Debates between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow

There have been 17 exchanges between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow

1 Thu 31st October 2019 Tributes to the Speaker
Leader of the House
2 interactions (356 words)
2 Thu 31st October 2019 Points of Order 3 interactions (276 words)
3 Wed 25th September 2019 Prime Minister's Update
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (575 words)
4 Tue 21st May 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
HM Treasury
2 interactions (73 words)
5 Thu 11th April 2019 European Council
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (148 words)
6 Thu 14th February 2019 Points of Order 3 interactions (296 words)
7 Tue 15th January 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Department of Health and Social Care
2 interactions (83 words)
8 Wed 19th December 2018 Speaker’s Statement
Leader of the House
3 interactions (391 words)
9 Tue 16th October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
2 interactions (71 words)
10 Tue 4th September 2018 Point of Order 2 interactions (369 words)
11 Wed 20th June 2018 European Union (Withdrawal) Bill
Department for Exiting the European Union
2 interactions (335 words)
12 Wed 25th April 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (77 words)
13 Wed 6th December 2017 Points of Order 7 interactions (498 words)
14 Wed 1st November 2017 Exiting the EU: Sectoral Impact Assessments
Department for Exiting the European Union
3 interactions (352 words)
15 Tue 11th July 2017 Taylor Review: Working Practices 2 interactions (110 words)
16 Tue 4th July 2017 Feltham Young Offender Institution 2 interactions (638 words)
17 Tue 4th July 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Department of Health and Social Care
2 interactions (139 words)

Tributes to the Speaker

Debate between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow
Thursday 31st October 2019

(9 months, 2 weeks ago)

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

I am extremely grateful to the hon. Gentleman. He and I will continue to have curry together: I think we can be sure about that.

Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op) - Hansard
31 Oct 2019, 12:30 p.m.

May I take this opportunity, Mr Speaker, to put on record my thanks to you and my appreciation for all your guidance and support since the day I was elected? You are an extraordinary parliamentarian, human being and friend to so many—and I extend that to your family, who also deserve our thanks. As I know, your welcome to new MPs goes a long way towards settling them in the House at a very daunting time for them, when everything is so confusing. It went a long way towards giving me the confidence to stand up in the House and do my duty on behalf of my constituents, and I thank you for that.

May I also say thank you on behalf of my family? My brother Sundeep in Australia has just texted me to say that he, too, wants to extend his best wishes and his thanks to you, particularly for your support when we were going through extremely difficult times, notably the illness and death of my father. You were accommodating when I had to leave before a debate ended; you came to our last family tea downstairs; and your letter to my father wishing him good health was a huge boost to his spirits in his final months.

Your commitment to equality and wellbeing has been second to none in the House. I know how much you have done. It has indeed been an honour to serve on your Speaker’s Committee on equality, diversity and inclusion since very soon after I was elected, and I am grateful for the opportunity to do so. You have done incredible work, often behind the scenes, to secure a proxy vote for colleagues who are benefiting from that now. You have been committed to increasing diversity in senior and significant positions in the House, and the visibility of that diversity has gone a long way towards making the House seem feel more relevant and inclusive, not just to us here, but to those outside.

Points of Order

Debate between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow
Thursday 31st October 2019

(9 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Mr Speaker Hansard
31 Oct 2019, 11:11 a.m.

I am sympathetic to the hon. Gentleman’s concerns, and I think it is fairly obvious to the Leader of the House that I am sympathetic to the concerns of the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve). I am not myself privy to the rationale behind the absence of a confirmation. I do not know whether it is just an administrative matter because, to be fair, Prime Ministers have a very large volume of matters with which to deal, whether it is a transaction of business issue, or whether there is some substantive reason why the Prime Minister does not wish to provide the confirmatory response that the right hon. and learned Gentleman seeks. I cannot know which it is. It is not unreasonable for the Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee to seek that confirmatory response in this Parliament or an explicit parliamentary explanation in the House as to the reason for its absence. That, I think, is fair.

Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op) - Hansard

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. This is a slightly unusual circumstance, so may I seek your clarification? Can you confirm that the report cannot be published without that confirmation from the Prime Minister, or is this just a matter of best practice?

