Debates between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom

There have been 102 exchanges between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom

1 Tue 29th October 2019 Leaving the EU: Workers’ Rights
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8 interactions (513 words)
2 Thu 24th October 2019 The Economy
HM Treasury
3 interactions (1,295 words)
3 Thu 26th September 2019 International Climate Action
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
11 interactions (1,532 words)
4 Thu 4th July 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
2 interactions (334 words)
5 Thu 16th May 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
8 interactions (1,453 words)
6 Thu 9th May 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
17 interactions (822 words)
7 Thu 25th April 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
8 interactions (520 words)
8 Thu 11th April 2019 Points of Order
Leader of the House
3 interactions (184 words)
9 Thu 4th April 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
15 interactions (1,748 words)
10 Wed 3rd April 2019 Points of Order
Leader of the House
5 interactions (247 words)
11 Thu 28th March 2019 Sittings of the House (29 March)
Leader of the House
8 interactions (646 words)
12 Thu 28th March 2019 Points of Order
Leader of the House
5 interactions (532 words)
13 Thu 28th March 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
5 interactions (279 words)
14 Wed 27th March 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
2 interactions (212 words)
15 Tue 26th March 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
2 interactions (224 words)
16 Thu 21st March 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
16 interactions (2,037 words)
17 Mon 18th March 2019 Speaker’s Statement
Leader of the House
2 interactions (268 words)
18 Thu 14th March 2019 UK’s Withdrawal from the European Union
Department for Exiting the European Union
3 interactions (107 words)
19 Thu 14th March 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
5 interactions (222 words)
20 Wed 13th March 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
16 interactions (503 words)
21 Tue 12th March 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
20 interactions (875 words)
22 Thu 7th March 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
2 interactions (862 words)
23 Thu 28th February 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
3 interactions (446 words)
24 Thu 21st February 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
2 interactions (285 words)
25 Thu 21st February 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
5 interactions (264 words)
26 Thu 14th February 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
17 interactions (1,454 words)
27 Wed 13th February 2019 Retirement of the Clerk of the House
Leader of the House
4 interactions (1,245 words)
28 Thu 7th February 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
6 interactions (1,981 words)
29 Thu 31st January 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
2 interactions (377 words)
30 Mon 28th January 2019 Proxy Voting
Leader of the House
5 interactions (2,112 words)
31 Tue 22nd January 2019 Proxy Voting
Leader of the House
21 interactions (2,411 words)
32 Thu 17th January 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
14 interactions (1,118 words)
33 Wed 16th January 2019 Points of Order
Leader of the House
3 interactions (219 words)
34 Tue 15th January 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
9 interactions (282 words)
35 Tue 15th January 2019 European Union (Withdrawal) Act
Attorney General
5 interactions (317 words)
36 Thu 10th January 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
5 interactions (662 words)
37 Wed 9th January 2019 Points of Order
Leader of the House
8 interactions (493 words)
38 Wed 19th December 2018 Speaker’s Statement
Leader of the House
7 interactions (270 words)
39 Wed 19th December 2018 Points of Order
Leader of the House
7 interactions (310 words)
40 Thu 13th December 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
16 interactions (1,053 words)
41 Mon 10th December 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
15 interactions (1,080 words)
42 Thu 6th December 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
5 interactions (596 words)
43 Tue 4th December 2018 Business of the House (European Union (Withdrawal) Act)
Leader of the House
7 interactions (1,637 words)
44 Tue 4th December 2018 Privilege (Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Advice)
Leader of the House
15 interactions (1,243 words)
45 Thu 29th November 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
2 interactions (143 words)
46 Thu 22nd November 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
5 interactions (320 words)
47 Thu 1st November 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
11 interactions (1,645 words)
48 Thu 25th October 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
5 interactions (493 words)
49 Tue 16th October 2018 Bullying and Harassment: Cox Report
Leader of the House
5 interactions (297 words)
50 Thu 11th October 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
11 interactions (470 words)
51 Thu 13th September 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
