a laughing matter; it is actually rather hateful.

The hon. Gentleman asked some very important questions, and I think I have just set out precisely what is the case, but I will do so again. I think it is unfortunate, Mr Speaker, that you somewhat muddied the waters by unresponding to the Business of the House statement. I had made it perfectly clear what was the case, and I am perfectly able to do that for myself. I will set it out again for the hon. Gentleman. The Prime Minister is currently—[Interruption.] If hon. Members wish to know, they might like to listen. On the other hand, if they want to just yell, that is also fine. The hon. Gentleman asked a question. The Prime Minister is currently negotiating a revised deal, and she will update the House next week—okay? Is that clear? Next week. If necessary, I will make a further business statement, but today’s statement is clear that we will meet our commitment—the Prime Minister’s commitment—to deliver a debate on an amendable motion next week. If the hon. Gentleman listened to the business statement, he will know that that will be on Thursday.

The hon. Gentleman also asked about this week’s business and said that we did not discuss anything. I would just like to point out to him that we had an excellent debate on Monday, when 39 individual Members talked about the importance of sport right across our country in relation to issues such as mental health, reducing obesity and general wellbeing, which are all important matters. On Tuesday, the House debated the police grant and local government finance reports. He may not consider that to be relevant business, but we voted on them and those extremely significant motions have an impact on people in England and right across the United Kingdom. We also discussed some vital subjects in relation to compensation payments for those suffering from mesothelioma and pneumoconiosis. The hon. Gentleman is simply not right to say that we did nothing this week.

The hon. Gentleman is also not right to say that we will be doing nothing during the recess week. He asked again what we will be doing during the period that would have been recess. As I have already said, the business includes some key statutory instruments that are to be debated in the Chamber. He will be aware that Brexit legislation is not a matter only of primary legislation; there are up to 600 pieces of secondary legislation. The House is dealing with those in good order. Over 400 have now been laid, and we remain confident of getting all the statutory instruments that need to be finalised by Brexit day done by then. He should take reassurance from that.

Mr Speaker Hansard
7 Feb 2019, 11:47 a.m.

Colleagues—I address my remarks to colleagues—for the avoidance of doubt, I have not muddied any waters. What I have done is to quote the factual position. Very specifically, I have quoted statements from the Treasury Bench on 29 January, 31 January and 6 February. I know the Leader of the House will be interested in this, because she has just talked about the importance of treating colleagues with respect, which presumably applies to listening to them when they are speaking. The position is extremely clear. I do not try to tell the right hon. Lady how to do her job. I treat her with great courtesy, and I will continue to do so. Nobody is going to tell this Speaker how to stand up for and persistently champion the rights of Parliament. I have done it, I am doing it and I will go on doing it. I could not care less who tries to obstruct me. That is the fact, that is the reality and that is the mission and responsibility of the Speaker of the House of Commons.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 31 January 2019

(11 months, 3 weeks ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
31 Jan 2019, 11:14 a.m.

I share the hon. Gentleman’s grave concern, and he is absolutely right to raise the concerns of all right hon. and hon. Members about the appalling spike in knife crime. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary was talking about an amendment to the Offensive Weapons Bill that was laid yesterday. He wrote to Opposition Front Benchers, and I have asked him to send a copy of the letter to the hon. Gentleman. All Members will be aware that the matter has been discussed for some considerable time, and the new deterrent in the form of knife crime prevention orders is in effect trying to prevent young people from getting into a life of knife crime.

Mr Speaker Hansard
31 Jan 2019, 11:16 a.m.

I thank the Leader of the House very much for what she has said, which does at least explain the chronology of events. However, for the avoidance of doubt, let it be clear that it is utterly discourteous to the House of Commons for an important initiative to be announced outside of this Chamber by means of media interviews. The fact of which the right hon. Lady has helpfully informed us—that the Home Secretary wrote to shadow Ministers—is of interest, but in terms of the priority of a statement in the House, it is frankly neither here nor there. The way in which Ministers are held to account is by interrogation in this Chamber. Simply writing a letter to an opposite number and then beetling off to do a radio or television interview will not do. It is simply not up to the required standard.

I say to the hon. Member for Gedling (Vernon Coaker), who is one of the least partisan Members of this House and is naturally collaborative by instinct, that if a Minister does not come to this Chamber to announce a policy when he or she should, there are well-established means by which to ensure the presence of a Minister at the first parliamentary opportunity thereafter. If Members seek such an opportunity, it will be provided. Among other things, we will all be interested to know what possible credible explanation for the conduct can be proffered to the House by a Minister. In the absence of a credible explanation, what of course is required is an unqualified apology.

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Proxy Voting
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Monday 28 January 2019

(11 months, 4 weeks ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 10:17 p.m.

We now come to motion 6 on proxy voting, which we will debate together with motion 7. Before I call a Whip to move motion 6, I should inform the House that I have selected amendment (d) to motion 7, which stands in the name of the hon. Member for Shipley (Philip Davies). The amendment will be debated together with the motions. I am referring to amendment (d), appertaining to miscarriages.

At the end of the debate, I shall put the Questions necessary to dispose of the proceedings. I hope that this is helpful to colleagues. First, I shall put the Question on motion 6, after which I shall call the Leader of the House to move motion 7 formally, and then the hon. Member for Shipley to move his amendment (d) formally and put the Question on that—the Question on amendment (d). Finally, I shall put the Question on motion 7, either as amended or, as the case may be, in its original form on the Order Paper.

I should make it clear that if amendment (d) is agreed to, I shall ensure that the additional requirement relating to miscarriage is incorporated into the pilot scheme and duly authorised as soon as possible. I must emphasise that this would not delay the immediate implementation of the scheme in the form that has been made available in the Vote Office. I call the Leader of the House to move motion 6.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 10:18 p.m.

I beg to move,

That this House:—

(1) reaffirms its resolution of 1 February 2018 on baby leave for Members of Parliament;

(2) endorses the Fifth Report of the Procedure Committee, HC 825, on Proxy voting and parental absence;

(3) accordingly directs the Speaker to prepare a pilot scheme governing the operation of proxy voting for Members absent from the House by reason of childbirth or care of an infant or newly adopted child, pursuant to the recommendations in the Committee’s report, this resolution and the temporary Standing Order (Voting by proxy for parental absence);

(4) directs that a scheme prepared in accordance with this resolution and the temporary Standing Order (Voting by proxy for parental absence) shall be signed by the Speaker and the leaders of the three largest parties in the House before it is published, and that it shall enter into effect for a period of 12 months when the Speaker takes the chair on the sitting day after the day of publication;

(5) directs that any amendment of a scheme in effect by virtue of paragraph (4) above shall take effect when the Speaker takes the Chair on the sitting day after a proposal signed by the Speaker and the leaders of the three largest parties in the House is published; and

(6) directs the Procedure Committee to review proxy voting arrangements within 12 months of the commencement of a scheme established by virtue of this order.

This debate follows much discussion of the issue of baby leave and the use of proxy voting over the past year. I would like to start by thanking all Members from right across the House who have helped to bring us to this point. In particular, I am extremely grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Broxbourne (Mr Walker) and his Committee for their helpful and rapid response to last February’s debate. Their report has provided the means for us to implement these changes and to demonstrate how Members are helping to bring Parliament into the 21st century.

I also thank the Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mrs Miller), and the Mother of the House, the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman). They have both been strong champions of proxy voting and have consistently supported and promoted the many issues that affect women in this place.

I pay tribute to the collaborative way in which you, Mr Speaker, have worked with the Clerks to ensure that, should these motions pass, the proxy voting scheme can be operational from tomorrow. I am grateful to the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the SNP’s Westminster leader, the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Ian Blackford), for quickly reviewing and authorising the details of the scheme that is the subject of this evening’s decision. Over the past year we have seen two full debates, a Select Committee inquiry, three urgent questions and many other deliberations in the House on this issue, and in my opinion quite rightly, too. Throughout that time, we have seen strong support for the changes before us today.

I am sympathetic to the issue that the amendment seeks to address. A miscarriage is a distressing time for any individual to have to go through. However, those suffering such distress may well prefer to do so in private, via the anonymity of the pairing system rather than the transparency of a proxy vote, during what is always a personally devastating period. Whether the amendment is passed is ultimately a decision for the House.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 11:13 p.m.

I am delighted to follow the hon. Member for Bury North (James Frith). What a fantastic way to end our debate: a speech about the importance of dads. Sometimes there is something on which we can all agree, and the importance of dads is one of them.

I share the pleasure of many Members at the fact that the hon. Member for Hampstead and Kilburn (Tulip Siddiq) will—we hope—be able to use the first proxy vote tomorrow. It may be the first time since the 19th century, as the hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Luciana Berger) mentioned, but it certainly will not be the last. This is fantastic news for Parliament, and it is something that we can all get behind in our attempts to make ours a modern workplace to which more people from more diverse backgrounds, of different ages and at different stages in their lives, will feel proud to come to represent their constituents.

I hope that all Members will support these motions, and prove that when we really get together we can do great things.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House:—

(1) reaffirms its resolution of 1 February 2018 on baby leave for Members of Parliament;

(2) endorses the Fifth Report of the Procedure Committee, HC 825, on Proxy voting and parental absence;

(3) accordingly directs the Speaker to prepare a pilot scheme governing the operation of proxy voting for Members absent from the House by reason of childbirth or care of an infant or newly adopted child, pursuant to the recommendations in the Committee’s report, this resolution and the temporary Standing Order (Voting by proxy for parental absence);

(4) directs that a scheme prepared in accordance with this resolution and the temporary Standing Order (Voting by proxy for parental absence) shall be signed by the Speaker and the leaders of the three largest parties in the House before it is published, and that it shall enter into effect for a period of 12 months when the Speaker takes the chair on the sitting day after the day of publication;

(5) directs that any amendment of a scheme in effect by virtue of paragraph (4) above shall take effect when the Speaker takes the Chair on the sitting day after a proposal signed by the Speaker and the leaders of the three largest parties in the House is published; and

(6) directs the Procedure Committee to review proxy voting arrangements within 12 months of the commencement of a scheme established by virtue of this order.—(Andrea Leadsom.)

Proxy Voting (Temporary Standing Order)

Motion made, and Question proposed,

Voting by proxy for parental absence (Temporary Standing Order)

(1) A Member may, by reason of absence from the precincts of the House for childbirth or care of an infant or newly adopted child, arrange for their vote to be cast in accordance with this order by another Member acting as a proxy (a proxy vote).

(2) A proxy vote may be cast:

(a) in a division in the House, in Committee of the whole House, or in any legislative grand committee, in relation to the business specified in paragraph (3) below;

(b) on business specified in paragraph (3) below recorded in a division under Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions), and

(c) in a ballot cast in an election under Standing Order No. 1B (Election of Speaker by secret ballot), Standing Order No. 2A (Election of the Deputy Speakers) and Standing Order No. 122B (Election of select committee chairs).

(3) Subject to paragraph (4) below, a proxy vote may be cast on all public and private business of the House.

(4) No proxy vote shall be cast in a division on any motion in the form specified in section 2(2) of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

(5) No proxy vote shall be reckoned in the numbers participating in a division for the purposes of (a) Standing Order No. 41(1) (Quorum), and (b) Standing Order No. 37 (Majority for closure or for proposal of question).

(6) A proxy vote may be cast only if the Speaker has certified that the Member for whom the vote is to be cast is eligible under the terms of this order and the Resolution of the House of Monday 28 January and if that certificate, including the name of the Member nominated as a proxy, has been published in the Votes and Proceedings.

(7) A vote cast by a proxy shall be clearly indicated as such in the division lists published under the authority of the House.

(8) This Standing Order shall lapse upon the expiry of the proxy voting scheme established under the terms of this order and the Resolution of the House of Monday 28 January.—(Andrea Leadsom.)

Amendment made: (d), after paragraph (7) insert:

“(7A) The Speaker may also make provision for the exercise of a proxy vote for Members who have suffered a miscarriage.”—(Philip Davies.)

Main Question, as amended, put and agreed to.

Ordered,

Voting by proxy for parental absence (Temporary Standing Order)

(1) A Member may, by reason of absence from the precincts of the House for childbirth or care of an infant or newly adopted child, arrange for their vote to be cast in accordance with this order by another Member acting as a proxy (a proxy vote).

(2) A proxy vote may be cast:

(a) in a division in the House, in Committee of the whole House, or in any legislative grand committee, in relation to the business specified in paragraph (3) below;

(b) on business specified in paragraph (3) below recorded in a division under Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions), and

(c) in a ballot cast in an election under Standing Order No. 1B (Election of Speaker by secret ballot), Standing Order No. 2A (Election of the Deputy Speakers) and Standing Order No. 122B (Election of select committee chairs).

(3) Subject to paragraph (4) below, a proxy vote may be cast on all public and private business of the House.

(4) No proxy vote shall be cast in a division on any motion in the form specified in section 2(2) of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

(5) No proxy vote shall be reckoned in the numbers participating in a division for the purposes of (a) Standing Order No. 41(1) (Quorum), and (b) Standing Order No. 37 (Majority for closure or for proposal of question).

(6) A proxy vote may be cast only if the Speaker has certified that the Member for whom the vote is to be cast is eligible under the terms of this order and the Resolution of the House of Monday 28 January and if that certificate, including the name of the Member nominated as a proxy, has been published in the Votes and Proceedings.

(7) A vote cast by a proxy shall be clearly indicated as such in the division lists published under the authority of the House.

(7A) The Speaker may also make provision for the exercise of a proxy vote for Members who have suffered a miscarriage.

(8) This Standing Order shall lapse upon the expiry of the proxy voting scheme established under the terms of this order and the Resolution of the House of Monday 28 January.

Mr Speaker Hansard

The Leader of the House signalled this, but for the avoidance of doubt and the sake of clarity, following the decision of the House on motions 6 and 7, as amended, I wish to make a brief statement.

As has already been alluded to during the debate, the pilot scheme that I am directed to prepare has been signed by myself, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the parliamentary leader of the Scottish National party. The scheme, colleagues, will be published this evening and will therefore indeed have effect from tomorrow.

I also confirm that I expect my first certificate of eligibility to be published in the Votes and Proceedings for today, enabling a proxy vote to be cast tomorrow.

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Proxy Voting
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Tuesday 22 January 2019

(1 year ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard
22 Jan 2019, 1:17 p.m.

I am grateful for the opportunity to respond to this urgent question. I thank the hon. Member for East Dunbartonshire (Jo Swinson) for her question. I have great respect for her, particularly for her invaluable work on the steering group to establish the Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy. She has also been a strong voice on the issue of proxy voting and I know that many of us enjoyed seeing her in her place during the previous debate on this matter with baby Gabriel.