Mr Speaker Hansard
31 Oct 2019, 11:13 a.m.

I think that that is the case. Of course, the Intelligence and Security Committee is not a Select Committee; it is a Committee of Parliament, and therefore different arrangements apply to it. It is encouraging to see the right hon. Members for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) and for Rutland and Melton (Sir Alan Duncan), who have some experience of the Committee and its responsibilities, nodding in assent.

Prime Minister's Update

Debate between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow
Wednesday 25th September 2019

(10 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
25 Sep 2019, 10:02 p.m.

I would rather not deal with that now on the Floor of the House. I am well aware of IPSO and well aware of complaints that have been made to it from time to time, and colleagues will have their own view about that. There are hugely important issues here. On the one hand, there is an enormous premium, and rightly so, on a free media—a vigorous, outspoken, sometimes extremely irreverent and, from individuals’ or parties’ vantage points, hostile media. It is much better to have that than to have a media that is state controlled. On the other hand, words do have consequences, and it is very important that people in positions of authority or capacity to influence opinion, frankly, operate at a level that reflects their influence and their responsibility. I think this is something that it is better to discuss further outside the Chamber and that Members can raise with the relevant Minister if they so wish. But I am not insensitive to what the hon. Gentleman has said.

Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op) - Parliament Live - Hansard

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. In the Chamber we have ways in which we conduct ourselves. We have rules, some written, some unwritten, about decency and the way in which we speak to each other—and, indeed, conduct ourselves in conversation with you, Mr Speaker. Could you advise me as to whether there is any capacity for a formal review about the limits of language that we may use about colleagues, because if we are to change this, experience has shown us that raising it again and again in the Chamber is not enough? Given that we have other rules about how we conduct ourselves, could you advise the House as to whether there is any capacity to review the language used so that we can create other ways in which calling a colleague a traitor could be ruled out of order?

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

I must say to the hon. Lady, and I hope she will forgive me, that having heard the last remark she made, I did not hear any such statement made in the Chamber today. If such a statement was made, I did not hear it, I must say to her. I am not aware of such a statement having been made. Would I regard it as unparliamentary for one Member to call another Member a traitor? I absolutely would regard that as unparliamentary. Just off the top of my head, that would be my instinctive view. It would be totally unacceptable and I would ask the Member to withdraw.

More widely, perhaps I can say two things. First, the Procedure Committee can look at any issue that is referred to it. Secondly, I am not trying to abdicate responsibility, but I am conscious that 16 days ago I announced to the House my own intentions. What the hon. Lady has raised is very important. I think it will fall to a successor of mine to come to a view about some of these matters. With that successor Members should work, and I wish them every success and progress in doing so, but as I approach the end of my tenure, I am reluctant to say more than the circumstances warrant. That is unusual for me, I know, but there you go. I thank the hon. Lady for what she said.

We come now to the business statement by the Leader of the House and Lord President of the Council, Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow
Tuesday 21st May 2019

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
HM Treasury
Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op) - Parliament Live - Hansard

Will the Minister commit to ensuring that survivors of domestic abuse with insecure immigration status have safe and confidential reporting systems, without fear of being returned to their country of origin?

Mr Speaker Hansard

The question is actually about the fiscal effects of the no recourse to public funds condition. I think I know what the hon. Lady is driving at, but I hope that other people are as aware of the connection as I am.

European Council

Debate between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow
Thursday 11th April 2019

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
11 Apr 2019, 3:09 p.m.

I feel sure that the commuters of Chislehurst were greatly encouraged to be accompanied on their journey by the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill).

Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op) - Parliament Live - Hansard
11 Apr 2019, 3:09 p.m.

The Prime Minister, three years after the referendum, is finally engaged in cross-party talks, but she may recall that as long ago as the week she took office, I wrote to her calling for cross-party working in the national interest and for her to urgently engage the country, through a national convention, on how we move forward. So with committed Brexiteers like Peter Oborne now expressing concern about where we have reached and the risks of Brexit for our economy and our Union, who does she plan to involve in the more formal forum she has described in order to engage the public in how we move forward and use the next six months wisely to bring our divided country together?

Points of Order

Debate between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow
Thursday 14th February 2019

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 12:17 p.m.