5 interactions (330 words)
52 Thu 6th September 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
5 interactions (196 words)
53 Thu 19th July 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
6 interactions (417 words)
54 Wed 18th July 2018 Proxy Voting
Leader of the House
8 interactions (533 words)
55 Mon 16th July 2018 European Statutory Instruments Committee
Leader of the House
4 interactions (1,698 words)
56 Mon 16th July 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
2 interactions (334 words)
57 Thu 12th July 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
10 interactions (780 words)
58 Thu 5th July 2018 Points of Order
Leader of the House
7 interactions (1,106 words)
59 Thu 5th July 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
8 interactions (356 words)
60 Thu 28th June 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
9 interactions (928 words)
61 Thu 21st June 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
12 interactions (1,169 words)
62 Thu 14th June 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
20 interactions (1,701 words)
63 Tue 12th June 2018 Points of Order
Leader of the House
5 interactions (374 words)
64 Thu 7th June 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
14 interactions (1,235 words)
65 Thu 17th May 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
5 interactions (614 words)
66 Thu 10th May 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
11 interactions (426 words)
67 Thu 10th May 2018 Private Members’ Bills: Money Resolutions
Leader of the House
8 interactions (196 words)
68 Tue 1st May 2018 Tributes (Speaker Martin)
Leader of the House
2 interactions (1,163 words)
69 Thu 26th April 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
14 interactions (792 words)
70 Thu 19th April 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
5 interactions (329 words)
71 Mon 16th April 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
15 interactions (904 words)
72 Thu 29th March 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
14 interactions (1,051 words)
73 Thu 22nd March 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
8 interactions (373 words)
74 Thu 15th March 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
24 interactions (1,364 words)
75 Thu 8th March 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
14 interactions (616 words)
76 Thu 1st March 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
7 interactions (581 words)
77 Thu 22nd February 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
8 interactions (178 words)
78 Thu 8th February 2018 Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy
Leader of the House
9 interactions (2,066 words)
79 Thu 8th February 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
11 interactions (672 words)
80 Mon 5th February 2018 Points of Order
Department for Transport
3 interactions (101 words)
81 Thu 1st February 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
9 interactions (389 words)
82 Wed 31st January 2018 Restoration and Renewal (Report of the Joint Committee)
Leader of the House
7 interactions (1,469 words)
83 Thu 25th January 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
5 interactions (799 words)
84 Thu 18th January 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
12 interactions (1,456 words)
85 Thu 21st December 2017 Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy
Leader of the House
2 interactions (211 words)
86 Thu 21st December 2017 Business of the House
Leader of the House
11 interactions (882 words)
87 Thu 14th December 2017 Business of the House
Leader of the House
12 interactions (563 words)
88 Thu 7th December 2017 Business of the House
Leader of the House
8 interactions (461 words)
89 Thu 23rd November 2017 Business of the House
Leader of the House
17 interactions (1,393 words)
90 Thu 16th November 2017 Business of the House
Leader of the House
15 interactions (1,470 words)
91 Thu 2nd November 2017 Business of the House
Leader of the House
18 interactions (1,310 words)
92 Mon 30th October 2017 Sexual Harassment in Parliament
Leader of the House
8 interactions (340 words)
93 Thu 26th October 2017 Business of the House
Leader of the House
2 interactions (126 words)
94 Thu 12th October 2017 Business of the House
Leader of the House
11 interactions (990 words)
95 Tue 10th October 2017 Government Policy on the Proceedings of the House
Leader of the House
6 interactions (610 words)
96 Thu 14th September 2017 Business of the House
Leader of the House
8 interactions (687 words)
97 Thu 7th September 2017 Business of the House
Leader of the House
14 interactions (710 words)
98 Mon 17th July 2017 Business of the House (Private Members’ Bills)
Leader of the House
2 interactions (290 words)
99 Mon 17th July 2017 Scheduling of Parliamentary Business
Leader of the House
14 interactions (635 words)
100 Thu 6th July 2017 Business of the House
Leader of the House
6 interactions (268 words)
101 Thu 29th June 2017 Business of the House
Leader of the House
2 interactions (122 words)
102 Thu 22nd June 2017 Deputy Speakers 1 interactions (99 words)

Leaving the EU: Workers’ Rights

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Tuesday 29th October 2019

(9 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
29 Oct 2019, 12:56 p.m.