I am also delighted that the hon. Member for Hampstead and Kilburn (Tulip Siddiq) welcomed a new baby boy, Raphael, on Thursday. I am sure that the whole House will want to join me in sending our very best wishes. There are a number of Members right across the House who are expecting babies in the coming months and so I know that this matter is, quite rightly, of huge importance to many.

I profoundly believe that all new parents should be able to spend uninterrupted time with their new baby. That is vital both for the physical and mental wellbeing of parents and their babies. Working to give every baby the best start in life has been a passion of mine for many years, and during this time I have had the pleasure of working closely with many hon. and right hon. Members across the House.

I was delighted that the Prime Minister asked me to chair a cross-Government ministerial group in June to explore what more the Government can do to improve the cradle-to-grave effects that result from better support in this critical period of our lives. The group that I chair will make recommendations to relevant Secretaries of State on how the Government can improve the co-ordination and cost-effectiveness of early years family support, and identify gaps in available provision. I am delighted to be visiting Home Start and Sure Start in Manchester this Friday with the hon. Member for Manchester Central (Lucy Powell) to hear directly from parents about their experiences.

I assure the House that I am absolutely committed to making progress on the issue of proxy voting, and I am truly delighted to be able to confirm to the House today that a substantive motion on proxy leave in the case of maternity, paternity and adoption has been tabled today for the House’s agreement on Monday 28 January.

The motion I have tabled will largely follow the helpful recommendations set out in the Procedure Committee’s fifth report of the Session. It will facilitate baby leave for Members of Parliament and implement the House’s decision to agree to proxy voting in instances of baby leave.

The motion and Standing Order changes that I will table deviate in two minor ways from the drafting in the Procedure Committee report. First, the motion will provide for a pilot scheme of one year, with a formal review at the end of that by the Procedure Committee to ensure that it is working well. Secondly, for that reason, the Standing Order is temporary, and in agreement with the Clerks, the ability to make provision for proxy voting in so far as not provided for by the Standing Order was deemed unnecessary for the scheme to be fully workable. Those are the two minor changes.

This is a perfect example of how Parliament can work collaboratively to bring about important change, demonstrating the work of many colleagues from all parties, who have been determined to see this happen. This is a really positive moment for many colleagues across the House. There have been a number of constructive debates about this issue, and ultimately it is clear to me that the balance of opinion is that baby leave is a unique period of time and is crucial for new parents. This is a step forward, removing the choice between parliamentary and parental responsibilities and helping to make Parliament a more modern workplace.

I do hope that the House will be of the same opinion, and that it will fully support the motion next week to bring forward a pilot scheme for proxy voting.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

Splendid.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
22 Jan 2019, 1:25 p.m.

I say again that I consider the hon. Lady to be a friend and I entirely understand her frustration. I will respond to her questions in turn.

First, the hon. Lady talks about the hon. Member for Hampstead and Kilburn (Tulip Siddiq). As I said in business questions last Thursday, the hon. Member for Hampstead and Kilburn was offered a pair. She has also received an invitation to be nodded through should she wish her vote to be recorded. That would obviously require her to come to this place at some point during the day before the vote, when her name would be recorded; but in the meantime, she is invited to have a pair. I understand that she had a pair yesterday.

As the hon. Member for East Dunbartonshire (Jo Swinson) knows, until proxy voting is in place, that remains the way in which those with illnesses and those having parental leave are accommodated. She will also be aware, as was said at the time, that the breaking of the pair in her case on, I believe, 17 July was done entirely in error. My right hon. Friend the Member for Great Yarmouth (Brandon Lewis) apologised directly to her, as did my right hon. Friend the Chief Whip on behalf of the Whips Office. I apologise to the House again, but I can assure all Members that it is intended that a pair be provided for the hon. Member for Hampstead and Kilburn should she wish it, as was the case yesterday.

The hon. Member for East Dunbartonshire asks about the delay. She will appreciate that this is a fundamental break with the past in this House. She will also appreciate that I wrote to the Procedure Committee in November 2017, asking it to look into this matter, because it was a significant change for the House, and the Committee raised a number of issues that needed resolution. For example, when should a proxy be used? Could it be just for Government business? Should it be for private business? Should it be for a closure motion? Should it be for life-or-death decisions only? Those were very important questions. Also, who should offer the proxy? Who should be the proxy? Who should provide that role, and what sort of consequences does that offer for the individual who may be voting against their conscience on behalf of another Member? Finally, there is the question of whether proxy should be used only for those on baby leave rather than for those who are ill or who have other priorities.

Those were significant questions and I understand the hon. Lady’s frustration at the time it is taking, but we have had a number of very constructive debates, and I believe that we have concluded that the issue of baby leave is unique, and therefore should have priority. That is why I am able to bring this forward today.

Finally, with the breaking of pairs, I totally understand that in the hon. Lady’s case that was extremely regrettable, but she will appreciate that, as an informal system, there are a number of problems with the administration of pairs. I would very gently point out to her that five Liberal Democrat MPs—almost half of the party’s MPs—have broken their pairs in this Parliament alone. It is not unique to the Government side; a number of pairs have been broken through genuine errors. All hon. Members need to consider the fact that there is a strong commitment to making the informal pairing arrangement work as well as it possibly can.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
22 Jan 2019, 1:28 p.m.

I thank the Leader of the House for what she has said. The hon. Member for East Dunbartonshire (Jo Swinson) also asked what discussions the Leader of the House had had with my office, to which the answer is that the Leader of the House and I have discussed this matter from time to time. I have made extremely clear privately, as I have made extremely clear publicly, my desire for progressive change and my impatience with its absence. More particularly, what I would like to say to the hon. Lady and for the benefit of the House is this: I can assure colleagues that if and when the House agrees to the necessary resolution and Standing Order, I will ensure that I have a scheme ready to be activated, so that Members can rapidly—indeed, I think instantly—apply for a proxy vote, and their nominated proxy can then cast that vote the next day. I think colleagues will agree that that is crystal clear.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
22 Jan 2019, 1:31 p.m.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for her comment and question. I completely agree with her. Many of us—if not all of us—across this House want Parliament to be a more family-friendly place. There have been a huge number of efforts, including by you, Mr Speaker, and by right hon. and hon. Members across the House to change the sitting hours to make them more family-friendly, for example. There are now better childcare facilities on the estate. There is a greater use of technology to make it easier to go about our jobs. We have done a huge amount of work, with cross-party collaboration, to bring in a new behaviour code and a new complaints procedure to make people feel that they can be treated with the dignity and respect that everybody deserves in this place. There is a huge amount more to do. I am committed to working with colleagues to make more progress. My right hon. Friend and I met only yesterday to talk about what more we can do, cross-party, to try to ensure that we have a more family-friendly Parliament that encourages people from all walks of life to want to come here and take up a role representing their constituents.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
22 Jan 2019, 1:31 p.m.

The responsibility is shared, but on a point of fact, as I suspect the right hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mrs Miller) knows, responsibility on this matter was manifestly and incontrovertibly that of the Government, as the Procedure Committee recognised. That responsibility has been discharged today by the Leader of the House, and I thank her for it. It is very important that we proceed on the basis of factual knowledge and not of misguided perception.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
22 Jan 2019, 11:59 a.m.

I want to say—I do not think this is a divisible proposition—that the hon. Gentleman is an all-round wonderful human being.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I find myself entirely agreeing with you on that point, Mr Speaker. I thank my hon. Friend for the excellent and timely work of the Procedure Committee, which has provided a way forward on which I sincerely hope the House will agree on Monday.

Mr Speaker Hansard
22 Jan 2019, 11:59 a.m.

Colleagues, there is a piquancy about the fact that, as we have been debating this important matter, a large number of children and young people have been observing our proceedings. Until a matter of moments ago, to boot, there was a young man up in the Gallery clutching a little baby—[Interruption.] Apparently, it was the baby of the hon. Member for Lancaster and Fleetwood (Cat Smith)—[Interruption.] Ah, on cue! We are grateful to him.

Those watching our proceedings will be pleased to know that the next Member to be called is the person who has done more to champion women and equality in this House than anyone any of us can recall: the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman), the Mother of the House, elected on 28 October 1982 and still in service here.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

Having had three kids, I have discovered a very useful piece of information, which I wish now to share with the hon. Lady: the oldest child makes the rules, the second child is the reason the rules are needed, and to the third child the rules do not apply. She is absolutely right to raise this issue. We have debated proxy voting a number of times and want to get on with it, so the plan is to bring it forward for the House to nod through. She is therefore quite right that if somebody objects, I will need to look at further measures, which I will do in very short order. This is the quickest way to get it through. Following that, as you have said, Mr Speaker, you will ensure that the detailed procedures are ready immediately thereafter. That will then need to be signed off by you, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of the Scottish National party’s Westminster team. Once those signatures have been received, it will be possible for proxy voting to take place on the next sitting day.

Mr Speaker Hansard
22 Jan 2019, 2:02 p.m.

I thank the Leader of the House for that useful clarification. For the avoidance of doubt, if it is necessary for me to trog around the offices of the individual party leaders in order to secure those signatures, I shall be happy to do so.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

The hon. Gentleman may know that one of my hon. Friends spoke in one of our earlier debates on proxy voting about timing the birth of her baby in the summer recess. The baby was conceived to be born in the summer recess—fine-tuning the event specifically so that she would not have the problems we have discussed. I absolutely understand the challenges that new families in this place face. The hon. Gentleman asked what will be available to new fathers. It will be proxy voting for the two-week parental leave available to fathers—that is what is proposed for the pilot scheme. For mothers, it will be six months of proxy voting, again in line with the Procedure Committee’s proposals.

Mr Speaker Hansard

I thank all colleagues and reiterate my thanks to the Leader of the House for her work and commitment, which are apparent to everyone. We are not quite there yet, but we are closer than we were, and we hope that the matter will be resolved on Monday. Let me be the first to say thank you to her from this Chair for what she has done.

See more like "Business of the House"

Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 17 January 2019

(1 year ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jan 2019, 10:36 a.m.

The business for next week will be as follows:

Monday 21 January—Remaining stages of the Healthcare (International) Arrangements Bill.

Tuesday 22 January—Consideration of Lords amendments to the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill.

Wednesday 23 January—Consideration of Lords amendments to the Tenant Fees Bill, followed by a motion relating to private Members’ Bills.

Thursday 24 January—A general debate on Holocaust Memorial Day 2019, followed by a debate on a motion relating to appropriate ME treatment. The subjects for these debates were determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

Friday 25 January—The House will not be sitting.

I can confirm to the House that a statement and a motion on the Government’s next steps under section 13 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 will be tabled on Monday. A full day’s debate on the motion will take place on Tuesday 29 January, subject to the agreement of the House.

Mr Speaker,

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.”

Let me say, on the eve of A.A. Milne’s birthday, that that is one of my favourite quotes from “Winnie-the-Pooh”—and, as Eeyore said:

“It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine.”

May I wish you, Mr Speaker, a very happy birthday for Saturday?

Finally, may I leave the House with an uplifting and rather wise thought from “Winnie-the-Pooh”?

“If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2019, 10:38 a.m.

I thank the Leader of the House for her birthday wishes. I am looking forward to the occasion, although probably not quite as much as when I was about to be 15 rather than 56—but there you go.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jan 2019, 9:30 a.m.

My hon. Friend makes an interesting point. The present law excludes local council employees who hold a politically restricted post, as defined in the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, from standing in both parliamentary and local authority elections. He may like to raise the matter with Cabinet Office Ministers, perhaps in an Adjournment debate, so that he can seek further information.

Mr Speaker Hansard

I call Pete Wishart.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2019, 10:59 a.m.

Order. When the right hon. Member for Derby South (Margaret Beckett) served as Leader of the House, she was such a good Leader of the House and so popular and respected on both sides that I recall from 20 years ago that when we feared from press reports that her role as Leader of the House was at risk, the right hon. Members for New Forest West (Sir Desmond Swayne), for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) and for Buckingham (John Bercow) all sprang to our feet during business questions to insist that she must remain in her place.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jan 2019, 11 a.m.

I am grateful to the right hon. Member for Derby South (Margaret Beckett) for her suggestion. She will equally appreciate that when, under her Government, indicative voting was attempted on House of Lords reform, it did not come up with a clear solution—that is the other side of the argument. Nevertheless, I am grateful for her remarks and suggestions.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

May I say that I have the greatest regard for the hon. Lady? She raises very important issues in this place and she is right to do so. She is raising the issue of one of our colleagues who chose to come to the House to vote. The usual channels will all confirm, and indeed the Speaker confirmed yesterday, that a pair was offered. That is the normal arrangement for somebody who cannot be present. It was offered well in advance and that offer remains open to her. I myself am extremely concerned about the hon. Lady’s welfare and wish her all health and happiness with her new baby. I do personally wish that she would follow the advice of her doctors. I genuinely do not believe that any of her constituents would possibly require her to turn up here in a wheelchair when it was perfectly possible to have received what is the normal arrangement in this place for people with conditions—and there were others, with long-term health conditions, who were paired on that same day. I really do wish that she would accept that offer.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2019, 11:28 a.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for her question and the Leader of the House for what she has said. Of course, as we discovered last summer, it is possible for the credibility of the pairing system to be damaged, perhaps irreparably, when it is abused or dishonoured. Moreover, as hon. and right hon. Members are aware, the House has twice debated the matter of proxy voting in circumstances of baby leave, and on both occasions the will of the House in support of such a system was made clear. Therefore, it is imperative, following those two debates in February of last year and September of last year, that effect is given to the will of the House. It would of course be intolerable—literally intolerable—if, for example, a Whips Office, because of its own opposition to such a change, were to frustrate the will of the House. That simply cannot happen, and I very much doubt that Members will be tolerant of it for any length of time. The House has spoken and change must happen. It is a lamentable failure of leadership thus far that it has not done so.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jan 2019, 10:14 a.m.

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her comments, and I am listening very carefully. She will appreciate that what happens in this place is a matter for Members. A number of Members have raised with me the need for those with long-term illnesses, family emergencies and so on to be accommodated, but I have heard from other Members that that would not command the support of the House. I am seeking to provide a solution that can command the support of the House.

The hon. Member for Hampstead and Kilburn (Tulip Siddiq) was able to be nodded through. If it was a matter of having her vote recorded—[Interruption.] Members are shaking their heads. The usual channels agreed that she could come to this place at any moment on that day and be nodded through, to have her vote recorded. On this occasion, until we have finalised the way forward, that is my strong recommendation. I hope that the hon. Lady will take medical advice and not come into the House unnecessarily.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jan 2019, 10:14 a.m.

I am very sorry that the hon. Member for Livingston (Hannah Bardell) has had to raise this and that the Government Whips Office is blocking progress on this matter, but let us hope that some progress will be made before too long. [Interruption.] Well, that is the situation—that is the reality, and that is the evidence. It is very clear; there is no doubt about it.

