7 James Davies debates involving the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Northern Ireland Protocol

James Davies Excerpts
Tuesday 17th May 2022

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss
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As I have said, the Bill is legal in international law and we will set out the position in due course.

James Davies Portrait Dr James Davies (Vale of Clwyd) (Con)
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I thank my right hon. Friend for her statement. Will she comment on the transfer of data within the UK’s trusted trader scheme to the EU and on how could that process be further improved?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss
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We are already sharing large amounts of data that we collect as part of the trusted trader scheme with the EU to give reassurance that trade is not being diverted from the GB-Northern Ireland route into the EU. We want to build on that with enforcement measures so that those violating the trusted trader scheme are not allowed to continue to do so.

Throwline Stations

James Davies Excerpts
Monday 24th January 2022

(2 years, 4 months ago)

Westminster Hall
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David Jones Portrait Mr David Jones (Clwyd West) (Con)
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May I say how pleased I am to see you in the Chair, Ms Ghani? I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Nick Fletcher) on his opening speech, and thank the Petitions Committee for securing the debate.

The petition was initiated by a constituent of mine, Mrs Leeanne Bartley of Ruthin, who is present in the Chamber, and it was prompted by the tragic death of her son, Mark Allen. As we have heard, on 5 June 2018, Mark, who was then aged 18 and living with his father in Gorton, Manchester, was with a group of friends in Debdale Park, one of the largest public open spaces in that city. It was a hot day, and Mark decided to cool off by swimming in the nearby Debdale reservoir—a large body of water managed by United Utilities. It would appear that he scaled a fence to climb up to a platform and dive into the reservoir. The water was bitterly cold, and, sadly, he immediately got into difficulties. His friends attempted to rescue him but were sadly unable to do so, and he disappeared under the water. Mark was a young man and talented drama student with his life ahead of him. He is severely missed by his family and friends.

United Utilities told the inquest into Mark’s death that there were a number of signs around the edge of the reservoir warning of the danger of the water, and pointing out that it was extremely cold and very deep in places. Since the incident, however, the company has installed a number of throwlines around the reservoir. I am afraid that it is frequently the case that throwlines appear after such an incident has occurred. Mrs Bartley’s view is that the authorities responsible for the management of large bodies of water should be proactive in the installation of throwlines, rather than reactive, as they are at the moment, sadly.

About 260 deaths from accidental drowning occur in the United Kingdom each year, and that is without taking into account the number of British citizens who die in drowning accidents overseas. Mrs Bartley believes very firmly that that number could be significantly reduced if there were a requirement to provide throwlines at every large body of water in the country. Clearly, everybody would agree that it is highly desirable that the number of deaths by drowning should be reduced. The provision of throwlines would be a move in the right direction.

Most reservoirs are owned by the major water companies. The Environment Agency is responsible for the management of rivers, and the Canal and River Trust is responsible for managing the canals around the country. Those entities have a responsibility for the safety of the bodies of water that they manage.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK is one of the leading charities in this field. It helps people to enjoy being on, in and around water safely. I commend its website, which is a tremendously valuable resource, which provides a huge amount of information about water safety and a catalogue of the risks associated with open water. As we have heard, those risks include: the shock of cold water, which can make swimming difficult even for the strongest swimmer, and can increase the difficulty of getting out of the water; the lack of safety equipment and the increased difficulty for rescue; the depth of the water, which changes frequently and is unpredictable; and strong currents that can sweep swimmers away.

Evidence given at the inquest indicated that the water in the reservoir was extremely cold. In fact, one of the witnesses said it was freezing. No doubt, the low temperature was at least a contributing factor leading to the difficulties that Mark got into. The coroner at the inquest remarked that Mark’s death was caused, as he put it, by “the impetuosity of youth”. He said:

“We think we are bulletproof. We do what comes naturally to us and never think about the risks.”

It is possible that, had throwlines been provided at the reservoir, more could have been done by Mark’s friends to avoid this dreadful tragedy. It is also probably true that if throwlines were more widely available on bodies of water across the country, there would be far fewer fatalities of this sort. In their response to the petition, the Government have pointed out that landowners have a

“responsibility to assess and act on the risks posed by open bodies of water on their land.”

That is certainly true. I ask the Minister, when she replies to the debate, to explain what actions landowners should take in response to those risks, and whether she agrees that throwlines, which cost about £250, should be more widely available. Perhaps she could indicate if the Government are prepared to legislate, as urged by Mrs Bartley.

James Davies Portrait Dr James Davies (Vale of Clwyd) (Con)
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My right hon. Friend and constituency neighbour is making some excellent points. I have had 566 constituents sign the petition—a significant number. Does he agree that any guidance or legislation that comes forward following the debate needs to apply to Wales as well as to the rest of the United Kingdom?

David Jones Portrait Mr Jones
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I believe so. There has, in fact, been a debate on the issue already in the Welsh Senedd in Cardiff. When one considers that the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 is a national piece of legislation, I would very much hope that the Minister will indicate what national legislation she has in mind, or at least what the Government are prepared to do to provide stronger guidance to those who manage large bodies of water.

Finally, I commend the work of the Royal Life Saving Society UK. I have spoken to Mr Lee Heard of that organisation, who told me that the RLSS is always happy to assist landowners by advising what sensible precautions they can take to minimise the risks associated with bodies of open water on their land. It is a hugely valuable resource and I encourage all landowners to make use of it.

Oral Answers to Questions

James Davies Excerpts
Tuesday 30th November 2021

(2 years, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Amanda Milling Portrait Amanda Milling
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The hon. Gentleman raised several different issues. As I set out in earlier answers, the Government are leading international action and taking robust action in respect of some serious concerns about a number of different areas relating to China. As I said earlier, in particular we have imposed sanctions in relation to those responsible for the atrocities in Xinjiang.