Well, Mr Speaker, that was incredibly disappointing. The hon. Lady obviously was not listening to a thing I said. If she will allow me, I will just repeat what I actually said, rather than what she asserts I said. It is this Government’s ambition to make the United Kingdom the best place in the world to work.

I find it extraordinary that the hon. Lady thinks that the only valid protector of UK workers’ rights can be the European Union. Why on earth does she think that her party, my party, the other Opposition parties and our strong trade union tradition in the UK are utterly incapable of building on the superb tradition we already have in the UK of exceeding workers’ rights in the EU in so many areas? Once we have left the European Union, the United Kingdom will not be represented in EU institutions and nor will we have any direct influence on future EU legislation on workers’ rights. Why then should the Government and this Parliament seek to engineer circumstances where we are required to implement legislation over which we have had no say?

As we leave the European Union, we have a unique opportunity to enhance protections for the workforce and tailor them to best support UK workers. It will be for the United Kingdom to create and enhance UK employment rights and to take advantage of the superb opportunities for new UK-wide skills, jobs and prosperity that await us after we have left the European Union.

Mr Speaker Hansard
29 Oct 2019, 12:57 p.m.

Most eccentric behaviour by the hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Bim Afolami). It is not necessary to raise one’s hand, as though in a classroom. It is quite sufficient for the hon. Gentleman simply to stand. I do not know what he did when he was at Eton, but he does not have to worry about that now. I am glad there is a beatific smile on the face of the hon. Gentleman. That itself is a source of some solace.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
29 Oct 2019, 1:05 p.m.

Yes. My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We have consulted on proposals for a single enforcement body for employment rights. That consultation closed on 6 October and the Government will respond to it. She will know very well that this Government are committed to extending, improving and enforcing some of the best workers’ rights in the world.

Mr Speaker Hansard

I am going to call a Member who cannot be improved in any way: Alison McGovern.

Break in Debate

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.

The Economy

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 24th October 2019

(9 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
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.

International Climate Action

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 26th September 2019

(10 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Mr Speaker Hansard
26 Sep 2019, 1:12 p.m.

Order. Before I call the shadow Secretary of State, it might be helpful if I indicate an intention to move on at 1.50 pm.

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.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

My hon. Friend is right. We will be able to choose our own VAT rates.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

Order. I am sorry, but we must now move on.

Business of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 4th July 2019

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Leader of the House
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.

Business of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 16th May 2019

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Leader of the House
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

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

I am getting a bit worried about the hon. Gentleman: masochism and underpants in the same intervention! Anyway, I gather that he is up incredibly early on Thursday mornings to write his witty interventions. If he had been up early on Monday morning, he could have usefully used his time at the Liaison Committee, where I was appearing. It was very poorly attended, and he could have been there to talk about the effectiveness of what goes on in this place and made a useful contribution to how Select Committees contribute to exiting the EU. He may not have had anything to say about business rates for Scotland, but he could have had something to say in the Adjournment debate of my lovely Parliamentary Private Secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Victoria Prentis), on self-build housing. I am sure that his constituents in Scotland would be interested in the prospect of many more homes for them. There is a lot that goes on in this place—it is not all about what goes on in this Chamber, as we all know—so that was extremely disappointing.