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Points of Order
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Wednesday 16 January 2019

(1 year ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
16 Jan 2019, 12:52 p.m.

I was shocked to hear of that incident, and I concur entirely with everything that the right hon. Lady has said to the Chamber today, as I have done on a number of recent occasions. No one should be subjected to vile abuse of the kind that she has described. I hosted a meeting in Speaker’s House last week with the Commissioner of the Metropolitan police, and I referred to the fact of that meeting in the Chamber, I believe last Friday. I have written to the Commissioner, and I have received a very full and encouraging reply from Cressida Dick. I will not read it out to the House, but she, while quite properly explaining how seriously she and her officers take their responsibilities, went on to seek to assure me of an increased police presence and, to some degree, a changed mindset in terms of the importance of proactive measures. Quite why there were no police officers outside Portcullis House at the time I do not at this point know, but I intend to raise the matter, because it is absolutely vital that the aspiration to achieve security is realised, if at all possible, in every particular case. Does the Leader of the House want to come in on that?

Mr Speaker Hansard

No? Not at this stage.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Tuesday 15 January 2019

(1 year ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard

I am extraordinarily grateful, Mr Speaker—[Laughter.]

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

To be honest, I do not really mind whether the Leader of the House is grateful or not, but she has the chance.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard

Thank you for that clarification, Mr Speaker.

With permission, I should like to make a short business statement regarding the business for tomorrow and the remainder of this week.

Wednesday 16 January—The House will be asked to consider a motion of no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government under section 2(4) of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, in the name of the Leader of the Opposition.

Thursday 17 January—Debate on a motion on mental health first aid in the workplace, followed by a general debate on children’s social care in England. The subjects for these debates were determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

I shall make a further business statement in the usual way on Thursday.

Mr Speaker Hansard

I remind the House that the supplementary business statement is subject to questioning, but its terms are comparatively narrow, and I implore Members to recognise the implication and spirit of that fact.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard

Yes, subject to the agreement of the House.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

It would be useful to know the timings. Ordinarily, the Chair is approached about these matters, which is the sensible way to deal with them. We need to know the timings, and I hope that the right hon. Lady will either be able to advise now or confer with colleagues later in the evening, so that there is clarity on that matter and we will all be very satisfied.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard

I can confirm that your office, Mr Speaker, has the proposal for a business motion tomorrow that proposes that the debate take place over the whole day, until 7 pm.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

I am grateful.

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European Union (Withdrawal) Act
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Tuesday 15 January 2019

(1 year ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Attorney General
Mr Speaker Hansard
15 Jan 2019, 7:45 p.m.

I will come to the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Ian Blackford), but first, a point of order from the Leader of the House.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a short business statement regarding the business for tomorrow and the remainder of this week—

Mr Speaker Hansard
15 Jan 2019, 7:46 p.m.

I am extraordinarily grateful to the right hon. Lady. I accept that she cannot be psychic as to what I am thinking, and I cannot be psychic as to what she is thinking. The smooth and orderly way to proceed with this matter is to deal with points of order first and then to come to her statement, which would be entirely proper and doubtless helpful to the House.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

The answer in the first instance is that those are matters that can be aired in debate tomorrow. It is not right for me, tonight, to give a ruling on what the right hon. Lady or others should or should not do. She will be aware of the presentation of a Bill that took place in the name of another Member, who I believe also has views on these matters. Those matters will, I am sure, be discussed in the days ahead, not merely in private meetings but, I feel certain, on the Floor of the House. Of one thing I am sure: that which Members wish to debate and which they determine shall be subject to a vote will be debated and voted upon. That seems to me to be so blindingly obvious that no sensible person would disagree with the proposition. If MPs want to debate and vote on a matter, that opportunity will, I am sure, unfold in the period ahead.

If there are no further points of order, and I do not think that we need any, it is right for us to hear the supplementary business statement by the Leader of the House.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 10 January 2019

(1 year ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jan 2019, 11:21 a.m.

I absolutely reassure the hon. Lady that my advice was that the amendment selected yesterday would not be in order and would not be selectable. That is the advice I received, and I hope that is very clear. With regard to whether the Government will abide by the Grieve amendment, the Government will abide by the Grieve amendment, and I hope that is now entirely clear.

Mr Speaker Hansard
10 Jan 2019, 11:21 a.m.

Order. The responsibility for the selection of amendments—I say this not just for Members of the House but for those attending to our proceedings—is, of course, a matter for the Chair. It is a matter for the representative and champion of Parliament; it is not a matter for a representative of the Executive branch, who is the Executive’s representative in the Chamber of the House of Commons. I will do my job, and other people can seek to do theirs.

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Points of Order
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Wednesday 09 January 2019

(1 year ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
9 Jan 2019, 1:10 p.m.

No, for the very simple reason that the terms for today, specified by the Government Chief Whip, specify no debate. If the hon. Lady asks me whether there will be a debate, the honest answer is no, but that is not my fault.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Hansard

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. You will appreciate that there are Members around the House who have concerns about your decision today. I think it would be very helpful to the House if you could confirm that your decision was taken with the full advice and agreement of the Clerk of the House of Commons and, perhaps to help the House, you might agree to publish that advice so that the House can understand the reasons for your decision. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
9 Jan 2019, 1:11 p.m.

Order. Forgive me, colleagues, but I want to hear the right hon. Lady’s point of order. I heard the start of it, but I did not hear its continuation, so please let us hear it.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
9 Jan 2019, 1:11 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. As you will have heard today, there are some concerns about the decision you have taken in the context of the Business of the House motion. Could you therefore please confirm that your decision was taken with full advice from the Clerk of the House of Commons and other senior parliamentary advisers and whether, under these circumstances, you might consider publishing that advice?

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
9 Jan 2019, 1:13 p.m.

Order. I thank the Leader of the House for her point of order, and what I say to her is twofold. First, of course I consult the Clerk of the House and other senior Clerks, and I hear their advice. That advice is tendered to me privately, and that is absolutely proper, but it is also true that I had a written note from the Clerk of the House, from which I quoted in responding to an earlier point of order.

If the right hon. Lady is inquiring whether there is what she might consider to be, in governmental terms, full written advice, a paper or a written brief, or whatever, there is none such. I have just told her what the situation is, I quoted from what was provided to me by the Clerk of the House and I have given my ruling. That is the situation.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Jan 2019, 1:13 p.m.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. I am grateful for your reply. My question really is, did the Clerk of the House of Commons propose that your solution is acceptable, or did the Clerk advise against it?

Mr Speaker Hansard
9 Jan 2019, 1:14 p.m.

The answer is that I have discussed the matter with the Clerk of the House. [Hon. Members: “Ah!”] Order. The Clerk offered me advice, and we talked about the situation that faces the House today. At the end of our discussion, when I had concluded as I did, he undertook to advise me further in the treatment of this matter—that seems to me to be entirely proper. That is the situation, and I think that is what colleagues would expect.

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Speaker’s Statement
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Wednesday 19 December 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard

Thank you.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think that the country and this House will have drawn their own conclusions—[Interruption.] I deeply regret that the right hon. Gentleman has not seen fit to apologise to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.

Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Dec 2018, 12:59 p.m.

I thank the right hon. Lady for what she has said, which requires no comment from the Chair.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Dec 2018, 4:07 p.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for giving me notice of this matter. Responsibility for answering parliamentary questions lies with the departmental Ministers concerned. I certainly agree that it is unsatisfactory if Ministers do not respond to questions in the expected timescale, and to be so late in responding to a named day question would appear to be particularly unacceptable. Successive Leaders of the House have also accepted a responsibility to take up such tardiness of reply, or indeed non-reply, with departmental Ministers.

Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Dec 2018, 4:09 p.m.

I thank the Leader of the House for signalling from a sedentary position that she, too, does so and takes such matters seriously.

I would further suggest to the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Catherine West) that she write to the Chair of the Procedure Committee, the hon. Member for Broxbourne (Mr Walker), who is in our midst, as his Committee takes an active part in monitoring the timeliness of Government answers to parliamentary questions. Meanwhile, no doubt her concern has been noted on the Treasury Bench.

Lastly, I think, on the Opposition Benches I want to hear the point of order from the hon. Member for Huddersfield, who was first elected to the House 39 years, seven months and 16 days ago.

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Points of Order
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Wednesday 19 December 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Dec 2018, midnight

There can be no “further to that point of order” on that matter, for the simple reason—as the right hon. Gentleman acknowledges, with his nod of assent—that he has raised it with me, and I have responded to it.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Dec 2018, midnight

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Dec 2018, midnight

Is it on an unrelated matter?

Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Dec 2018, 12:48 p.m.

No. [Interruption.] I am not going to take lectures from Members. It is normal convention in this place and part of the conventions and courtesies of this House that when a matter has been addressed, we do not have repeat points of order on exactly the same—[Interruption.] Order. We do not have repeat points of order on exactly the same matter. [Interruption.] Order. I am perfectly prepared to take a point of order on the matter from the Leader of the House. We have heavy business today, some of which is Government statements, and with which we will in due course—preferably reasonably soon—need to proceed. I will happily take the right hon. Lady’s point of order.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would just like to ask, after your finding that individuals who are found to have made unwelcome remarks should apologise, why it is that when an Opposition Member found that you had called me a “stupid woman”, you did not apologise in this Chamber.

Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Dec 2018, 12:48 p.m.

No, no. [Interruption.] I will deal with the point. [Interruption.] I dealt with that matter months ago in remarks that I made to the House of Commons, to which the right hon. Lady in our various meetings since has made no reference, and which requires from the Chair today no elaboration whatsoever. She has asked the question. I dealt with it months ago. I have reiterated the rationale for the way in which I responded. The matter has been treated of, and I am leaving it there.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 13 December 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
13 Dec 2018, 10:39 a.m.

I am sure the House will not be sitting. The House decided.

The whole House will want to join me in thanking the police for their swift action following the incident in New Palace Yard earlier this week. We are enormously grateful for the work our police and security officers do to keep us all safe.

I am pleased to be able to spread some festive cheer to the House this morning, as the new edition of “Erskine May”, which is due to be published in 2019, will be publicly available on Parliament’s website, as well as on Parliament’s intranet and in hard copy, as normal. The first edition was published in the mid-19th century and new editions are published approximately every six or seven years, but this will be the first one publicly available online.

Finally, I encourage all hon. Members to visit the 209 Women exhibition on the first floor of Portcullis House, which begins tomorrow and will run until 14 February. It is being unveiled in time for the centenary of some women voting for the first time. I will be heading to the launch later to see the 209 photographs of female MPs, photographed by female photographers and curated by women. It is a fantastic way to round off the Vote 100 year.

Mr Speaker Hansard

It is very useful to have the fact of the prospective publication on the Parliament website of “Erskine May” advertised more widely, but there is nothing by way of news about it; I agreed to it, in consultation with Clerks, several months ago. It is very good that it is happening but there is absolutely nothing new about the fact of it.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
13 Dec 2018, 9:30 a.m.

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise this issue in the Chamber. If he would like to send me the details of his inquiry, I would be happy to take the matter up on his behalf.

Mr Speaker Hansard

I call Jess Phillips.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard

She has done, and that is absolutely proper. Thank you.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
13 Dec 2018, 11 a.m.

The hon. Lady will know that I am absolutely committed to changing the culture of this place and to seeing that everybody here is treated with dignity and respect. There has been a process that has been undertaken. It has been a decision by the Chief Whip. It is not something I have been privy to. But I absolutely assure all hon. and right hon. Members that the independent complaints procedure, which is not involved with any party political processes whatever, was established and designed to enable everybody who works in or visits this place to take any complaints that they have to an independent place for proper investigation and proper sanction to be applied.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
13 Dec 2018, 11:31 a.m.

I am delighted that the hon. Gentleman is delighted. I do not think Mr Speaker or I were sniffy.

On the hon. Gentleman’s main point on the meaningful vote, when hon. Members look at themselves in the mirror, they know full well that the country needs a decision to support a withdrawal agreement. We were looking at a decision not to support a meaningful vote. That is precisely why the Prime Minister decided that we would not go ahead with the vote—she was concerned that hon. Members would not support the withdrawal agreement. If he wants to come forward with a worked-out and negotiable alternative, that would be great, but the reality is that the Opposition have no alternatives to suggest. All they want to do is have a vote so that they can vote no. The Prime Minister, in the interests of the country, is trying to find a withdrawal agreement that the House will support.

Mr Speaker Hansard
13 Dec 2018, 11:32 a.m.

Naturally I reject the accusation that there was any sniffiness in my attitude. The Leader of the House can answer for herself and has already done so. My recollection is that the House was advised that “Erskine May” was already available to Members online. In so far as the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant), leading the charge for progressive change, was making the argument that it should be more widely available online, I am happy to accept that. If that burnishes the hon. Gentleman’s credentials as a champion of progressive change and brings some happiness into his heart, that is a double benefit.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I ask you, Mr Speaker, whether accusing me of blackmailing the House is parliamentary language.

Mr Speaker Hansard

Yes, nothing disorderly has occurred because, if there were a suspicion of disorderly behaviour, I feel sure that I would have been advised thus. I think that the essential point was of a political character. I do not think anybody is making any allegation that would, if you like, detract from the right hon. Lady’s honour or be an imputation of dishonesty, because I feel sure that senior Clerks would have advised me. I think the essential charge was a political one, to which I am sure the Leader of the House is capable of responding.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
13 Dec 2018, 11:34 a.m.

Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.

The hon. Lady will realise that—as I have just said to the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant)—had we gone ahead with the vote, the House would have been very unlikely to support the withdrawal agreement as it stood. She says that in not holding the vote we are running down the clock. The point is that the Prime Minister listened to the views of the House, and has now gone away urgently to seek changes which will mean that the House can support the agreement—in other words, so that she can put to the House something that it will support in the interests of the country. It is not in the interests of the United Kingdom for the House to have a vote on something that the House does not accept. That is what would create the uncertainty about which the hon. Lady is concerned.

Mr Speaker Hansard
13 Dec 2018, 11:36 a.m.

Order. It is an important point, colleagues, that was raised by the Leader of the House quizzically with me, and I have been confirmed in my sense that it was a metaphorical use of the term, and when I say I have been confirmed in that sense, I mean that I have been confirmed in that sense by professional advice of the highest order. So no impropriety has occurred. I have no objection to being asked whether there was an impropriety, but there was no impropriety at all.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Monday 10 December 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Hansard
10 Dec 2018, 6:22 p.m.

In the light of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s statement, I would like to make a short business statement confirming the business for the remainder of this week:

Tuesday 11 December—Consideration of Lords amendments to the Ivory Bill—[Interruption.] Followed by a general debate on fuel poverty.

Wednesday 12 December—Remaining stages of the Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill [Lords].