James Davies Portrait Dr James Davies (Vale of Clwyd) (Con)
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T8. Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction tests can remain positive for up to 90 days post infection, which can create problems for those who have recovered and wish to travel abroad. What conversations is my right hon. Friend having with our international friends to ensure that there is a consistent and accepted form of proof of recovery for British citizens in that situation?

Amanda Milling Portrait Amanda Milling
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Officials are in regular contact with host Governments in order to understand their requirements and update FCDO travel advice, so travellers should always consult that advice for the latest covid-19 restrictions. Covid certification is a devolved competency; Welsh residents can use the NHS covid pass to evidence their vaccine status but cannot use it to evidence proof of recovery.

British Council

James Davies Excerpts
Tuesday 8th June 2021

(3 years ago)

Commons Chamber
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Urgent Questions are proposed each morning by backbench MPs, and up to two may be selected each day by the Speaker. Chosen Urgent Questions are announced 30 minutes before Parliament sits each day.

Each Urgent Question requires a Government Minister to give a response on the debate topic.

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Nigel Adams Portrait Nigel Adams
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I assure the hon. Lady that it is absolutely our intent to support the British Council—that is why we have increased its funding. As I have said, since the pandemic hit, this Government have committed to providing £609 million, which is a considerable increase. We want to ensure that the council remains on a stable financial footing. I can also tell her that the recently announced new CEO of the British Council is a formidable figure, and I am sure that he will do a fantastic job alongside the chairman, Stevie Spring. I think it has exciting times ahead under such formidable leadership.

James Davies Portrait Dr James Davies (Vale of Clwyd) (Con)
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In 2019-20, there were six schools in my constituency that benefited from excellent British Council programmes. Five were twinned with schools elsewhere in the world, and one—Ysgol Llywelyn in Rhyl—received an international school award. Will my hon. Friend confirm that opportunities such as these will not be impacted by covid-induced financial pressures?

Nigel Adams Portrait Nigel Adams
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I think my hon. Friend is referring to the Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning schools programme, which builds long-term relationships between schools, communities in the UK and developing countries. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will continue to fund that programme for 2021-22.

Hong Kong National Security Legislation

James Davies Excerpts
Wednesday 1st July 2020

(3 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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I share entirely the hon. Gentleman’s outrage, frankly, at the reports that we have seen about what is happening in Xinjiang and, indeed, Hong Kong. The reality, given China’s economic size and, indeed, its military size, is that we have to focus, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Sir Iain Duncan Smith) mentioned, on swelling the international caucus of like-minded countries who understand what is at stake here. It is not just the issue of Hong Kong, as important as that is, but the rules-based international system and the values represented within it.

James Davies Portrait Dr James Davies (Vale of Clwyd) (Con)
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Does my right hon. Friend agree that if China is to be treated as a leading member of the international community, it must adhere to international law?

Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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That is exactly the issue at stake here. We recognise China’s economic strength and potential growth, and also the opportunities for China to be a force for good in the world on things such as climate change, but with that status—that role as a P5 member of the Security Council—it must show leadership. That means living up to its international responsibilities and adhering to the international commitments it has made, in particular in relation to the joint declaration.

Oral Answers to Questions

James Davies Excerpts
Tuesday 28th March 2017

(7 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Alok Sharma Portrait Alok Sharma
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I know that the hon. Gentleman is incredibly concerned for the welfare of his constituent, as we are for all the men. The Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and I have all raised the case in meetings with our counterparts. We are providing consular support, as the hon. Gentleman knows, and my office has written to the families to say that I stand ready to meet them ahead of the verdict that is due.

James Davies Portrait Dr James Davies (Vale of Clwyd) (Con)
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Will my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary outline what his priorities have been during the UK’s 62nd presidency of the UN Security Council this month?

Alok Sharma Portrait Alok Sharma
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The theme of the UK’s presidency of the UN Security Council has been conflict prevention in Africa, with a focus on the Lake Chad basin, South Sudan and Somalia. The UK has also held an open debate on modern slavery. Throughout our presidency we have been action-oriented, transparent and consultative, and my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has chaired two Security Council meetings.

Oral Answers to Questions

James Davies Excerpts
Tuesday 21st February 2017

(7 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Alan Duncan Portrait Sir Alan Duncan
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I do not see why not, especially as my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is living proof that the woolly mammoth can return from extinction.

James Davies Portrait Dr James Davies (Vale of Clwyd) (Con)
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6. What steps his Department is taking to strengthen UK relations with other Commonwealth countries.

Tobias Ellwood Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr Tobias Ellwood)
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The Government are committed to strengthening our Commonwealth engagement, in continuing the theme of global Britain, and we look forward to hosting the Commonwealth Trade Ministers meeting in March and the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in 2018.

James Davies Portrait Dr Davies
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Can the Minister tell me how he believes the inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers meeting, to which he referred, can be used as an opportunity to promote the Commonwealth as a trading network?

Tobias Ellwood Portrait Mr Ellwood
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We should not forget that the network of 52 states is very important to Great Britain. It has a combined population of 2.2 billion people, including 1 billion people under the age of 25. In the post-Brexit environment, we are looking for trade deals. When we travel across Africa, and indeed the Commonwealth in general, the first question that is asked is, “What are the opportunities for Britain, now that you are liberated from doing business through Brussels?” The ministerial meeting that is coming up is a great opportunity for us to embark on looking towards the trade deals that we need for the future.