The hon. Gentleman is pleased that we are getting on with the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, and so am I. It is something that I have been calling for for a long time. It is vital that we give the Bill a Second Reading and that we actually leave the European Union. He also said that it was important to let the Scottish people decide. Well, the Scottish people did decide, in 2014, that they wanted to remain part of the United Kingdom. He was not listening to them then, and it is absolutely extraordinary that he stands up and argues for the Scottish people now when at every opportunity he is denying them the chance to remain part of the United Kingdom, which is good for all of us.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
16 May 2019, 11:57 a.m.

Order. No fewer than 34 hon. and right hon. Members are seeking to catch my eye and, as per usual, I am keen to attempt to accommodate them. However, I remind the House that there is a statement to follow and that I have to have regard to the importance of protecting the Backbench Business Committee business as well. As a consequence of all that, there is a premium upon brevity—first to be exemplified, I am sure, by the right hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Sir John Hayes).

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.

Business of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 9th May 2019

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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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

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 May 2019, 11:43 a.m.

I commend the hon. Lady for raising Scott’s story and I pay tribute to him and his family. It is just the most terrible thing when anyone takes their own life. I can tell her—I see she is quite moved—that a very good friend of my son also committed suicide, and he will also be taking action to try to raise money for those families who are struggling to ever get over this. The hon. Lady is absolutely right to raise this issue. The Government have the very first suicide prevention strategy, and we have many different measures that are being considered right across Departments to do what we can to try to prevent more suicides. She is absolutely right to raise this and I will see what can be done about a debate.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

I call Dr Julian Lewis.

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
9 May 2019, 11:50 a.m.

The hon. Lady raises a very important issue, and one that is dear to my heart. It is certainly vital in the perinatal period that women, their babies and their partners are given the support they need to get every baby off to the best start in life. I am not aware of exactly where Government policy is on this, but I encourage the hon. Lady to seek an Adjournment debate so that she can raise the issue with a Minister.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
9 May 2019, 11:50 a.m.

Even if the hon. Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North (Gavin Newlands) had momentarily forgotten the brilliance of his inquiry, the rest of us, thankfully, had not.

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.

Business of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 25th April 2019

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
25 Apr 2019, midnight

Well, obviously, we would miss our resident rock star, should the hon. Gentleman choose to leave us, but I can safely say that we will not miss his terrible jokes. As for him saying that the TIGgers are the only ones, I do not think that that is their aspiration. They hope to grow in number, and I am not sure whether he wishes them success or disaster; we will see.

The hon. Gentleman asks about the European elections. He will be aware that the Commons rejection of the withdrawal agreement on 29 March is the reason why we now face European elections. We in the Government have explored every avenue to find ways to avoid fighting the European parliamentary elections. After all, a majority of people in the United Kingdom chose to leave the European Union. It is absolutely unacceptable that, three years on, we face the need to fight European elections because this House has not found it in its heart to allow us to fulfil the will of the people. That is a great shame, and I am personally extremely upset about it. It is vital that we bring in the withdrawal agreement Bill, to give the House the opportunity to make progress on delivering on the will of the people.

Unfortunately, the hon. Gentleman, as he so often does, shows his determination to ignore the result of not only the referendum of 2016 but the referendum of 2014. His party is determined to ask people the question again because it did not like the answer, and that is not the way for a proper democracy in the western world to go about its business.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
25 Apr 2019, midnight

Order. A further 33 Members are seeking to catch my eye, and as colleagues know, it is my usual practice to seek to accommodate everybody. However, I have a responsibility to protect the Backbench Business Committee debates as well, and I must advise the House that the first of those two debates, on school funding, has no fewer than 23 would-be contributors. I cannot guarantee that everybody will be called, and there is a premium upon extreme brevity from now on.

Break in Debate

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
25 Apr 2019, 12:58 p.m.

As I said to the hon. Lady last week, my right hon. Friend the Minister for School Standards would be delighted to meet her to discuss that issue. I hope she has taken him up on that offer.