Thursday 13 December—General debate on the public health model to reduce youth violence. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
10 Dec 2018, 6:22 p.m.

Order. The hon. Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Lloyd Russell-Moyle) is burbling away from a sedentary position and has been doing so on a recurrent basis throughout the past couple of hours. He is displaying delinquent tendencies and I want him to curb them.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
10 Dec 2018, 6:23 p.m.

Friday 14 December—The House will not be sitting.

I will make a further business statement in the usual way on Thursday.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
10 Dec 2018, 6:28 p.m.

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her questions. She asks about the business on Tuesday 11 December. Consideration of Lords amendments to the Ivory Bill will be followed by a general debate on fuel poverty.

The hon. Lady asks about the business of the House motion. What I can say is that, in strict procedural terms, our intention this evening after the ministerial statements is to defer the debate until “tomorrow”. Members will be aware that this is a very common procedure. The Government often name “tomorrow” as the next date in deferring an order of the day—for example, we do this at the end of a Second Reading debate. It is then for the Government to decide when to bring that order back for debate. That is in line with the normal convention that the Government decide on the order of business.

The hon. Lady asks whether the House will still rise for Christmas on 20 December and return on 7 January. What I can say to her is that the House has agreed—that that recess is accepted. It is therefore a matter for the House. So the House will rise for Christmas as planned. She asks whether—[Interruption.] She asks whether there will be time for debate—[Interruption.] I can say to the hon. Lady—[Interruption.] Mr Speaker, would you like to call for order?

Mr Speaker Hansard

I cannot actually hear what the Leader of the House is saying. If she wants to repeat the last sentence, because it was not remotely audible to me—I am not suggesting that is her fault, but it simply was not heard. It is important that what is said in this Chamber is heard, so perhaps she would care to return to the Dispatch Box and repeat what it is she was saying.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
10 Dec 2018, 6:29 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Obviously, I will be dependent on you to keep order in the Chamber so that I can be heard—

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. I have no difficulty whatsoever doing that, and I will continue to do that. What I am asking the Leader of the House to do is to furnish the House with the information that was requested. I am inordinately grateful to her.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard

Thank you, Mr Speaker. The hon. Lady asked whether the House will rise for the Christmas recess as planned. What I said is that the House has already decided that it will rise for the Christmas recess on 20 December and return on 7 January.

The hon. Lady asks about time to debate Brexit. I can absolutely assure her, as she will know, that the Government have a very good record in making sure that the House has plenty of time to debate Brexit—[Interruption.] During the passage of the European (Withdrawal) Act 2018, both Houses played an essential role in scrutinising and improving the legislation, with 37 days of debate spanning 11 months, and with over 1,400 amendments debated and almost 280 hours given for time to debate. We have ensured that there are regular debates in Government time, including the two-day debate on European affairs in March and the debate on legislating for the withdrawal agreement in September, so I can assure all hon. and right hon. Members that the Government will make sure that there is plenty of time for further debates on Brexit, including on the meaningful vote—[Hon. Members: “When?] What I can say to the House is that the Government are under a statutory obligation under section 13(1)(b) of the EU withdrawal Act to have the withdrawal agreement approved by a motion in this House. In such circumstances, the business of the House motion agreed on 4 December will need to be updated through a further business motion.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Dec 2018, 6:45 p.m.

I repeat to the hon. Lady that any business of the House motion brought forward will be amendable.

Mr Speaker Hansard
10 Dec 2018, 6:45 p.m.

Order. I should say—and I am trying to help the House, but what others seek to do is a matter for them—that, so far as I am concerned, it is very clear that the amendment in the name of the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve) was agreed to by the House and that that amendment stands unless it is specifically repealed by a subsequent decision of the House. Unless I am mistaken—colleagues will correct me if I am wrong—that was the assurance that Members were seeking. I say on advice—and I do say so on advice —that it is a very straightforward point, the thrust of which I think I have pretty easily confirmed.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I certainly share the hon. Lady’s desire to see that Bill as soon as possible, and I can confirm that we expect to publish the White Paper before the end of the year. It is vital that we have an immigration system going forward that is fair to businesses that need to attract employees from overseas, but also fair to those people in the UK who voted for the UK Parliament to be able to control our borders.

Mr Speaker Hansard
10 Dec 2018, 6:48 p.m.

Order. May I gently say, and with good humour, to the hon. Member for Aberdeen North (Kirsty Blackman) and to the House that this is a relatively narrow business statement from the Leader of the House, and that the questioning on it should be similarly narrow or focused—focused, that is to say, on the business of the House for this week and changes thereto? It should not be an occasion for general inquiries about future business at some unspecified point in time. The Leader of the House signalled that there will be that regular business statement on Thursdays. I appeal to colleagues now to focus their inquiries on the more specific and narrow subject matter.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 06 December 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard

It is extraordinarily kind of the shadow Leader of the House to do that. Perhaps I may be permitted to wish her a happy birthday.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
6 Dec 2018, 10:47 a.m.

I also wish the hon. Lady a happy birthday. It is extraordinary. I remember this time last year we were also in business questions. Doesn’t time fly?

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her many points. Yes, the House will rise on 20 December and return on 7 January, and as the Home Secretary said yesterday in Home Office questions, the immigration White Paper will be published as soon as possible. It is being finalised and will be brought forward. It is obviously important to me, as the person responsible for bringing legislation through, that we get it through in good time.

On the Attorney General and the contempt procedure, I gently point out to the hon. Lady that I was saying that any parliamentarian who finds themselves in government would regret this—that was not in any sense threatening and I slightly personally resent that she is impugning that. I was making the point that it remains a fundamental constitutional convention that Law Officers’ advice should not be disclosed outside of Government. If we disclose that advice, it severely constrains future advice from being offered in a frank and open way. That was my point. I hope that she accepts that in no way was I attempting to threaten anyone; I was merely stating the facts. While the Government have absolutely complied with the demand of the House, there is a fundamental problem with the overlap between the constitutional convention of confidentiality of Law Officers’ advice and the perfectly legitimate expectation and will of the House, with which I have complied.

The hon. Lady asked about the Attorney General’s letter to Mr Speaker. My hon. Friends on the Front Bench have managed to establish that it was published on the gov.uk website on 4 December—hopefully that is helpful. She talked about the economic assessment of the draft agreement. Obviously, we will be discussing that during today’s debate and I hope that hon. Members will be able to pick that up.

I can absolutely confirm to the hon. Lady that, as I said at the start, I hope that all hon. Members will choose to support the deal that is on the table. It is the only deal on the table. On the matter of the local government settlement, we have local government questions on Monday, in which there will be an opportunity for Members to ask the Secretary of State about his plans.

The hon. Lady referred to the NHS 10-year plan. We all really look forward to seeing that. It is fantastic that this Government have made the biggest ever investment in our very precious national health service, and we all look forward to seeing some of the measures to create equality of mental health with physical health, more investment in identifying cancers early and better cancer outcomes for patients. There is so much that will be in that 10-year plan and we all look forward to seeing that. Finally, she asked about Education questions. I just point out to her that Education questions will be on Monday 17 December.

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Privilege (Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Advice)
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Tuesday 04 December 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has very clearly completed his speech. To move the amendment, I call the Leader of the House.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 1:01 p.m.

I beg to move amendment (a), leave out from “House” to the end and insert:

“refers to the Committee of Privileges the question of whether the Government’s response fulfils the motion passed on 13 November 2018 and requests the Committee to consider the constitutional and historic context and the proper use, ambit and scope of the motion for return procedure.”

I want to start by thanking my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for putting himself at the disposal of the House yesterday for over two hours, to provide information about the legal impact of the withdrawal agreement. He did so with his characteristic candour and integrity. The use of this motion has happened very rarely in the history of Parliament, and I do not think that any Member can be in any doubt that the information that the Attorney General provided yesterday was a very frank assessment of the legal position. The questions posed by Members on both sides of the House addressed the key issues we must all consider on the legal effects of the withdrawal agreement. My right hon. and learned Friend responded to all those questions in comprehensive fashion.

Alongside yesterday’s session of nearly two and a half hours, the Government have also provided a 48-page legal commentary that sets out the legal effect of each part of the withdrawal agreement. The information provided to the House is the detailed legal position on the withdrawal agreement and, as the Attorney General said to the House yesterday, he continues to be at the disposal of parliamentarians to answer further questions.

I would, therefore, in responding to the contempt motion before us today, urge the House to exercise caution in this matter. The issue at hand is not one of substantive content. As yesterday’s questioning illustrated, there is no real dispute as to the meaning and legal effect of the withdrawal agreement. The Attorney General could not have been clearer about the legal position yesterday. No hon. Member could say in all honesty that the Attorney General has done anything other than treat this House with the greatest respect. There can be no question that he, or the Government, has acted in a manner that is contemptuous of this House.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 1:10 p.m.

Again, my hon. Friend points out the problem, which is that the right hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras’s motion seeks that all the information be placed in the public domain without anyone on either side of the House having the ability to consider whether it is in the national interest to do so.

I want to turn now to the contempt motion itself. We recognise that concerns have been raised as to whether the Government’s response meets the terms and spirit of the motion agreed on 13 November. We consider that the spirit and intent of that motion have been fully complied with. As I said earlier, the Government have now provided a 48-page paper setting out the legal effect of the withdrawal agreement, and the Attorney General came to the House yesterday. Anyone present in the Chamber for his statement and his subsequent responses to questions can be in absolutely no doubt that the Attorney General gave a full—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 1:11 p.m.

Order. The Leader of the House must resume her seat momentarily. Mr Russell-Moyle, you are a very excitable denizen of the House. If you were on your feet, you would be entitled to express your views. When you are in your seat, you are not. I hope that that basic rubric is now clear to you and will require no further explanation.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 1:11 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Anyone present in the Chamber for the Attorney General’s statement and his subsequent responses to questions yesterday can be in absolutely no doubt that he gave a full and frank exposition of the legal position of the withdrawal agreement. I simply reject any suggestion that the Attorney General has done anything other than treat this House with the greatest respect.

Turning to process, the motion before the House today seeks to find the Government in contempt of Parliament, without having taken the important prior step of referring the matter to the Committee of Privileges, as is normally the case. This is a matter of due process. First, those facing this extremely serious charge of contempt should each be given the opportunity to make their case and to follow the due process of this House. They should be given the opportunity to explain how they have come to their decision about how best to balance the Government’s responsibilities to Parliament with their ministerial duties, including the need to consider the national interest. That opportunity is a vital element of any such procedure, and in this mother of all Parliaments, we are surely nothing if we do not uphold our own constitutional practices in the appropriate way.

The Privileges Committee will also want to consider the question of compliance with the motion in its full constitutional and historical context. The Government would strongly welcome the Committee having the opportunity to consider the more general scope of the motion for the Humble Address procedure, in particular as regards confidential information and the national interest. The Committee could consider these complex matters in a full and impartial way, away from the heat of the present debate and in fulfilment of its parliamentary duty as established by this House. I am grateful to the Chair of the Committee, the hon. Member for Stretford and Urmston (Kate Green), for the conversation that she and I had today in which she agreed that her Committee would be happy to consider that.

The members of the Committee are accustomed to the consideration of complex and contested issues. That is the very essence of their role. Although it would be for the House itself to reach a final determination on whether a contempt had been committed, it should do so on the basis of the full and impartial consideration of the facts by the Committee of Privileges. I therefore appeal to all hon. Members right across the House that if they seek to pass this motion, they should refer it to the Committee in line with our parliamentary procedures. I urge all hon. Members to support the Government’s amendment.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 5 p.m.

Before responding to the right hon. and learned Gentleman’s point of order, I will of course hear a point of order from the Leader of the House.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 5:01 p.m.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. We have tested the opinion of the House twice on this very serious subject. We have listened carefully, and in the light of the expressed will of the House, we will publish the final and full advice provided by the Attorney General to the Cabinet; but, recognising the serious constitutional issues that this raises, I have referred the matter to the Committee of Privileges so that it can consider the implications of the Humble Address.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 5:01 p.m.

It would seem to me to be unimaginable that it would not be, but of course I will hear from the Leader of the House.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. The Government will respond tomorrow.

Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 5:02 p.m.

I am extremely grateful to the Leader of the House for the clarity of that confirmation. I think that it has satisfied the curiosity of Members, and that we can leave it there.

Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 5:02 p.m.

I inform the House that I have selected amendments (e), (a), (b) and (c), in the name of the hon. Member for Eltham (Clive Efford), and amendment (d), in the name of the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve).

Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard

I beg to move,

That the following provisions shall have effect.

Sitting arrangements

(1) In this Order—

‘European Union withdrawal motion’ means a motion in the name of a Minister of the Crown under section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018; and

‘allotted day’ means a day on which the first Government business is the European Union withdrawal motion.

(2) The allotted days shall be Tuesday 4 December, Wednesday 5 December, Thursday 6 December, Monday 10 December and Tuesday 11 December.

(3) On this day, proceedings on the European Union withdrawal motion may be proceeded with for up to eight hours from the commencement of proceedings on the Business of the House (Section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018) motion.

(4) On the second, third and fourth allotted days, proceedings on the European Union withdrawal motion may be proceeded with for up to eight hours from the commencement of proceedings on the European Union withdrawal motion.

Decisions on any amendments

(5) No amendment to the European Union withdrawal motion may be selected before the final allotted day.

(6) In respect of the European Union withdrawal motion, the Speaker may select up to six amendments of which notice has been given.

(7) If, on the final allotted day, an amendment to the European Union withdrawal motion has been disposed of at or after the moment of interruption, any further amendments selected by the Speaker in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 6 of this Order may be moved, and the questions thereon shall be put forthwith.

(8) Questions under this Order may be put after the moment of interruption; and Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions) shall not apply.

General

(9) No motion to vary or supplement the provisions of this Order shall be made except by a Minister of the Crown; and the question on any such motion shall be put forthwith.

(10) On an allotted day—

(a) no Emergency Debate shall be taken in accordance with Standing Order No. 24; (b) no dilatory motion shall be made in relation to the proceedings on the European Union withdrawal motion except by a Minister of the Crown; and the question on any such motion shall be put forthwith;

(b) no dilatory motion shall be made in relation to the proceedings on the European Union withdrawal motion except by a Minister of the Crown; and the question on any such motion shall be put forthwith;

(c) no motion shall be proposed under Standing Order No. 36 (Closure of debate) except by a Minister of the Crown; and

(d) no motion shall be proposed that the question be not now put.

I intend to speak only briefly so as not to detain the House before the historic debate that is ahead of us. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 5:03 p.m.

