Business of the House Debate

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Department: Leader of the House

Business of the House

Richard Benyon Excerpts
Thursday 11th April 2019

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
11 Apr 2019, 11:46 a.m.

Let me again welcome the hon. Lady, and congratulate her on her delivery of an excellent question. She will no doubt be aware that the subject she has raised is of huge concern to Members in all parts of the House, and that the Government have taken significant steps to try to resolve the appalling issue of county lines, which involves drug dealing, the abuse of young people—many of whom are being tackled violently—and the increased incidence of knife crime. It is an appalling problem.

The hon. Lady may also be aware that the Government have set up a serious violence taskforce and a consultation on treating serious violence as a public health emergency. The police are making efforts to tackle the county lines problem and, specifically, gang membership. They are trying to catch gang leaders and intervene earlier to take young people away from a life that leads to serious violence, knife crime and county lines.

Richard Benyon (Newbury) (Con) Parliament Live - Hansard
11 Apr 2019, 11:46 a.m.

Tilly Green is an 11-year-old who lives in Bradfield, in my constituency. She suffers from cystic fibrosis and would benefit from the use of a drug called Orkambi, but unfortunately the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence does not allow it to be used. I am consulting Ministers about the matter, but it would be a great help if there were the possibility of a debate in the House to draw out the relatively opaque nature of how NICE decides whether a drug can or cannot be used. Knowing that the treatment would be available in due course would bring great comfort to families like Tilly’s.

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

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising this issue. There are two children with cystic fibrosis in my own constituency, and they and their parents are also campaigning strongly for access to Orkambi. There have been a number of meetings in Parliament between Members and Vertex, the supplier of the drug, to try to move things forward. The Government are doing everything they can to find a way through the problem, but I encourage my hon. Friend and others to keep on fighting for access to this drug.