Mr Speaker Hansard
25 Apr 2019, 12:58 p.m.

Order. Sixteen more colleagues wish to contribute, and I would like to move on no later than 1.15 pm. Let us see what we can do.

Points of Order

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 11th April 2019

(1 year, 4 months ago)

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

rose—

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.

Business of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 4th April 2019

(1 year, 4 months ago)

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

The business for next week is as follows:

Monday 8 April—Motion to approve a statutory instrument relating to the draft Electronic Communications (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, followed by a motion to approve a statutory instrument relating to the draft Trade in Torture etc. Goods (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, followed by a general debate on UN international day for the elimination of racial discrimination. The subject for this debate was determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

Tuesday 9 April—Motion to approve the Burma (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, followed by a motion to approve the Venezuela (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, followed by a motion to approve the Iran (Sanctions) (Human Rights) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, followed by a motion to approve the Republic Of Guinea-Bissau (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations, followed by general debate on housing.

Wednesday 10 April—Motion to approve the draft Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 (Consequential Modifications) Order 2019, followed by a general debate on the 50th anniversary of the continuous-at-sea deterrent.

Thursday 11 April—General debate on the definition of Islamophobia. The subject for this debate was determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

As colleagues will be aware, discussions between the two main parties on the subject of EU exit are ongoing. Subject to the progress of those talks, there is the possibility that business will alter, and I will of course update the House as soon as possible in such an eventuality. We do want to enable all colleagues to have a break during holy week, but I would note that we will need to retain flexibility to potentially sit on Monday and Tuesday of that week—15 and 16 April—and I will, as always, endeavour to update the House about business as early as possible. In the same vein, it is likely that we may need to sit on Friday of next week, and I will update colleagues on this as early as possible next week.

Subject to the agreement of the House, Westminster Hall will not sit during holy week, following a discussion with the Chairman of Ways and Means, in order to make sure that as many House staff as possible get a well-deserved break.

Mr Speaker, yesterday was the third anniversary of the detention of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran. We continue to call for her release, and the Foreign Office is doing all it can to make sure that happens as soon as possible.

This week is also Autism Awareness Week, which gives me the opportunity to congratulate all those who have taken part in fundraising events this week, and to thank all those working so hard to support autistic people and their families.

Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Apr 2019, 10:58 a.m.

Order. Today is not as heavily subscribed as sometimes, but the first of the two Backbench Business Committee debates is very heavily subscribed, and of course there is a ministerial statement to follow, so I think the focus today is on brevity.

Break in Debate

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

The hon. Gentleman shouts from a sedentary position, but it was actually George Osborne as Chancellor under a Conservative Government who introduced the national living wage—[Interruption.] No, I am talking about the national living wage. Full-time workers receiving the national living wage will now be more than £2,750 a year better off compared with 2015.

Finally, the hon. Lady raised the serious issue of a photograph of the Leader of the Opposition being used for target practice. That is utterly unacceptable, and I condemn it in the strongest terms, as I am sure all right hon. and hon. Members would. It is vital that anybody with any kind of role in public life is extremely careful about the sort of images and portrayals that they put forward. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has written to the shadow Secretary of State to respond to the points made to him.

Mr Speaker Hansard

The brevity tsar himself, Sir Desmond Swayne.

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.

Points of Order

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Wednesday 3rd April 2019

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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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—

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

rose—

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.

Sittings of the House (29 March)

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 28th March 2019

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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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

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
28 Mar 2019, 5:10 p.m.

I can assure my hon. Friend that the motion seeks to ensure that we can meet the requirements of the EU Council for the extension that will enable us to consider these matters further.

In conclusion, I very much hope that the House can support this motion, and that it will agree to sit tomorrow so that we can make the important decisions the country expects us to take in its interests. I commend this motion to the House.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
28 Mar 2019, 5:10 p.m.