Order. I apologise for interrupting the Leader of the House, who is absolutely ready to proceed, and I know that she has indicated that she wants to speak only briefly in the interests of facilitating the House, but I think it would be a courtesy to her if Members who are leaving the Chamber were to do so quickly and quietly. I espy a couple of Members engaged in animated conversation, which I am sure is of enormous and consuming interest to the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Stephen Twigg) and the right hon. Member for Enfield North (Joan Ryan), but that conversation could usefully be conducted elsewhere. I am playing for time here and trying to hush the House up so that Leader of the House is accorded the respectful hearing that she should have.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 5:04 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

I believe that the Prime Minister’s negotiation delivers on the Brexit priorities for which this country voted. The debate and the vote ahead of us are the next crucial steps that we must take to ensure that we deliver on the whole referendum and in the best interests of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister’s proposal delivers on everything that those who voted to leave the European Union were looking for: we are taking back control of our borders, our laws and our money; we are leaving the common agricultural policy and the common fisheries policy; and, importantly, the United Kingdom will be able to undertake free trade agreements with the rest of the world, which in many places is growing far faster than economies in the EU. At the same time, the Prime Minister’s proposal seeks to ensure that we continue with a deep and special relationship with our EU friends and neighbours not only for economic trade but also in security and other areas that are of great value to all our nations.

This has been a challenging journey and compromises have had to be made on all sides. However, two things are certain: first, that the Prime Minister’s deal is the only deal on the table; and, secondly, that it means we will leave the EU on 29 March 2019.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 5:05 p.m.

I think that the Leader of the House is providing the context for what she intends to say. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Melanie Onn) is in an animated state and is expressing through wild gesticulation her dissatisfaction with that state of affairs, but I think a modest forbearance would be seemly.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 5:07 p.m.

I am grateful to you, Mr Speaker, for allowing me to set the context; we should, perhaps, think of this as an introduction.

I believe that the withdrawal agreement and political declaration offer the route to a good future relationship with our European friends and neighbours, and therefore I believe we must support the deal and continue our efforts to deliver on the will of the people of the United Kingdom.

Before my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister opens the meaningful vote debate itself, this motion seeks first to set the framework within which that debate will take place. The Government have listened carefully to views right across the House on how best to govern the arrangements for the debate on the withdrawal agreement and the future framework, and I am grateful to colleagues on all sides for the collaborative discussions that have taken place in advance of tabling the motion on the Order Paper today.

I am also very grateful for the contributions of the Select Committees, whose views and recommendations have been insightful. I pay particular tribute to the Exiting the European Union Committee chaired by the right hon. Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn) and the Procedure Committee chaired by my hon. Friend the Member for Broxbourne (Mr Walker) on the procedure in the House that ought to apply to this unique debate.

The Government have carefully considered the Procedure Committee’s recommendations in bringing forward today’s business of the House motion. I hope that the House agrees that the motion on the Order Paper today is reflective of the vast majority of recommendations in that report. The parameters for the debate will enable what the Committee itself called a momentous decision for Parliament and the country. It is vital that we make sure the substantive issues are properly debated so that Members of the House can take an informed decision in the national interest.

On the amendments of the hon. Member for Eltham (Clive Efford), I gently say that the motion in the Prime Minister’s name as tabled provides for a full five days of debate, as recommended by the Exiting the European Union Committee and the Procedure Committee, following their consultations and evidence taken across the House on what provision should best govern proceedings.

The timeframe being provided strikes the optimal balance between ensuring full and proper scrutiny and debate on such an important decision and vote and allowing the time for the legislation that will give effect to that decision to pass through Parliament by 29 March 2019. The Government have been determined to make sure the House is able to carry out full scrutiny and play its essential role as we move towards leaving the EU, and the motion tabled reflects that.

Should the House agree to the business of the House motion today, the five days of debate ahead of us will build on the many important opportunities the House has had to consider EU exit so far. We have had 37 days of debate as Parliament agreed the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. There have been regular statements and opportunities to question Ministers, including more than 10 hours at the Dispatch Box by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in the last 12 sitting days alone. Committees of the House are carrying out invaluable scrutiny, and the Government have scheduled a number of valuable general debates, including the debate on legislating for the withdrawal agreement that took place on 10 September.

The amendment tabled by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve) and others would have the effect of making any future motions tabled under section 13 of the EU Withdrawal Act amendable under House procedures. I recognise the desire of hon. Members to ensure that their views are fully expressed if the vote on the deal does not pass. However, I encourage Members at this stage to focus on the matter at hand. I gentlysuggest that now is not the time to pre-empt whether or not further motions under section 13 may be required. As such, I encourage Members not to press that amendment to a vote.

I hope that all hon. Members will agree the motion before us. If we can do so quickly, we can move on to the vital debate that precedes the meaningful vote itself, which will take place next week on 11 December. I commend the motion to the House.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 29 November 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I completely agree with my right hon. Friend that this is a terrible condition that is affecting growing numbers of people and, as he rightly points out, growing numbers of children. My own husband suffers from diabetes, and we know the Prime Minister suffers from it. Many people live with it on a day-to-day basis and it is a very, very serious problem for them. I would certainly welcome such a debate, and he might well like to seek a Westminster Hall debate in the near future so that all colleagues can discuss the condition.

Mr Speaker Hansard
29 Nov 2018, 11:32 a.m.

I take this opportunity to acknowledge that the right hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Sir John Hayes) is now not merely a man of Lincolnshire; he is a knight of Lincolnshire. Try as I do, I can scarcely keep up with his status and achievements.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 22 November 2018

(1 year, 2 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
22 Nov 2018, 11:04 a.m.

My hon. Friend raises a matter that is of great significance at the present time to the House. What I can say to him is that the Government’s goal is to secure certainty and clarity for the public after two years of negotiations. I have seen the Procedure Committee report and the Government are considering its recommendations carefully, although it will be for Parliament to debate and determine the procedure that will apply for the vote.

Mr Speaker Hansard

That is absolutely true. It is also true, of course, that the Government have made clear their commitment to an amendable motion. The Leader of the House has said that a number of times in the Chamber and the point has been made by the Prime Minister as well. I know there has been no movement from that position at all. An amendable motion will be put to the House. I think it is important to be clear about that.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
22 Nov 2018, 11:19 a.m.

As I have said in response to a number of questions on the Procedure Committee’s report, I have seen it and I have looked at it very carefully. The Government are considering its recommendations. It will be for Parliament to decide—to debate and determine the procedure that will apply to the vote, including the number of amendments that can be voted on. But as the Procedure Committee report sets out, amendments threaten an orderly ratification, and that risks creating huge uncertainty for business, consumers and citizens.

Mr Speaker Hansard
22 Nov 2018, 11:20 a.m.

The Government have already promised an amendable motion and the Leader of the House has herself done so on the Floor of the House. I hope that the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Helen Goodman) is at least reassured by that. There will be further discussion of these important matters, as the Leader of the House has said, but I hope the hon. Lady is reassured by that fact, of which there is evidence in the Official Report.

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EU Exit Negotiations
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 15 November 2018

(1 year, 2 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Hansard

Clarification—I advise the hon. Gentleman in terms that brook no contradiction or misunderstanding —is contained within the terms of his own inquiry. As he just emphasised, statements were made earlier during the course of exchanges. Because those statements were made, they will be recorded in the Official Report. Therefore, all people need to do is study the Official Report, including to establish what was and what was not said by the hon. Gentleman. I hope that that is helpful to him and that he will now go about his business with an additional glint in his eye and a spring in his step for the rest of the day. Very good.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard
15 Nov 2018, 1:33 p.m.

I would like to announce that the business for next week will be:

Monday 19 November—Consideration in Committee of the Finance (No. 3) Bill (day 1).

Tuesday 20 November—Continuation of consideration in Committee of the Finance (No. 3) Bill (day 2).

Wednesday 21 November—Second Reading of the Fisheries Bill.

Thursday 22 November—General debate on the armed forces covenant.

Friday 23 November—Private Members’ Bills.

The provisional business for the week commencing 26 November will include:

Monday 26 November—Second Reading of the Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill [Lords].

The House is rightly focused on the important decisions that lie ahead of us with regard to leaving the EU, but we also continue to fulfil the many other vital aspects of our parliamentary roles, so I was delighted, along with you, Mr Speaker, to welcome the Youth Parliament to the Chamber last week and to hear of the significant issues that its members wanted to debate, such as mental health and serious violence.

Also last week, we had the first ever Women MPs of the World Conference in this Chamber, demonstrating our commitment to global outreach and promoting our democratic values. This week is Parliament Week—a chance for hundreds of schools and civic organisations to take part in and promote democratic engagement.

Finally, along with the Prime Minister, you, Mr Speaker, and others, the Leader of the Lords and I look forward to presenting a Humble Address to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales later today on the event of his 70th birthday.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 01 November 2018

(1 year, 2 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard
1 Nov 2018, 11:19 a.m.

The business for next week will be:

Monday 5 November—A general debate on the Dame Laura Cox report on the bullying and harassment of House of Commons staff, followed by a general debate on road safety.

Tuesday 6 November—A general debate on the centenary of the armistice.

The business for the week commencing 12 November will include:

Monday 12 November—Second Reading of the Finance (No. 3) Bill.

Tuesday 13 November—Opposition day (18th allotted day). There will be a debate on an Opposition motion, subject to be announced.

Wednesday 14 November—A debate on an Humble Address relating to the Prince of Wales’s 70th birthday, followed by Second Reading of the Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill.

Thursday 15 November—A general debate on the veterans strategy.

Friday 16 November—The House will not be sitting.

Today marks the start of Men’s Health Awareness Month, which is an opportunity to raise awareness of the health—including mental health—issues that affect men, including suicide. In the UK, men remain three times as likely to take their own lives as women, and I wish good luck to everyone taking part in events this month.

During the short recess, I will be taking part in two events here in Parliament: the annual Youth Parliament debate in the Chamber; and the international women MPs’ conference, where female parliamentarians from around the world will come together to mark the centenary of some women winning the right to vote in the UK. Next week will also see Hindus celebrate the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. I am sure the whole House will join me in wishing all those celebrating the festival of light a very happy Diwali.

Before the next business question, we will have commemorated the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day. Many will attend services of remembrance throughout the country to honour the great sacrifice made by so many men and women during the war. Following discussions with your office, Mr Speaker, I advise all Members that on Tuesday 6 November, the House’s sitting will be suspended from 1.45 pm to 3.15 pm, so that Members can attend the remembrance service in St Margaret’s church. Wherever we are on the 11th day at the 11th hour, we will remember them.

Mr Speaker Hansard
1 Nov 2018, 11:21 a.m.

I am grateful to the Leader of the House for what she said about the upcoming session of the UK Youth Parliament on 9 November. I am delighted that she will be here and I believe that the shadow Leader of the House will be here, too. I look forward to chairing those proceedings for the 10th successive year. The Youth Parliament is a huge credit to the young people of this country, and I hope that if Members happen to be available, they might be willing to pop in and demonstrate their support for the future of our democracy and of our country.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
1 Nov 2018, 11:28 a.m.

What the shadow Leader of the House says about Lewis Hamilton is absolutely right and should be trumpeted from the rooftops, but we should also congratulate Roger Federer on winning the Swiss indoors tournament for the ninth time—his 99th career title. I was there to see him in Basel and it was pretty spectacular stuff.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
1 Nov 2018, 11:28 a.m.

Of course, Mr Speaker, we all love tennis, but I have to say that Lewis Hamilton is part of a Brackley-based team in my constituency, so I am delighted to join the hon. Lady in congratulating the team on that amazing triumph.

I also join the hon. Lady in sending our condolences to the families of all those who perished in Pittsburgh. It really was the most appalling attack, and it should be the case that those who pray and worship should be able to do so in freedom and safety. I also join her in giving our condolences to the families of all those who died in, and were affected by, the appalling helicopter crash at Leicester football ground. That was a real tragedy and one that I know moved many people, not least my own apprentice, who was at that match and very deeply affected by it. The hon. Lady was right to raise those issues.

The hon. Lady asked about the Easter recess and asked me to confirm that we will have our February recess. We will have our February recess. I can confirm that we will have the short recess from 6 November to 12 November; that we will rise for the Christmas recess on 20 December, returning on 7 January; and that we will rise at close of business on Thursday 14 February, returning on Monday 25 February. Further recess dates will be announced in the usual way. I would just gently say that I was moved to look back through time and I discovered that in 2010—the last year of the Labour Government—the Easter recess date was announced on 18 March 2010, just 12 days before the start of that recess. I sincerely hope to be able to improve significantly on that performance by the hon. Lady’s Government.

The hon. Lady raised the question of the no-deal scenario for EU citizens. To be clear, the Government have confirmed that

“in the unlikely event of not reaching a deal with the EU the UK will honour its commitment to all EU citizens, and their family members, resident by 29 March 2019 that they will be able to remain in the UK.”

The hon. Lady also asked about what was said in the Home Affairs Committee. I can simply confirm that employers already need to carry out right-to-work checks on EU citizens and that will not change. EU citizens need to provide their passport or ID card.

The hon. Lady asked about the comments of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. As all hon. Members know, the Prime Minister has said that we are 90% to 95% of the way there in negotiating what is a very complicated trading arrangement for the future, as well as withdrawal arrangements for the UK as we leave the European Union. There are still some significant questions to be answered and we are working at pace to achieve those answers. My right hon. Friend will update the House as soon as possible.

The hon. Lady asked about international trade. Questions to the Department for International Trade will take place on 15 November, so I hope that she will be able to direct her questions to Ministers then.

As the hon. Lady mentioned, I think that we will all be delighted to hear the debates of the Youth Parliament in this place. The young people will be very welcome and I look forward to speaking to some of them myself—they are the future.

I share the hon. Lady’s happiness at the progress of some private Members’ Bills, and I am glad she is pleased that the Government have been able to help the progress of some of them. I commend all hon. Members who brought forward their private Members’ Bills last week and assure the House that I intend to bring forward further PMB dates very soon.

With regards to justice and the hon. Lady’s concerns about the budget for legal aid, a debate in Westminster Hall at 2 pm today will provide an opportunity for Members to ask questions. With regard to the Budget response on education, questions will take place on 12 November, and I hope that hon. Members will attend.

I want to finish on a slightly upbeat note. At the Budget, the Chancellor was able to inform the House that unemployment is at its lowest rate since the 1970s; that youth unemployment is at a new record low; that the number of children living in workless households is at a record low; that real wages are rising; that the gender pay gap is at a record low; that the share of jobs on low hourly pay is at a record low; that our economy is continuing to grow; and that borrowing this year is at its lowest level for 16 years. These are real things, being delivered by a Conservative Government, that the whole House should share in enjoying, promoting and supporting during the Budget votes later today.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 25 October 2018

(1 year, 2 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I congratulate Amanda on a fantastic achievement and wish her great success with the event. My hon. Friend is right to highlight our gratitude for the work of volunteers, fundraisers and campaigners and some of the things that make us one of the most generous countries in the world. Through the Government’s “Challenge on Dementia 2020”, we are working towards a society in which every person with dementia receives high-quality, compassionate care from diagnosis through to end of life. My parliamentary office staff and I have all undertaken dementia-friendly training in the past couple of weeks, and I recommend it to all hon. Members. It really is a fantastic way for all of us to be more attuned to the needs of those with dementia and their carers.