Well, the hon. Gentleman offers his political opinion from a sedentary position and he is perfectly entitled to his political opinion, but I am answering questions about procedural propriety. Although I much value the camaraderie of the hon. Gentleman and his occasionally proffered advice, I do have other sources of advice and I do feel that I can manage with the advice that I am offered. I am quite capable, after nine and a half years, of discharging the obligations of the Chair, which I do, on the basis not of political opinion, but of what is right in parliamentary terms—not what somebody thinks about a political subject, but what is right in parliamentary terms. The Clerk and I regularly discuss these matters, and I will always do what I think is right by the House of Commons whether or not a particular person likes it. I also observe the Standing Orders of the House, which, I am sure, is something with which the hon. Gentleman, most of the time, is familiar.

Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op) - Hansard

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. You described the debate today as hugely important to Parliament and the country, as indeed it is. Would there not be an expectation, under Standing Orders, that, if the motion today is in the name of the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister is here either to open or to close the debate? Would that not be what the House might expect?

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 12:17 p.m.

No. It may well be desired by the hon. Lady, and it is clear that that is what she desires, but it is not to be expected, and there are very large numbers of cases in which it is not so. Perhaps she is trying to establish a new standard, but it is not yet there.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow
Tuesday 15th January 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Department of Health and Social Care
Mr Speaker Hansard
15 Jan 2019, noon

Including, of course, as the right hon. Gentleman knows from his recent meeting with me, the University of Buckingham in my constituency.

Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op) - Parliament Live - Hansard
15 Jan 2019, noon

One of my constituents, who is 17, seriously ill with breathing difficulties and in need of urgent specialist care, is waiting for a room to be available at the Royal Brompton. Is the Secretary of State aware of any delays and whether these have been caused by not having sufficient NHS facilities at the Royal Brompton to meet such urgent demand?

Speaker’s Statement

Debate between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow
Wednesday 19th December 2018

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Dec 2018, 3:47 p.m.

No, and I am not even complaining. I am not criticising the hon. Gentleman, and I am grateful for his good humour. The hon. Gentleman wanted to make his own point and he has made it. I stand by what I previously said. He has made an important point, but it is not a contradiction of what I have said about the impossibility of certainty, nor is it inconsistent with the spontaneous interpretation which I myself offered. But I repeat: it was my interpretation—I am not a lipreader, I am not a lipspeaker, and it is not for me to cast judgment in this matter. Fair-minded people, who are interested in the merits of the issue—and I am sure that includes the hon. Gentleman—will know that what I say is true.

Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra - Hansard

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I also agree that we have a responsibility, as Members of this House, to uphold the very highest standards in language about each other, but also about each other’s integrity, and I do hope that we will be able to see a renewed commitment to that next year. Mr Speaker, I have been proud to sit on your Committee for enhancing equality and diversity in this House since very soon after I was elected, and to put on the record my thanks to you for your commitment to equality and diversity in this House in so many different matters.

My point of order is on a slightly different topic, however. According to press reports of a leaked Department for Work and Pensions document, “EU Exit Planning—Economic Downturn”, the Government, as part of their long-term contingency planning in the event of no deal, suggested they would create a strategy with other Departments for handling the negative impacts, such as homelessness, poverty and suicide. If that is true, these are extremely serious allegations or matters, and should be brought explicitly to this House, so that we may have access to Government analysis as to who they expect to fall into poverty, where homelessness could rise, and who they see as being at risk of suicide.

Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Dec 2018, 3:49 p.m.

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her initial remarks and for her subsequent point of order, to which my response is that there may be an opportunity for those concerns to be aired during the course of the afternoon.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow
Tuesday 16th October 2018

(1 year, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Mr Speaker Hansard
16 Oct 2018, 11:51 a.m.

I was rather hoping that the right hon. Gentleman would be minded to consult the meerkat.

Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op) - Parliament Live - Hansard
16 Oct 2018, 11:51 a.m.

The Minister will be aware that wholesale prices of gas and electricity have risen significantly in the past year. What protections will she be ensuring for people on lower incomes, from poorer families, or who are older citizens and may be worried about the winter, particularly those who may still be using prepayment, pay-as-you-go meters?