Order. The Leader of the House has moved the sittings motion, and I have selected amendment (a) to it in the name of Valerie Vaz. I just thought I would get that on the record.

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.

Points of Order

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 28th March 2019

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
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.

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

rose—

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.

Business of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 28th March 2019

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
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.

Business of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Wednesday 27th March 2019

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
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.

Business of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Tuesday 26th March 2019

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Mar 2019, 1:30 p.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for her questions. What I can say is that, as the Prime Minister has made very clear, the Government continue to believe that the best way to leave the EU is with a deal. The deal that she has negotiated has taken the best part of three years and is extremely complicated. It remains our view that it represents the best compromise for leaving the European Union while keeping a close economic and security partnership. As the Prime Minister has said, she will continue to have discussions with colleagues across the House to seek to build support for her deal, so we can, if possible, this week approve the deal and guarantee Brexit.

On the hon. Lady’s specific question, the draft statutory instrument the Government hope to bring forward tomorrow will provide for two durations that were agreed with the EU27. Exit day, as amended, would be 22 May if the withdrawal agreement is approved before 11 pm on 29 March. Otherwise, it would be 11 pm on 12 April.

Mr Speaker Hansard
26 Mar 2019, 1:31 p.m.

Order. I understand the appetite of colleagues. This is an important business statement by the Leader of the House, but its terms are relatively narrow and it is not the normal business statement so it really should focus on tomorrow, which is the subject matter on which the Leader focused.

Business of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 21st March 2019

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
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, 11:38 a.m.

My hon. Friend raises an important issue that is often raised at business questions and at other times. We have had several debates on it in the House over the past few weeks, and it is quite right that we do so. He will be aware that the Chancellor announced an extra £100 million in the spring statement for a short-term intervention to ensure that more police officers could be made available through overtime measures to tackle this. We have a serious violence strategy and a serious violence taskforce, and we are bringing in the Offensive Weapons Bill, which will make it harder to get knives. It will contain provisions for a knife crime prevention order, which will be absolutely vital. We are also extending stop-and-search powers and having a landmark review of drug misuse. The Government are taking action at every level, but ultimately we also have to look at prevention, and perhaps the most important part of that is the Government’s commitment to trying to ensure that young people are not tempted into a life of knife crime.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Mar 2019, 11:39 a.m.

Order. Just before I call the right hon. Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd), I hope the whole House, and everybody present in the Palace of Westminster, will want to join me in congratulating the right hon. Lady on her birthday.

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.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Mar 2019, 12:27 p.m.

I would certainly agree that it is always preferable for Ministers to come to this House, as is the convention, to make any important statements in the Chamber. I am not aware of the specific circumstances of what the hon. Lady mentions, so I cannot comment on that. However, we have Foreign Office questions on 2 April, and she could certainly raise the matter there, or perhaps seek an urgent question if it is something of a more urgent nature.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Mar 2019, 12:27 p.m.

I think it is in the interests of the hon. Member for Glasgow East (David Linden) that his Chief Whip be called before him. I call Mr Patrick Grady.

Speaker’s Statement

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Monday 18th March 2019

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
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.

UK’s Withdrawal from the European Union

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 14th March 2019

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Department for Exiting the European Union
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.

Business of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 14th March 2019

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
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.

Business of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Wednesday 13th March 2019

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
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.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

indicated dissent.

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.

Business of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Tuesday 12th March 2019

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
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.

Business of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 7th March 2019

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
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.

Business of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 28th February 2019

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
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.

Business of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 21st February 2019

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
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.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 21st February 2019

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
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.

Business of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 14th February 2019

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
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.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 11:25 a.m.

I know just how valuable local post offices are, particularly in rural or isolated areas, so I am genuinely sorry to hear about the closure of Goxhill post office. They are a crucial part of our communities and help to improve the lives of all our residents, particularly the elderly. My hon. Friend will be aware that the Government have invested over £2 billion in the Post Office in recent years, which includes the continuation of subsidy payments to support community post offices. I encourage my hon. Friend to raise his particular case with Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Ministers and to perhaps seek an Adjournment debate so that he can do so.