Mr Speaker Hansard
25 Oct 2018, 11:22 a.m.

I endorse that call. My own office undertook that training over a year ago—I cannot remember exactly when, but it was well over a year ago—and it is a very good training programme and well worth enjoying—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) does not need to be frivolous about it; it is in fact a serious point.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
25 Oct 2018, 11:25 a.m.

MP4 are a great band and, as the hon. Gentleman will recall, they have performed in my constituency—I have very fond memories of that experience. The band have been in Speaker’s House before, and I am keen that they should come again and again.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
25 Oct 2018, 11:25 a.m.

Mr Speaker, I completely share your enthusiasm for MP4. The hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) might want to think about a cover version of a well-known song: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. I will leave that thought with him.

I pay tribute to the hon. Gentleman: his personal involvement in the establishment of the complaints procedure and his absolute commitment to stamping out bullying and harassment wherever we see it are completely united with those of the entire working group. This was a fantastic piece of cross-party work, and there can be no doubt that all hon. and right hon. Members want to see change in this place.

The hon. Gentleman raises some interesting suggestions, and I have a lot of sympathy for what he says. I am therefore delighted to provide a debate on Monday 5 November so that we can hear from all hon. Members about the changes they want to see. I would prefer to see structural changes, rather than superficial changes to titles—perhaps something a little more deep and meaningful. I hope that on that Monday we will also be able to discuss what structural changes could be made.

The hon. Gentleman mentions the Scottish Parliament and further devolution. Of course funding for the Scottish Government, the block grant, will have grown to more than £31 billion by 2020, a real-terms increase over the current spending review period. It is for the Scottish Government to make some of their own decisions, rather than just looking to the UK Parliament to resolve those issues for them.

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Bullying and Harassment: Cox Report
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Tuesday 16 October 2018

(1 year, 3 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
16 Oct 2018, 2:36 p.m.

Before the Leader of the House responds, I want to say one thing. It was important that the hon. Lady was heard fully, but everybody in this place is honourable, and I am certainly not suggesting that the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend East (James Duddridge) is not an honourable Member. He has put his view, about which I have made no complaint, the hon. Lady has put her view, and the Leader of the House will respond.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
16 Oct 2018, 2:36 p.m.

I think my response is, “Let’s all treat each other with dignity and respect,” but if the hon. Lady knows of 12 people who are walking around abusing people, she should report them. There is now somewhere to report them to, and she should do so.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 11 October 2018

(1 year, 3 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I am sure that my right hon. Friend and I would agree about the need to deliver more new homes so that people are able to have a home of their own, but it is also important to be clear that local authorities would have to show that they have exhausted all other reasonable options, including brownfield and joint projects with neighbouring authorities, before they could tackle the green belt. He is right to prioritise protections for parks, and I am sure that he will find an opportunity, perhaps at next week’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs questions, to raise the issue directly with Ministers.

Mr Speaker Hansard

I very much hope that the right hon. Gentleman enjoyed his answer from the Leader of the House as much as I enjoyed both question and answer.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
11 Oct 2018, 11:45 a.m.

As my hon. Friend knows, our absolute priority is to secure a basis for political talks and to re-establish at the earliest possible opportunity a locally elected, democratically accountable devolved Government who work for everyone in Northern Ireland. As he says, a Bill to facilitate certain decision making in Northern Ireland is under consideration. It will be published shortly, and there will of course be ample opportunity for the House to consider it.

Mr Speaker Hansard
11 Oct 2018, 11:45 a.m.

I call the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee, Mr Ian Mearns.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
11 Oct 2018, 12:12 p.m.

He is a great British sporting hero—I remember him from my childhood. If I may be permitted, let me say from the Chair: what a splendid inquiry.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
11 Oct 2018, 12:13 p.m.

I must agree with you, Mr Speaker. I must also tell the hon. Gentleman that he will have made my son’s day, because he is a big fan of Tony Jacklin and the Ryder cup. The hon. Gentleman is right to point out that this year’s was something of a triumph, and we were all glued to our screens. He raises an important point and I recommend that he puts Tony Jacklin forward for an award—I am sure many Members from across the House might provide letters of support.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 13 September 2018

(1 year, 4 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
13 Sep 2018, 12:20 p.m.

I think that all hon. and right hon. Members will share my right hon. Friend’s desire to see beauty in the built environment, and I encourage him to continue with his campaign to ensure that the planning system properly allows for the kind of beautiful architecture that we all want to see.

Mr Speaker Hansard

And with his eloquence in expressing it, indeed.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
13 Sep 2018, 12:20 p.m.

I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Lady for raising this issue. A number of Members on both sides of the House have also raised it with me. It is utterly appalling that someone can attack a serving Member of Parliament through their children or their parents, or even through their partner or their best friend. It is absolutely unacceptable, and we have to join together in condemning it wherever it happens. I am certainly very sympathetic to her suggestion, and I am sure that you will be too, Mr Speaker.

I can tell the right hon. and learned Lady that the Government launched a consultation on 29 July on a new electoral offence which aims to crack down on threats and abuse towards those standing for election. We need to change the way in which the public perceive those who stand for public office, not least because we want to encourage more good—and, particularly, young—people from all walks of life who want to take part in our public life. How can they possibly be attracted to it when this kind of appalling behaviour goes unchecked?

Mr Speaker Hansard
13 Sep 2018, 12:20 p.m.

Thank you. It is of course for the House to decide how to proceed, but in response to what the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman) and the Leader of the House have said, let me also underline that as far as I am concerned, that behaviour was despicable and intolerable. If the people who perpetrated it do not know that, I am afraid that tells us all we need to know about them. This simply cannot persist.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 06 September 2018

(1 year, 4 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

The hon. Gentleman raises an incredibly important point. There is obviously a discussion to be had about the burden that that might place on smaller businesses, but, at the same time, we have to do everything possible to tackle the problem of obesity in this country. I am personally very sympathetic to him. I encourage him to seek a Back-Bench debate on the subject so that all hon. Members can share their views.

Mr Speaker Hansard
6 Sep 2018, 11:45 a.m.

I call Paula Sherriff.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
6 Sep 2018, 11:46 a.m.

It is a splendid exhibition—absolutely first-class. I am sure that the Leader of the House would concur with that.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
6 Sep 2018, 11:47 a.m.

I think, Mr Speaker, that you were trying to earn the hon. Lady’s suggestion that you are extremely kind. I absolutely agree with her that that exhibition is excellent. I encourage all Members to have a look if they have not already done so, and of course to encourage their constituents who can come here to come and see it for themselves. Her suggestion of moving it around the country is a good one. She is absolutely right; it is extremely large, and definitely not for most village halls. However, I can certainly take this away and look at it.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 19 July 2018

(1 year, 6 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Jul 2018, 11:29 a.m.

He certainly must beehive himself, at all times.

Let me say again to the hon. Member for Gateshead (Ian Mearns) that I look forward to visiting the great exhibition of the north. I think that he will have received my letter informing him that I shall be in his constituency next week and that I look forward to it very much.

Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Jul 2018, 11:29 a.m.

The Leader of the House will be pleased to know that she is right: the list of future business publicly declared has not yet caught up with reality, as both the advice of the Clerks and the enthusiastic nodding of the officials’ heads alike testify.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Jul 2018, 11:32 a.m.

There is no point of order now.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Jul 2018, 11:32 a.m.

The words of the hon. Member for Ilford North (Wes Streeting) stand for themselves; it is absolutely abhorrent for him to be calling me out in particular when I came to the Dispatch Box yesterday with exactly the regret and sorrow he is now falsely calling for. It is a deep regret to me that that breaking of the pair happened in error. I assured the House yesterday that it was an error that the Chief Whip and the Minister without Portfolio, my right hon. Friend the Member for Great Yarmouth (Brandon Lewis), had both apologised for.

I can tell the hon. Gentleman that there were three pairs on Tuesday. I myself was one of them; I did not receive any call from anyone telling me to vote. I hope the hon. Gentleman will accept that, because he is calling me something that is not acceptable parliamentary language. I have made absolutely clear my personal commitment to resolving this issue so that new parents can spend time with their new babies uninterrupted. What happened was an error that has been copiously and profusely apologised for, and the hon. Gentleman should be ashamed of himself.

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Proxy Voting
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Wednesday 18 July 2018

(1 year, 6 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
18 Jul 2018, 2 p.m.

As I have said, I will bring forward this debate at the earliest opportunity. I absolutely agree that we need to resolve this issue, but I gently say to the hon. Gentleman again, as I often do, that he has a perfect opportunity in the Lobby to come and talk to Government Ministers and to promote how he wants to improve the plight of Scotland. All he has to do is join us in our Lobby to be able to do that.

Mr Speaker Hansard

I think I can say in a non-partisan spirit that the Leader of the House is an optimist.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

The hon. Gentleman is often in this place when I am, and I completely agree with him that we need to continue to listen to people. We need to show people the utmost respect, which I certainly always try to do, and I know that he does, too. My colleagues on the Whips’ Bench are delighted to hear that he considers them to be his friends. I am always very grateful to hear his thoughts on these issues.

Mr Speaker Hansard

Well, they will be pleased to know they have some.

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Business of the House (Today)
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Monday 16 July 2018

(1 year, 6 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Hansard
16 Jul 2018, 10:50 p.m.

I beg to move,

That, at this day’s sitting, notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order No. 16 (Proceedings under an Act or on European Union documents), the Speaker shall put the Questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on the Motions in the name of Andrea Leadsom relating to European Statutory Instruments Committee, Liaison Committee, Positions for which additional salaries are payable for the purposes of section 4A(2) of the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009 and Presentation of documents under paragraph 3(3)(b) or 17(3)(b) of schedule 7 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 not later than one hour after the commencement of proceedings on the motion for this Order; such questions shall include the questions on any amendments selected by the Speaker which may then be moved; proceedings may continue, though opposed, after the moment of interruption; and Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions) shall not apply.

I first put on record my sincere thanks to my hon. Friend the Member for Broxbourne (Mr Walker) and to the Procedure Committee for their careful consideration of the best way to ensure effective scrutiny of Brexit delegated legislation. There has never been a more crucial time for secondary legislation, and the Government are committed to providing the maximum consideration of it to enable our smooth exit from the EU.

The Procedure Committee’s report sets out detailed proposals to ensure the effective scrutiny of delegated legislation under—

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. The Clerk has swivelled round to advise me. I do not wish to be unkind or unhelpful to the Leader of the House, but I think that she has slightly jumped the gun in that she has got on to the substantive matter, which in fact we have not yet reached. I think that at this stage we just need to have the verdict of the House on the business of the House motion. I think I have interpreted the Clerk correctly. We will come back to the Leader of the House and she will continue her oration momentarily.

Question put and agreed to.

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European Statutory Instruments Committee
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Monday 16 July 2018

(1 year, 6 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
16 Jul 2018, 10:52 p.m.

With the permission of the House, motions 3 to 6 will be taken together. The debate may therefore range over all four motions. Moreover, I inform the House that I have selected amendment (a), in the name of the right hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mrs Miller), to motion 3. I call the Leader of the House to move motion 3, remembering that of course all these motions are being debated together and therefore she can offer us her thoughts on any or all of them, or any combination.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
16 Jul 2018, 10:54 p.m.

Thank you Mr Speaker—take 2. I beg to move,

That the following Standing Order shall have effect for the remainder of this Parliament:—

(1) There shall be a select committee, called the European Statutory Instruments Committee, to examine and report on—

(i) any of the following documents laid before the House of Commons in accordance with paragraph 3(3)(b) or 17(3)(b) of Schedule 7 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018—

(a) a draft of an instrument; and

(b) a memorandum setting out both a statement made by a Minister of the Crown to the effect that in the Minister’s opinion the instrument should be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament (the negative procedure) and the reasons for that opinion, and

(ii) any matter arising from its consideration of such documents.

(2) In its consideration of a document referred to in paragraph 1(i) the committee shall include, in addition to such other matters as it deems appropriate, whether the draft instrument—

(i) contains any provision of the type specified in paragraph 1(2) or 10(2) of Schedule 7 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 in relation to which the Act requires that a draft of the instrument must be laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament (the affirmative procedure);

(ii) otherwise appears to make an inappropriate use of the negative procedure; and shall report to the House its recommendation of the procedure which should apply.

(3) The committee shall have regard to the reasons offered by the Minister in support of the Minister’s opinion that the instrument should be subject to the negative procedure.

(4) Before reporting on any document, the committee shall provide to the government department concerned an opportunity to provide orally or in writing to it or any subcommittee appointed by it such further explanations as the committee may require except to the extent that the committee considers that it is not reasonably practicable to do so within the period provided by the Act.

(5) It shall be an instruction to the committee that it shall report any recommendation that the affirmative procedure should apply within the period specified by the Act.

(6) The committee shall consist of sixteen Members.

(7) The committee and any sub-committees appointed by it shall have the assistance of the Counsel to the Speaker.

(8) The committee shall have power to appoint specialist advisers either to supply information which is not readily available or to elucidate matters of complexity within the committee’s order of reference.

(9) The committee shall have power to send for persons, papers and records, to sit notwithstanding any adjournment of the House, to adjourn from place to place, and to report from time to time.

(10) The committee shall have power to appoint sub-committees and to refer to such subcommittees any of the matters referred to the committee.

(11) Each such sub-committee shall have power to send for persons, papers and records, to sit notwithstanding any adjournment of the House, to adjourn from place to place, and to report to the committee from time to time.

(12) The committee shall have power to report from time to time the evidence taken before such sub-committees, and the formal minutes of sub-committees.

(13) The quorum of each such sub-committee shall be two.

(14) The committee shall have power to seek from any committee of the House, including any committee appointed to meet with a committee of the Lords as a joint committee, its opinion on any document within its remit, and to require a reply to such a request within such time as it may specify.

(15) Unless the House otherwise orders each Member nominated to the committee shall continue to be a member of it for the remainder of the Parliament, or until this Standing Order lapses, whichever occurs sooner.

(16) This Standing Order, to the extent that it relates to a regulation-making power provided to the Government under sections 8, 9 or 23(1) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, shall lapse upon the expiry of the power to make new regulations under those sections and shall lapse entirely upon expiry of the last such remaining power.

Mr Speaker Hansard

With this we shall consider the following:

Motion 4—Liaison Committee—

That the Order of the House of 6 November 2017 (Liaison Committee: Membership) be amended, in the second paragraph, by inserting, in the appropriate place, “European Statutory Instruments”.