Point of Order

Debate between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow
Tuesday 4th September 2018

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op) - Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Sep 2018, 6:19 p.m.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. At this morning’s sitting of the Select Committee on Exiting the European Union, the Department’s permanent secretary, Philip Rycroft, confirmed that approximately 800 pieces of legislation were required to come through Parliament before the end of February, regardless of the outcome of negotiations. He said:

“Our planning demonstrates that it is possible to achieve that, but there is a lot of work to do in order to manage it.”

When asked whether this was realistic, he said:

“This has been discussed a lot within Government”

and that it is

“challenging for us and for Parliament”.

Indeed, these 800 statutory instruments represent more than the total number of SIs that passed through Parliament last year. When asked whether there had been any discussion on whether Parliament’s hours may need to be extended, he said

“I would refer you to the Leaders of both Houses”.

Mr Speaker, have you had any conversations with the Leader of the House about or been aware of any potential plans to change the hours of this House because of the volume of SIs that will need to be approved by Parliament prior to Brexit? If so, do you know when any such proposals will be coming to this House?

Mr Speaker Hansard

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her point of order and for her characteristic courtesy in giving me advance notice of it. The short answer to her inquiry is that I have not had any such discussions with the Leader of the House on the specific matters that the hon. Lady raises. Members in all parts of the House will be aware that a European Statutory Instruments Committee was appointed just before the recess. Its work will be highly relevant to the points that she makes, and I have no doubt—and every expectation, therefore—that it will be beginning its work without delay. I am also sure that there will be further discussions on these matters—the time allocated for the consideration of such instruments and, possibly, issues relating to the length of time for which the House sits, in the light of the need for effective scrutiny—over the next few months. Form must follow function, as in architecture, if we are to do our jobs properly.

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

(Ping Pong: House of Commons)
Debate between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow
Wednesday 20th June 2018

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Bill Main Page
Department for Exiting the European Union
Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op) - Parliament Live - Hansard
20 Jun 2018, 3:31 p.m.

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak today. I will make just a couple of remarks.

I want to reiterate the comments that have been made that this is not about reversing Brexit or about tying the hands of the Government. This is about what happens and the role of Parliament if things go wrong. It is about clarity, about what will happen in this Parliament and to the interests of our country in the event of no deal, or no deal being agreed by this House.

It is incredibly disappointing to have reached this position. It could have been so different. A week after the referendum, I wrote to the then Prime Minister. I then wrote to the current Prime Minister. I made the argument that it was in the interests of our country that this House came together, that we had ways of working across parties, across this House and the House of Lords, and that we came to a solution together and worked through the issues together. But, step by step, we have seen a Government who have run and a Government who have hidden—a Government who have not even wanted to bring forward their own impact assessments so that we can take part in an evidence-based debate on the impact of Brexit on our country and get the answer right. A process by which this country comes together is essential if, in the autumn, we reach a situation in which what was unthinkable becomes thinkable. To have a way in which we handle that is our responsibility.

Every large Government project has a risk register and a response to those risks. This is a critical risk for our country and it is vital that, in advance of such a situation, we all know what is going to happen and that we have a say, on behalf of our constituents, about what could be an incredibly catastrophic situation for our economy, our country and our society.

Mr Speaker Hansard
20 Jun 2018, 3:33 p.m.

Order. I would like to accommodate further speakers.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow
Wednesday 25th April 2018

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Hansard
25 Apr 2018, 11:58 a.m.

The hon. Gentleman is in danger of setting a precedent against repetition in the House of Commons, but it is an isolated case. I am grateful to him.

Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op) - Parliament Live - Hansard
25 Apr 2018, 11:58 a.m.

Two thirds of the UK’s jobs in financial and professional services are outside London and many are in Scotland. Reuters estimates that 5,000 jobs in financial services might move because of Brexit. What advice has the Secretary of State been given about how this could affect jobs in Scotland?

Points of Order

Debate between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow
Wednesday 6th December 2017

(2 years, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Mr Speaker Hansard
6 Dec 2017, 1 p.m.

