(6 months, 2 weeks ago)Read Full debate
The hon. Gentleman could have voted to save jobs in his constituency—[Interruption.] It is no good Labour MPs trying to deny this. They had the opportunity three times to vote to leave with a deal, and three times they rejected it.
I am sure my right hon. Friend appreciates the emphasis that the Government have put on more homes being built. We want to meet the ambition for 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s—it is a top priority for us—and London is a crucial part of achieving that. While it is important to get the homes built, it is also vital that the impact on the local community is properly assessed when planning decisions are made. We want to see more homes. They need to be built in the right place, and local concerns need to be properly taken into account.
(9 months, 2 weeks ago)Read Full debate
The way to ensure that we develop a sustainable solution to poverty is to have a strong economy and a welfare system that helps people into work. That is what universal credit does—200,000 more people in work as a result of introducing universal credit. Work is the best route out of poverty. The evidence is that a child growing up in a home where all the adults work is around five times less likely to be in poverty than a child from a home where nobody works. We are making sure that we encourage people into the workplace. There are more jobs out there, more people in work, a record level of people in employment. Work is the best route out of poverty.
My right hon. Friend is absolutely right that decisions about the closure of police stations across London are a matter for the Mayor of London. We have been protecting police funding. This year, there will be almost £1 billion extra available for the police, and the Metropolitan police are receiving up to £2.7 billion in funding in 2019-20—an increase on last year. We will always ensure that the police have the powers and resources that they need, but it is important that people recognise the responsibilities of the police and crime commissioners and the decisions they take. In London, that is the Labour Mayor of London.
(10 months ago)Read Full debate
The right hon. Gentleman is right that I said that, as things stand, I did not believe there was support for bringing back a meaningful vote, but I also indicated that I was continuing to talk to colleagues across this House. I would hope to be able to bring back a vote in this House that enables us to guarantee Brexit, because the one way of guaranteeing Brexit is to abide by the decision that was taken last week and ensure that we leave on 22 May.
We have, as my right hon. Friend knows—she has been involved in some of these discussions—been looking at the alternative arrangements that could be put in place, and further work is required, but I would also draw her attention to, I believe, a release by the European Commission today, in which it makes clear that, in all circumstances, all EU laws would have to be abided by.
(11 months ago)Read Full debate
First of all, the hon. Gentleman knows there are two ways in which it is possible to ensure that we do not see no deal. One is to stay in the European Union, which is not what the referendum result said, and the other is to agree a deal. What I am working on at the moment is taking the view of this House of Commons about the concerns on the backstop in the deal and working with Brussels to resolve that issue, such that this House will be able to agree a deal.
I think this is a very important issue that everybody in this House should take seriously. I never thought I would see the day when Jewish people in this country were concerned about their future in this country, and I never thought I would see the day when a once-proud Labour party was accused of institutional antisemitism by a former Member of that party. It is incumbent on all of us in this House to ensure that we act against antisemitism wherever and however it occurs. It is racism and we should act against it.
(1 year, 1 month ago)Read Full debate
No. We have been clear about the need for what we believe is right for the United Kingdom, which is to negotiate a bespoke deal that is neither the Norway/EEA option, which is at one end of the spectrum that the European Union offered in the first place, nor the Canada-style deal for Great Britain, with Northern Ireland carved out in a separate customs territory, which is the other end of the spectrum that the EU proposed. The political declaration does indeed include a trade agreement with a free trade area at its heart, with no tariffs, no quantitative restrictions and ambitious proposals in relation to the customs border.
I hope I can give some further reassurance to my right hon. Friend. In discussions with a number of colleagues, there seems to be a misunderstanding about the role of the European Court of Justice. What we will have in our future relationship is that we will end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. The European Court of Justice will not be the final arbiter of the withdrawal agreement. There has been, I think, some misunderstanding of the reference in the withdrawal agreement to the point that the arbitration panel that deals with disputes will be able to ask the European Court of Justice for its opinion on its interpretation of EU law, but the dispute would be determined by the arbitration panel and not by the European Court of Justice.
(1 year, 1 month ago)Read Full debate
May I first say how sorry I am to hear of the case of the hon. Lady’s constituent, Matthew, and the abuse that he suffered? Sadly, what has come out of this independent inquiry is that too much abuse was allowed to carry on for too long, and that too many people suffered as a result. It is not just the case that they suffered at the time when the abuse was taking place; that suffering remains with them to this day, and we should all recognise that.
The hon. Lady raised the issue of mandatory reporting, which we looked at very carefully when I was Home Secretary. There is actually mixed evidence on the impact of mandatory reporting. In fact, there is some evidence that it can lead to the genuine cases not being given the resources they require. I want the hon. Lady to be in no doubt about the seriousness with which I and this Government take the issue. We are doing our best to repair—I will not claim that we can fully repair—by giving some sense of justice to the people who suffered at the hands of too many institutions, including institutions of the state, for too long.
I recognise my right hon. Friend’s concerns, and reassure her that we have been protecting police funding since 2015. We have enabled police forces further to increase funding through the council tax precept. This year, including council tax, there is an additional £460 million available to the police. However, I recognise the issue that my right hon. Friend has raised, and we will continue to ensure that the police have the resources they need to cut crime and keep our communities safe. There is also a role for chief constables and police and crime commissioners—as operational leaders and elected local representatives—to decide how best to deploy resources in order to manage and respond to individual crimes and local crime priorities.