Motion 5—Additional Salaries—

That the Order of the House of 19 March 2013 (Positions for which additional salaries are payable for the purposes of section 4A(2) of the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009) be amended, in paragraph (1)(a), by inserting, in the appropriate place, “the European Statutory Instruments Committee”.

Motion 6— European Union Withdrawal (Documents)—

That where, under Paragraph 3(3)(b) or 17(3)(b) of Schedule 7 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, any document is to be laid before this House, the delivery of a copy of the document to the Votes and Proceedings Office on any day during the existence of a Parliament shall be deemed to be for all purposes the laying of it before the House; and the proviso to Standing Order No. 159 shall not apply to any document laid in accordance with this Order.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
16 Jul 2018, 10:53 p.m.

I first put on record my sincere thanks to my hon. Friend the Member for Broxbourne (Mr Walker) and the Procedure Committee for their careful consideration of the best way to ensure effective scrutiny of Brexit delegated legislation. There has never been a more crucial time for secondary legislation, and this Government are committed to providing the maximum consideration of it to enable our smooth exit from the EU.

The Procedure Committee’s report sets out detailed proposals to ensure the effective scrutiny of delegated legislation under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, which received Royal Assent on 26 June 2018. Following the Committee’s interim report of 1 November 2017, the Chair of the Procedure Committee tabled amendments to the withdrawal Bill in Committee of the whole House that the House accepted without Division. I subsequently tabled draft motions on the Order Paper to give as much notice of the potential Standing Order changes as possible.

Following the launch of its inquiry in September 2017, the Committee took evidence from a range of parties, including me in May. I pay tribute to the members of the Committee and thank them for taking the time to input into this important new procedure.

In its report last week, the Procedure Committee set out its final recommendations, including updated proposed Standing Orders for a new Committee—the European Statutory Instruments Committee. As the Procedure Committee set out, the new Committee’s remit will be to examine each Government proposal for a negative procedure statutory instrument and to recommend whether it should be upgraded to the affirmative procedure, whereby the proposed legislation has to be approved by a vote of both Houses.

The report published last Monday includes a carefully considered set of recommendations for how the new Committee should function, together with a number of factors that the new Committee may want to consider when deciding whether the instrument ought to be subject to the affirmative procedure. It will be for the Committee to take forward that work, but I commit that the Government will work constructively and closely with the new Committee’s members and staff to ensure that it functions as effectively as possible. I have noted the suggestion that the European Statutory Instruments Committee should not be expected to make a substantive report with recommendations until the September sitting at the earliest.

The Government confirmed in a written statement on 4 July that the Government

“will not lay negative statutory instruments requiring sifting until the necessary procedures for establishing the new Committee in the Commons and the expansion of the remit of the House of Lords’ Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee are concluded. However, the Government is starting to publish final drafts of the negative statutory instruments that require sifting (‘proposed negatives’) on Gov.uk as they are ready. This is to increase transparency and to allow Parliament and the public to have early sight of the forthcoming legislation.”

I would also like to take this opportunity to assure the House that, where a Minister does not agree with the recommendations of the Committee, the Minister will be prepared to appear in front of the Committee to clarify the rationale for that.

I turn to amendment (a), which was tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mrs Miller) and other members of the Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion. Let me start by saying that I have great sympathy for what is proposed. It is absolutely right that we do all we can to encourage equal representation in the decisions that the House takes. It is important, however, that we recognise that the amendment would result in the European Statutory Instruments Committee being the only Committee subject to rules on the gender of its members.

The effect of the amendment would be that, whenever a vacancy became available on the Committee, only a Member of the same gender as the Member who had left the Committee would be eligible to join it. Some might consider that there is a risk of such a move creating difficulties with maintaining full membership, particularly for the smaller parties, if appropriate candidates are not forthcoming. I am sure that each party has seen the amendment and will want to do what it can to ensure a good gender balance when selecting its membership of the Committee, but the amendment, although it has my personal support, is for the House to decide upon.

The new Committee will play an important role in the coming months and, provided that the proposed changes to Standing Orders are agreed, I look forward to charting its progress. I commend the motions to the House.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 12 July 2018

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Jul 2018, 12:11 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely wrong on all counts. He will be aware that the Cabinet met last Friday. Today is Thursday, a few days later, and the Government are coming forward with that White Paper to set it out to the entire House, with a debate next week. The hon. Member for Walsall South (Valerie Vaz) has already complained about the fact we have facilitated a debate.

My right hon. Friend the new Brexit Secretary is about to come to the House to make a statement to enable all hon. Members to quiz him. What the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) and all hon. Members need to understand is that this is a complicated negotiation and that what the Prime Minister is seeking to do is to ensure that we can stick to the red lines we have agreed while, at the same time, sticking to the red lines that the EU has set out. That makes it extraordinarily complicated but also extraordinarily clever, and it is worthy of very careful discussion and debate. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
12 Jul 2018, 12:13 p.m.

Order. It is obvious that there is very considerable unhappiness in the House, and I have heard what the Leader of the House has said. There are conventions on these matters, not all of which will commend themselves to the House. It is not by any means unknown or unprecedented for copies of a document to be issued after a Minister sits down. However, I hope that the Leader of the House might want to reflect on the extent of unhappiness at the idea that the document might not be available to colleagues at the point at which they have the opportunity to question the Secretary of State about it—I put it no more strongly than that. There are conventions, and I am not saying that what the Government are doing is unprecedented.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Jul 2018, 12:13 p.m.

Good.

Mr Speaker Hansard
12 Jul 2018, 12:13 p.m.

The right hon. Lady can think it is good or not think it is good—it is entirely her choice. I do not mind. I am simply stating the factual position, but I think it is important to be sensitive to the fact that there is very considerable upset at the idea that people will not have seen a document about which there is to be a statement and upon which the Secretary of State has come to be questioned. People observing our proceedings from elsewhere might think that is a slightly curious state of affairs.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
12 Jul 2018, 12:14 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman has spoken, as he always does, with great eloquence. If I may say so, the Leader of the House will take what view she wants of what he says, but he has said it with very considerable style. I think there will be a feeling about the matter, but let us hear what the Leader of the House has to say.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Jul 2018, 12:15 p.m.

As ever, my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Sir Edward Leigh) is absolutely charming and puts it very well. I am delighted to speak to my right hon. Friend the new Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union on this subject. I hear the concern of the House, but the House will also have heard that this is not without precedent. As I put it to the hon. Member for Rhondda, these are difficult times and these are complicated negotiations. It was only last week that the Cabinet agreed a way forward, and I think all hon. Members should accept that the Government are coming to the House as soon as possible to set out the plans and to enable the House to discuss them thoroughly.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
12 Jul 2018, 12:46 p.m.

I obviously wanted the hon. Lady to have the opportunity to put her point, and the Leader of the House was notified of that and was perfectly content with that as far as I am aware and there seems to be an apposite quality about this exchange. If the Leader of the House wants to say something, we look forward to hearing her.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Jul 2018, 12:46 p.m.

What the hon. Lady fails to mention is that I also said to her that I was extremely disappointed that she appears to have deliberately chosen to misunderstand my words. It was quite clear from what I said that I was talking about the problem of illegal encampments. She has attributed to me views that I do not hold. I have the utmost respect and regard for the history and the way of life of the travelling communities. I was utterly offended by her letter and I am offended by her point of order. I sincerely hope that she will consider carefully trying to arouse this offence to a travelling community where none was intended and absolutely none was given.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 05 July 2018

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard

The right hon. Gentleman’s book learning is legendary, as is his willingness generously to share it with us.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Jul 2018, 10:19 a.m.

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise this appalling situation. I have seen myself with my own kids that when young children are playing a game, they are encouraged not to use actual money, because they do not have any, but to get addicted to the idea of buying some extra beads or something else to enable them to play that game even better. I have experience of that, and I share his grave concern. He will be aware that Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Ministers are determined to keep children safe online and are doing all they can to tackle the issue. He may wish to seek a Backbench Business debate to look at what more can be done to protect young children.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
5 Jul 2018, 11:49 a.m.

Order. I just say to the hon. Gentleman that I am very much aware of this matter and that a letter from me will be winging its way to Linda Spencer today.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Jul 2018, 11:49 a.m.

I join you, Mr Speaker, in paying tribute to her for her many long years of service. The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to raise the fact that all the support staff right across the Palace of Westminster enable us to do our work and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude. I encourage him to make his points more fully in the pre-recess Adjournment debate.

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Points of Order
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 05 July 2018

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
5 Jul 2018, 11:39 a.m.

I am grateful to colleagues for all their points of order. Let me emphasise that I understand completely how very disappointed and, indeed, aggrieved many Members are that the debate that had been scheduled will not now take place today. In fairness, I think it only reasonable to point out that from the Government’s point of view, it was a choice between having an extremely truncated debate of less than an hour or choosing not to move the motion. When the hon. Member for Glasgow East (David Linden) understandably complains that the debate was summarily withdrawn, he has a point, but the response to that is that of course, there was a motion for a general debate. The motion was to be moved by the Leader of the House, and if a motion is not moved, by definition, the debate cannot take place. I would not want to impugn anyone’s motives in this matter.

Mr Speaker Hansard
5 Jul 2018, 1:47 p.m.

Of course I will come to the Leader of the House.

I want simply to say at this stage the following. First, this matter has been considered over some period. I want to join the tributes to the excellent and indefatigable Chair of the Procedure Committee, the hon. Member for Broxbourne (Mr Walker), whose Committee did treat of this matter in some detail. Indeed, as is not uncommon in relation to procedural matters, the Committee asked me whether I would be willing to give evidence to it, which I did. It is no secret whatsoever that I expressed support for the principle and practice of proxy voting in circumstances where people were enjoying or seeking to enjoy maternity or paternity leave. That was my very firm view. I appreciate that there may be a mixture of views on this matter, but that was my very firm view. [Interruption.] What has caused the amusement?

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
5 Jul 2018, 1:49 p.m.

Perhaps I should have used a more neutral term.

Secondly, I think it is not a secret that the support for this idea is not universal, and it is not specifically a party matter. There are people on both sides of the House—particularly those who are accustomed to operating through the usual channels—whose enthusiasm for the idea of proxy voting is, shall we say, not unalloyed. Whether that has anything to do with the way events have transpired today, I have no way of knowing. To be fair, the Home Secretary’s statement was very important, and that statement did have to be made. The Home Secretary was earlier, as he said, chairing Cobra and could not make his statement until he got here.

The Government’s rationale for choosing to have a statement on the industrial strategy is a matter for the Government. The Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the hon. Member for Watford (Richard Harrington), addressed us with his usual charm and courtesy. He displayed no little knowledge of the matters under discussion, and was widely questioned. Whether that statement had to be made today was a judgment for the Government to make.

As people have asked about when the debate might be rescheduled, I would say that I asked the Deputy Chief Whip, who courteously came to the Chair to inform me that the debate would not go ahead today, whether it would soon be rescheduled. He said that the Government would look to reschedule the debate, but that it would have to be done by agreement through the usual channels.

My own very firm view, having heard what colleagues have said, is that the debate, preferably on a substantive motion—to go back to the point made by the hon. Member for Christchurch (Sir Christopher Chope)—so that the House can decide whether to proceed with proxy voting, should take place before the summer recess. It would be perfectly possible for that to happen, but it is for others to determine whether it shall. It would be my preference, but it is not to be decided by the Chair.

The Leader has come into the Chamber, and we appreciate that. She has also signalled that she wants to say something on this matter, and I think it is important that we hear from her.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Jul 2018, 1:51 p.m.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. May I say that nobody is more disappointed than I am that we have not been able to carry on with this debate? I have always made absolutely clear my 100% commitment to the vital importance of a secure early bond between parents and their babies. It is something for which I have had an absolute passion for 20 years, so nobody should be in any doubt about that.

I have had a number of meetings with colleagues. In fact, last November, when this issue was first raised with me, I asked the Chairman of the Procedure Committee whether the Committee would be so good as to look into how to provide proxy voting arrangements for baby leave. He was kind enough to do so, and I pay tribute to him and to all members of the Procedure Committee for their very well-considered report.

The purpose of today’s debate was to open up the discussion about what would actually be quite a significant change to the conventions of the House. My speech, were I delivering it, would have asked Members open questions about how they believe this could best be handled, whether there are alternatives and, indeed, whether there might be unintended consequences. My intention was to facilitate such a debate.

You are absolutely right, Mr Speaker, that the events in Wiltshire meant that the Home Secretary could not get to the House to make his statement until after the end of Cobra. Unfortunately, that has led to our having insufficient time to air the issues under discussion properly today. It is absolutely my intention to bring back that debate as soon as possible.

Mr Speaker Hansard
5 Jul 2018, 1:53 p.m.

I am very grateful to the Leader of the House for what she has said. Colleagues, I think we have all put our cards on the table, and we need to leave the issue there for today. However, knowing the perspicacity of my colleagues and the strength of feeling that exists among them—not least the Chairs of the Procedure and the Women and Equalities Committees, to name but two—there is no way on earth that this issue will go away, even if anybody in the House, and I know the Leader of the House does not want it to do so, thought that it could be pushed into the long grass. Thinking that would be a triumph of optimism and self-delusion over reality and common sense, and no one would want knowingly to be guilty of that.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 28 June 2018

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard

The business for next week will include:

Monday 2 July—Estimates day (3rd allotted day). There will be a debate on estimates relating to the Ministry of Justice, Department of Health and Social Care and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Tuesday 3 July—Estimates day (4th allotted day). There will be a debate on estimates relating to the Department for Education and Her Majesty’s Treasury that relate to grants to the devolved institutions.

At 7 pm, the House will be asked to agree all outstanding estimates, followed by a motion relating to the appointment of trustees to the House Of Commons Members Fund.

Wednesday 4 July—Proceedings on the Supply and Appropriation (Main Estimates) Bill, followed by remaining stages of the Ivory Bill, followed by Opposition day (allotted half day). There will be a debate on a motion in the name of the Scottish National party, subject to be announced.

Thursday 5 July—General debate on the principle of proxy voting, followed by a debate on a motion on the future of the transforming care programme. The subject for this debate was determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

Friday 6 July—Private Members’ Bills.

The provisional business for the week commencing 9 July will include:

Monday 9 July—Consideration of a business of the House motion, followed by proceedings on the Northern Ireland Budget (No.2) Bill.