No, no more, says the right hon. Member for Brexiter—[Laughter.] I am very sorry for my discourtesy to the right hon. Gentleman; he is the last person that I could call a Brexiteer. He is from Exeter, not Brexiter, and if there were such a place, he would not wish to live there. I realise that—[Interruption.] And the right hon. Member for Broxtowe (Anna Soubry) chunters from a sedentary position that she would not want to live there either. I am well aware of that.

Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op) - Parliament Live - Hansard
6 Dec 2017, 1 p.m.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker Hansard

Very well. If there is a final point of order, I will try to treat of it briefly. Is it on the same matter?

Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra - Hansard

On the same matter, but slightly different.

Mr Speaker Hansard
6 Dec 2017, 1:01 p.m.

Slightly different. I will indulge the hon. Lady, briefly.

Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra - Hansard
6 Dec 2017, 1:01 p.m.

The House has been rightly informed by my fellow Select Committee Member, the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone), that we are still undergoing some deliberations. May I ask your advice on a related point? If the Secretary of State said to the Lords Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee a year ago that quantitative assessments of the impact of various scenarios were being undertaken, and said to another Select Committee today that that work had not been undertaken and that, in fact, the impact assessments had not begun, what procedure is there to address the point about evidence given one year being very different from that given the following year?

Mr Speaker Hansard
6 Dec 2017, 1:02 p.m.

The answer is, frankly, the same as that which I have given to other hon. Members, which is, to cut to the chase, that if any Member believes that a contempt of the House has taken place, the proper approach is for that Member to write to me privately about the matter. As I said, I would encourage Members to wait to hear the Committee’s conclusions before rushing to judgment, but that is the appropriate recourse. I will not make an assessment and pronounce now. I will look at it. I would simply say again that all these matters will be considered by the Exiting the European Union Committee. I think that it is clear that its work will shortly conclude and I will then assess anything that comes my way. I will do so in a timely manner. I could hardly be more explicit than that, and I hope that it is regarded by the House as helpful.

We will now move on to the motion on the ten-minute rule Bill. I must say that when I was at university with the hon. Member for Dudley North (Ian Austin), he did not always strike me as the most patient member of the university’s student union—he used to shout at me very noisily from a sedentary position every time I got up to speak, although his behaviour has improved modestly over the past 30 years. It seems that his patience is slightly greater, because it has had to be—he has on this occasion been waiting patiently.

Exiting the EU: Sectoral Impact Assessments

Debate between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow
Wednesday 1st November 2017

(2 years, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Department for Exiting the European Union
Mr Speaker Hansard
1 Nov 2017, 7:10 p.m.

The short answer to the hon. Gentleman is that it is very important that the House polices the enforcement of its own powers. That, I think, is an observation so clear as really to brook no contradiction. The power to which Members have referred is a power that has of course been deployed by both sides of the House today: as the Order Paper testifies, the power was deployed on another matter by the Government; in this case, the Opposition have sought to deploy that power and a motion to that effect has just been passed.

On the question of the importance of the House guarding and overseeing the operation of its own powers, the hon. Gentleman is correct: it is very important that the House does so. I say that without prejudice to a ruling on privilege or contempt in any particular case.

Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra - Hansard
1 Nov 2017, 7:10 p.m.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Following on from the point of order raised by the hon. Member for Totnes (Dr Wollaston), I seek your clarification on the timing of taking forward the requirements in the motion that has just been passed. I ask in the light of the fact that the list of sectors that was published was published four months after it was promised. Bearing in mind the urgency of the situation and there being only 17 months till Brexit day, can you clarify, Mr Speaker, whether it could be interpreted as contempt if there was such an extended delay as to make the information far less useful?

Mr Speaker Hansard
1 Nov 2017, 7:12 p.m.

Were that proposition put to me as part of a representation by anybody alleging a contempt, I would consider that matter most carefully. I would certainly go so far as to say that it would be a most material consideration. I understand the House’s desire for clarity on this matter, one way or the other. The question of time, in both the context of the decision taken by the House tonight and the wider context of public policy, is an important question, and yes, it does form part of the equation that the Chair would have to address.

Taylor Review: Working Practices

Debate between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow
Tuesday 11th July 2017

(3 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Mr Speaker Hansard
11 Jul 2017, 1:14 p.m.

Put a copy in the Library; I am sure it will be of educational value to all of us.

Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op) - Hansard

Matthew Taylor writes in his report:

“We must equip our children and young people to enter the labour market successfully, but Government, employers and individuals also need to make sure everyone is best placed to thrive throughout what might be a working life spanning 50 years or more.”

How do the Government square that with the previous Prime Minister’s policy of stopping compulsory work experience in schools, which in its first year led to a drop of 60,000 work experience placements in our schools across the country? Will she look at that again?

Feltham Young Offender Institution

Debate between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow
Tuesday 4th July 2017

(3 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op) - Hansard
4 Jul 2017, 1:18 p.m.

I rise to propose that the House debate a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely the report on the inspection by Her Majesty’s chief inspector of prisons on Feltham young offenders institution.

The report, published on 30 June, follows an unannounced inspection earlier this year. The reports on both Feltham A, which holds children and young people, and Feltham B, which holds young adults, make for shocking reading. That is particularly true of the report on Feltham A, which houses boys aged 15 to 18. Both reports raise numerous concerns about safety and education and purposeful activities in each.

The report on Feltham A has found that the prison is extremely unsafe for staff and for the boys and young people in it, and that it has become more dangerous even since the inspections in 2014 and 2015. The increased violence, combined with staffing shortages, has meant that 15 to 18-year-olds are on restricted regimes that, according to the chief inspector, have done

“little or nothing to contribute to their education, socialisation or, clearly, their safety.”

This is in marked contrast to the more optimistic report of the last inspection in 2015. Indeed, this report suggests that things have got markedly worse in the past two years, and a serious crisis point has now been reached.

The youth justice system is there to prevent children and young people under 18 from offending or reoffending. What is happening now is a dereliction of duty: 15 to 18-year-olds are receiving, on average, 7.5 hours of education a week; and 19,000 hours of schooling per year have been lost through non-attendance and the cancellation of classes. The regime has been described as

“quite simply, not safe for either staff or boys.”

Some of the young men are being locked up for 22 hours every day. During the inspection, it was found that a third of prisoners were locked up during the school day and were therefore not receiving training or education. Indeed, the media is reporting today a High Court ruling that a 16-year-old boy’s human rights were breached by his being kept in solitary confinement at Feltham young offenders institution and that he was unlawfully denied access to education and the ability to mix with other inmates.

There is an urgent need for a response from the Government on these issues and a clear plan to address them, including on whether the cuts have now led to an unsafe level of resources. Other issues include statutory duties; contracts for the provision of education in prison; staffing levels, staff recruitment, staff experience and staff retention; and factors contributing to increased violence. Another issue is whether now is not the time for an urgent rethink of Feltham’s future.

Young people will be coming out of our youth justice institutions more traumatised than when they went in and with reduced life chances. This is our next generation, and we are supposed to be an advanced society. These are children and their future and their welfare should be a matter for urgent debate in this House.

Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Jul 2017, 1:22 p.m.

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for asking for leave to propose a debate on a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration—namely, the report of the inspection by Her Majesty’s chief inspector of prisons on Feltham young offenders institution. I have listened carefully to the hon. Lady’s application, but I am not persuaded that it should be debated under the terms of Standing Order No. 24.

The hon. Lady is an experienced and versatile Member of the House, and she will know that there are other opportunities to secure attention to the issue. She will know what those opportunities are in both question and debate forms, and I have a feeling that she will probably be beetling towards the Table Office ere long to try one of those other options.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Seema Malhotra and John Bercow
Tuesday 4th July 2017

(3 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Department of Health and Social Care
Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Jul 2017, 12:33 p.m.

It is always quite interesting to study the habits of colleagues. The hon. Member for Feltham and Heston (Seema Malhotra) has perambulated from one side of the Chamber to the other; nevertheless, she is here and I suppose we should hear her. No? The hon. Lady had a question on the Order Paper. Your opportunity is now—get in there!

Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op) - Hansard
4 Jul 2017, 12:34 p.m.

During the election campaign, a lady in my constituency told me that she had had to wait nearly four hours for an ambulance to arrive at her home to help her off the floor. Does the Secretary of State have confidence in the ambulance service in London and other regions where targets have been consistently missed? Will he now look at extra resources for the ambulance service across the country, which is so urgently needed by all of our constituents?