(1 year, 1 month ago)Read Full debate
The position, as I have mentioned to others, is that it is of course not possible for us to agree the legal text of our future relationship with the European Union until we have left the European Union. If the hon. Lady looks again at the text, she will see that it clearly expresses what we have expressed previously in relation to trade—that there is a spectrum, there is a balance between commitments that are given on rules and the issue of the checks that take place at the border. It remains our intention as a Government to work towards that frictionless trade.
I recognise my right hon. Friend’s concern about the backstop, but the reality of the position from the European Union is the complete opposite. There are those in the European Union who actively believe that the backstop would be an advantageous place for the United Kingdom to be—advantageous because, in their eyes, it has that access to the market of the European Union without any payment and without free movement. That is not a position they actively want us to be in. That is why both sides have made it clear throughout the document that we do not want the backstop to come into place at all and that were it to come into place it would only be temporary.
(1 year, 2 months ago)Read Full debate
We are indeed following up on our commitments in that area.
My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. This is the biggest cash boost that the NHS will have received in its history. It is important that this money is used carefully and properly, to ensure that care for patients is improved. That is one of the principles that we have set out for the 10-year plan that the NHS is working on at the moment, and I am sure the NHS will be looking carefully at the GP services in her constituency.
(1 year, 7 months ago)Read Full debate
I congratulate all Members who came into this House after the 2017 general election, including colleagues on this side of the Chamber, and I hope they will not take it amiss if I mention in particular the 12 Scottish Conservatives who came in after that election.
This Government takes very seriously the issue of social mobility. We take it seriously through the policies we are implementing to help ensure that our young people get the skills they need, as my hon. Friend the Member for Cheltenham (Alex Chalk) mentioned in the first question, so that they can take the jobs of the future. I want a country where how far somebody gets on is a reflection not of their background or where they come from, but of their abilities and willingness to work hard.
(1 year, 9 months ago)Read Full debate
We already have plans to tackle childhood obesity that are world leading. No other developed country has done anything as ambitious. Our soft drinks industry levy is a bold action that we are taking, and our sugar reduction programme will cut the amounts of sugar consumed by young people. Of course, we are also putting in plans for the amount of exercise and physical activity primary school children get every day. Those steps will make a real difference and help reverse a problem that has been decades in the making, but of course we have not ruled out further action if the right results are not seen.
Of course, my right hon. Friend raises an extremely important issue. As I said at the beginning in response to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, it is important that everybody across the House takes action to stamp out racism in all its forms. I include anti-Semitism in that.
(2 years, 2 months ago)Read Full debate
Our thoughts continue to be with all those who were affected by the terrible attack that took place in Manchester. As well as meeting some of the victims immediately after the attack, I also met some of the victims and those involved a matter of weeks ago and talked to them about the long-lasting impact that this has on them.
The hon. Lady has raised an important issue. In relation to this funding issue, I can say to her that we will be responding in full by the end of next week, but I would expect that response to confirm that the majority of funds will be made available.
We have been very clear about our position in relation to the green belt, and indeed we confirmed that in the housing White Paper that we set out, where we were very clear about that too. We want more homes to be built in this country. It is important that we see more homes being built particularly in London, but there are many opportunities to do that that do not affect the green belt.
(2 years, 6 months ago)Read Full debate
Yes, that individual would be allowed to return to the United Kingdom. If EU citizens who are living here at the time at which we leave have lived here before the specified cut-off date and have five years’ residence, they will get their settled status. If they have less than five years’ residence before the cut-off date, they will be able to stay to build up that five years’ residence for settled status. For any new people coming afresh to the United Kingdom after we leave the European Union, we will set out those immigration rules in due course and a Bill will go through Parliament, which will enable the right hon. Gentleman to contribute.
I would very much like us to be able to do that by dealing with this at an early stage in the negotiations and by recognising that we all want to ensure that we give people reassurance and that they are no longer anxious about their future. I hope that the European Union will see the benefits of that and that we will be able to address this at an earlier stage than at the end of the negotiations.
(2 years, 7 months ago)Read Full debate
I take this opportunity to make clear that the testing facilities that I referred to are open to the devolved Administrations as well. I obviously encourage anybody in the devolved Administrations to send in samples of such buildings so that they can be tested.
The hon. Gentleman asked about the £5 million fund. If necessary, more money will be made available. As I said, something like £700,000 has already been paid out, and further moneys will be paid out, but we will look at that sum over time.
The planning conditions attached to the Berkeley Homes development have been relaxed to enable work to take place over longer hours, so that the work can be speeded up. The current expectation is that the homes could be available by the end of July, but that is caveated, as I am sure the hon. Gentleman and others will recognise. It is dependent on the work being completed.
The hon. Gentleman also asked about the inquiry. It is absolutely crucial that the inquiry looks at how this happened, and part of that will be looking at what led up to the fire, the immediate response to the fire and the aftermath. We need to know why this happened and who was responsible for it. The judge who will chair the inquiry will have a role in determining how the inquiry is handled, in terms of the witnesses that he wishes to take and so forth. As I said, I am clear that we need to ensure that people can have full confidence in this inquiry, which is why I want to see residents involved in setting the terms of reference, so that they know that it is an inquiry that will meet their needs.
I thank my right hon. Friend for drawing that to the House’s attention and I commend Barnet Council for its action. The Department for Communities and Local Government has asked every local authority to undertake those tests, ensuring the safety of the properties in which they accommodate people.