Alongside the news that the EU withdrawal Bill received Royal Assent, there are a couple of other things to celebrate in Parliament this week. First, the House of Commons Library reaches the ripe old age of 200; that is 200 years the House has benefited from this crucial service and for that we are very grateful. Secondly, the “Voice and Vote” exhibition has launched in Westminster Hall and is open right through to October. Visitors can see just how far women in politics have come since they were hidden behind the brass grilles above this very Chamber. In this Vote 100 year, it is bound to be a hugely popular event. I hope many will come to Westminster to relive those achievements. Finally, it is National Democracy Week next week. There is a huge programme of events taking place right across Whitehall and I look forward to being a part of it.

Mr Speaker Hansard
28 Jun 2018, 11:13 a.m.

Thank you. I echo very much what the Leader of the House has just said about the magnificent and celebratory exhibition in Westminster Hall, and in echoing that I urge people attending our proceedings today if they have a little spare time and have not already viewed the exhibition to do so. An enormous amount of specialist loving care and preparation have gone into it and, like the Leader of the House, I am very proud of the exhibition. I joined the Lords Speaker and the Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee on Tuesday evening formally to open it, and it is well worth seeing.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
28 Jun 2018, 11:33 a.m.

How very beautiful.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

My right hon. Friend is never short of things to say about anything, which is a great relief to the House. As the Prime Minister said yesterday, it is her intention to fly the England flag over Downing Street not only today, but next year when the women’s world championships take place. That is important, and I entirely support the equality there, but I also encourage all other Whitehall Departments to consider whether they, too, can support England in the crucial battle this evening.

Mr Speaker Hansard
28 Jun 2018, 11:34 a.m.

I thank the Leader of the House for what she said and the right hon. Gentleman for his characteristically eloquent, almost poetical, inquiry. In response to what the Leader of the House said on the Government’s behalf, I am keen that the House shows its support for the England team in the World cup, as I would be if any of the other home nations were competing, as I hope that they will be in 2022. I have therefore decided that the House of Commons will indeed fly the St George’s flag for the next England game, which will be on Monday 2 July or Tuesday 3 July, dependent on the outcome of today’s match against Belgium. I know that I speak for the whole House in wishing the three lions the best of luck tonight.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

The hon. Gentleman raises a very concerning constituency issue, and he is absolutely right to do so. I know that Home Office Ministers would be concerned to hear about it, and I encourage him to take it up directly with them; or if he wants to write to me directly, I can do so on his behalf.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 21 June 2018

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Jun 2018, 11:05 a.m.

First, I share the hon. Lady’s excitement on behalf of the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart), who is at the highland games. I said to him yesterday that I was a bit suspicious he might be nursing a hangover from attending the Rolling Stones concert on Tuesday night, which I was pleased to also be at; we had that in common. He told me that he was in the backing group for the Rolling Stones once—absolute respect; that is amazing. I hope he has a great time at the games, and I welcome the hon. Member for Glasgow North (Patrick Grady) to his place.

The hon. Lady asked about the NHS and made some claims. I am sure she will be delighted to welcome the announcement of a growth in health funding of 3.4% on average each year, taking it up to £20.5 billion per year by 2023. That is superb news for the NHS.

In terms of the Brexit dividend, at the moment, the United Kingdom gives between £8 billion and £10 billion each year to the European Union that we do not get back in either a rebate or payment for things such as farming or structural funds. When we leave the EU, we will not be making those net contributions of £8 billion to £10 billion each year, so the truth is that there will be money available for other priorities. The Opposition can say, “Well, that’s all spent because of what happens to the economy,” but that is for another day. What happens to the economy is business as usual. The fact is that money currently paid to the EU will not be in the future.

The hon. Lady asked about Swansea bay. We want to ensure that the UK has a diverse, secure and affordable energy mix for not just the next few years but generations to come. She will be aware that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy continues to consider value for money with the Welsh devolved Administration and will make an announcement soon on the Swansea bay tidal lagoon.

The hon. Lady asked about the withdrawal Bill and suggested that there is some kind of confusion over what has been agreed. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union outlined in his letter to the Chair of the Procedure Committee:

“Under the Standing Orders of the House of Commons it will be for the Speaker to determine whether a motion when it is introduced by the Government under the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is or is not in fact cast in neutral terms and hence whether the motion is or is not amendable.”

I hope that that clarifies it.

The hon. Lady asked about nodding through. She is right that the convention is for Members to be nodded through when there is reasonable notice and serious illness. I was particularly sorry to see that the hon. Member for Bradford West (Naz Shah) was forced to come and vote here while she was unwell, but the fact that she had to come all the way from Bradford when she was so unwell is clearly a matter for her party. It is simply not right to accuse the Government of putting her in that position when the first notice the Government were given was just before midday. Her party should have sorted out an arrangement in much better time. I am not personally privy to those discussions, but communication clearly needs to improve, and that should be resolved privately.

The hon. Member for Walsall South (Valerie Vaz) talked about moral authority and the issue of separating children—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
21 Jun 2018, 11:09 a.m.

Order. We cannot have side discussions. There is clearly considerable unhappiness about the matter, but it cannot be resolved now, and the Leader of the House should be able to proceed with her answers.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Jun 2018, 11:09 a.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

The hon. Member for Walsall South raised the serious point about children being separated from their parents, and she is right to do so. It is appalling and absolutely wrong, and I was certainly relieved to see the Executive order signed yesterday by the President of the United States. However, we must not mix that up with the importance of the relationship we have with the United States, one of our key strategic relationships. It is important that we continue to deal with the office of the presidency of the United States, regardless of what our views are on particular decisions.

The hon. Lady mentioned Gabriella Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s fourth birthday. I absolutely agree that it is appalling that this poor child continues to be separated from her mother. I absolutely assure the hon. Lady that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary does everything he can to continue to raise this matter and to plead for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

My right hon. Friend raises a very serious issue. He will be aware that every local authority in the UK has a statutory duty to make arrangements for these so-called paupers’ funerals, when a person has died in circumstances where the family cannot be traced or when no funeral arrangements have been made for that person. He is right to point out that these are no frills funerals and there are limitations to the involvement of families, unless the families get involved in arranging, for example, for a religious minister or a civil celebrant to be present at the funeral. I encourage my right hon. Friend to seek an Adjournment debate so that he can ask Ministers directly about what more could be done.

Mr Speaker Hansard
21 Jun 2018, 11:11 a.m.

I think the right hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr Hayes) will get such a debate. As the Leader of the House says, he has raised an extremely serious matter, but it is no bad thing that he has done so, characteristically, with the eloquence of Cicero.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Jun 2018, 11:43 a.m.

The hon. Lady raises another important constituency point. There can be no excuse for administrative errors that cause people real problems. She will be aware that the Immigration Minister will be here later today for a statement, so she may want to raise that point directly with her, or if she wants to write to me, I can take it up with the Minister on her behalf.

Mr Speaker Hansard
21 Jun 2018, 11:43 a.m.

I can only assume that “screw-up” is a technical term that the hon. Member for Aberdeen North (Kirsty Blackman) has devised to describe the situation that displeases her.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard

I think the Leader of the House wishes to respond.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Jun 2018, 10:15 a.m.

I absolutely stand by what I said, which is that pairs had been committed to for all those who are in late stages of pregnancy. It is a convention for Members to be nodded through where reasonable notice is given and where there is serious illness. Yesterday at 11.55 am, Labour requested that six Members be nodded through. The Government made efforts to make what arrangements they could in the short time provided. This is a matter for the usual channels, but I stand by what I said.

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 14 June 2018

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom) - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 11:43 a.m.

I certainly share the hon. Lady’s pleasure at the award to the Clerk of the House.

The business for next week will include:

Monday 18 June—Consideration of Lords amendments to the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, followed by a motion to approve a statutory instrument relating to the draft European Union (Definition of Treaties) (Canada Trade Agreement) Order 2018, followed by a motion to approve European documents relating to EU trade agreements: EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, followed by a general debate on acquired brain injury.

Tuesday 19 June—Opposition day (14th allotted day). There will be a debate on an Opposition motion. Subject to be announced.

Wednesday 20 June—If necessary, consideration of Lords amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, followed by a general debate on NATO.

Thursday 21 June—Debate on a motion on the importance of refugee family reunion, followed by a debate on a motion on the future of the Erasmus+ scheme after 2020. The subjects of these debates were determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

Friday 22 June—The House will not be sitting.

The provisional business for the week commencing 25 June will include:

Monday 25 June—Remaining stages of the Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Bill [Lords]. The shocking and heartbreaking scenes a year ago today at Grenfell Tower will stay with us all forever. That night, 72 lives were tragically lost, and the lives of so many were changed forever. The strength, dignity and determination shown by the survivors and the families of all those affected have been truly inspiring, and I pay tribute to them all.

Our overwhelming priority over the past year, and going forward, is to ensure that the survivors of this terrible event get the homes and the support they need and the truth and justice they deserve. A minute’s silence will be held across the United Kingdom at 12 noon today in remembrance of all those who lost their lives and all others who were affected. We will not forget them.

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 11:46 a.m.

Just before we proceed to questions, I wish to say this: I thank very warmly the shadow Leader of the House and then the Leader of the House for what they said by way of tribute to the Clerk of the House, Sir David Natzler. For those who do not know—many will be aware of this—David joined the House in 1975 and he has served with distinction and without interruption for 43 years, and we look forward to him continuing to serve us. In serving us, he applies his intellect and his energy to facilitate the House and he does so with the keenest and most admirable spirit of public service. David, you are much appreciated in this place.

In reference to what the Leader of the House very appositely said about Grenfell, a lot of Members will want to take part in the minute’s silence, and a number of Members will be taking part in commemorative activity much later today.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 11:59 a.m.

Colleagues, thank you.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, noon

In the light of what happened at Grenfell, it hardly seems right to dive straight back into debate. Nevertheless, that is what we must do.

I thank the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) for his comments, and I of course accept his right to challenge in every way in this Chamber. I say to him that the Government’s programme motion, which was approved by the House—by 321 votes to 304—provided six hours in total, with three hours for each set of amendments. As you said, Mr Speaker, there was no constitutional or procedural impropriety. It was up to Members, if they did not like the programme motion, to defeat it. There were 11 votes, which took about two hours and 40 minutes, leaving very little time for the devolution amendments the hon. Gentleman mentioned. It was of course a matter for the House to choose to divide on a number of issues that were broadly similar to one another, each of which was won by the Government with a double-digit majority.

The hon. Gentleman talked about the lack of debate in general on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. I say to him that, prior to the 12 hours of debate on the Bill this week, Parliament had collectively spent 258 hours debating the Bill, including a total of 15 hours on the subject of devolution, so it is simply not the case that there has been no debate on this matter. Across both Houses, 1,390 amendments have been tabled, of which 1,171 were non-Government amendments. There has been an enormous amount of debate, and there continues to be a huge amount of debate.

On the subject of the Sewel convention, I say to all SNP Members that we have followed the spirit and letter of the devolution settlement at every stage of the process. The devolution settlement itself envisaged situations in which the UK Parliament might be required to legislate without the consent of a devolved Administration. On this issue for the UK, we have sought to work closely with—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:04 p.m.

Order. This is rather unseemly. To be fair, the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) asked a question and the Leader of the House is in the process of answering it, so he should not be conducting a side discussion with some Government Back Bencher. [Interruption.] Somebody says it is “uncouth”. I am always rather gentle and understated, so I would not say that. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire is still doing it; it is a rather obsessive characteristic of his. Let us hear the reply of the Leader of the House.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:04 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman did tweet at 10.37 am to ask all his followers to watch the business question, so he obviously had something in store for us.

I would like to finish the point. The Government have tried very hard to reach agreement with all the devolved Administrations. Since the Scottish Government walked away from an agreement, they have offered no new proposals to try to bridge the gap. Their demand for a veto on how the UK internal market operates is just not acceptable, and that is never how devolution was intended to work.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:10 p.m.

Not for nothing is the right hon. Gentleman regarded as a specialist and perhaps even a rarified delicacy in the House.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:10 p.m.

I love the way that my right hon. Friend puts his questions and tempts me to always deliver on his requests, which is a very clever way of approaching business questions. He will appreciate that the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is totally committed, as was I when I was doing that job, to improving our environment and to being the first generation that leaves our environment in a better state than we found it in. That means ensuring many millions more trees are planted and that we protect those precious trees, including those that are on Network Rail land. Housing, Communities and Local Government questions are on Monday. He might like to raise his specific point directly with Ministers then.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I am not aware of the specific circumstances that the hon. Lady raises, but I would say—and I am sure you would say, Mr Speaker—that language in the Chamber is a matter for the Chair. Nevertheless, Mr Speaker and I have both made clear that unacceptable language—threatening, violent and offensive language—should not be used at any time, let alone in the Chamber. What I can say to the hon. Lady is that cross-party a number of us are working on an independent complaints procedure that will change the culture in this place and ensure that all people who work here, regardless of their position and what they do in this place, will be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:10 p.m.

As I think the hon. Member for Motherwell and Wishaw (Marion Fellows) knows—and I respect her sincerity and the force of what she has just said—I indicated earlier in the week that I simply did not hear the term used at the time. However, I emphasised, once it was brought to my attention, that I utterly deprecated it. It is not a term that should be bandied about in the spirit of political polemics. As the hon. Lady says, it is something that touches a lot of people very deeply. I echo what the Leader of the House says: we should weigh our words carefully.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:23 p.m.

My right hon. Friend raises two very important points. I certainly join him in wishing Harry Kane the best of luck.

My right hon. Friend is right to raise the subject of the Mayor’s plans for low-emission zones in London. I know that there are grave concerns about the Mayor’s tendency to take credit for things that go well and blame central Government when anything is not going his way. It is for him to take action against the appalling air quality in certain parts of London, but it is also for him to facilitate the ability of innocent citizens to go about their daily business, whether for work or to hospital and so on. My right hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise that challenge to the Mayor.

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:24 p.m.

As an Arsenal fan, I must say to the right hon. Gentleman that I hugely look forward to Harry Kane deploying his brilliance for England, much more than I ever look forward to him deploying his brilliance for Tottenham. He is a great player and a great representative of our country.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I recognise that the hon. Gentleman and some of his colleagues are unhappy about procedures in this House in recent days. What I would say to him is that there has absolutely been adherence to all Standing Orders, procedural conventions and rules on Divisions of the House, and there has absolutely been nothing untoward going on. There is not the need for a debate—[Interruption.] It is entirely disrespectful that—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:44 p.m.

Order. We have to try to re-establish some seemliness of exchange. The hon. Gentleman asked a robust question, and I do not think anybody objects to that, but he should then listen to the reply, and to heckle the Leader of the House noisily as she replies is discourteous.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:44 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. There is no point saying anything further to the hon. Gentleman.

See more like "Points of Order"

Points of Order
Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Tuesday 12 June 2018

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard

I can only repeat what I have said: Members must speak and vote as they think fit. No Member of this House, whatever opinion he or she holds, should be threatened because of it. No Member should be subject to threats, and any Member subject to threats of a kind—