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 11:25 a.m.

I am keen to accommodate colleagues, but I want to be moving on by midday because the debate on the European Union is heavily subscribed. What is needed is brevity from all colleagues.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 11:29 a.m.

My hon. Friend has raised this issue a number of times in business questions, and he is absolutely right to do so. He will be aware that the Government are taking strong action to try to clamp down on the recent increase in some violent crimes. The Government have published our serious violence strategy and established a serious violence taskforce. In addition, our funding for the police includes an increase for next year of up to £970 million compared with 2018-19. However, my hon. Friend may wish to raise this question directly with Home Office Ministers on Monday 25 February.

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. In reiterating my plea for brevity, I gently point out to colleagues that if they now ask long questions, they do so in the full knowledge that they will be stopping other colleagues taking part.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

We are working very closely with pharmaceutical companies to make sure that patients will all continue to receive the medicines they need. This involves asking many of them to ensure a minimum of six weeks’ additional supply of medicine over and above the usual buffer stocks by 29 March. Patients, doctors and community pharmacists should not stockpile medicines—obviously, that then in itself presents a problem—but we are confident that, if everyone does as they are being asked to do, the supply of medicines will be uninterrupted in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Speaker Hansard

Can we have single-sentence questions? I call Daniel Zeichner.

Retirement of the Clerk of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Wednesday 13th February 2019

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Leader of the House
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.

Business of the House

Debate between John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 7th February 2019

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
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.

Mr Speaker Hansard
7 Feb 2019, 11:36 a.m.

Order. I thank the Leader of the House both for her opening statement and for her response to the shadow Leader of the House. I think the position is clear, but this is of course very important in relation to Brexit business, and the right hon. Lady has been, I think, most solicitous in trying to attend to the concerns of the House. Last night, I received notice of the draft business for next week, and I noted with dismay that the scheduled debate on an amendable motion had been removed and that we were in fact due to have a debate on Back-Bench business on Thursday the 14th. I confess that I was very alarmed by that. In so far as that has now been reversed, as in the statement that the Leader of the House has announced, and the debate on an amendable motion will take place, I am greatly heartened by that.

I just want to say to the House, because I think it is very important that there is clarity, that I hope the position reflects—I think it does—the commitments made in the Chamber. On 29 January, at column 671, the Prime Minister said:

“Furthermore, if we have not brought a revised deal back to this House by Wednesday 13 February, we will make a statement and, again, table an amendable motion for debate the next day.”—[Official Report, 29 January 2019; Vol. 653, c. 671.]

Two days later, at the business question, the Leader of the House—responding, I believe, to the hon. Member for Cardiff West (Kevin Brennan)—reiterated the position by saying:

“We will, of course, have the opportunity to enjoy the Prime Minister coming back for a second meaningful vote as soon as possible. Just to be clear, if we have not brought a revised deal back to this House by Wednesday 13 February, we will make a statement and again table an amendable motion for debate the next day.”—[Official Report, 31 January 2019; Vol. 653, c. 975.]

As recently as yesterday, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, the right hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr Lidington), deputising for the Prime Minister, said very specifically:

“She”—

the Prime Minister—

“said that the meaningful vote itself would be brought back as soon as possible, and if it were not possible to bring it back by the 13th, next Wednesday, the Government would then make a statement and table a motion for debate the next day.”—[Official Report, 6 February 2019; Vol. 654, c. 322.]

So I think we have the commitment that had previously been made, and I believe that it is the full intention of the Government to honour that commitment. But the dependability of statements made and commitments given, whatever people’s views on the merits of the issues, is absolutely critical if we are to retain or, where lost, to restore trust, so there can of course be no resiling from the commitment which I think is explicit and which has been made: no dubiety, no backsliding, no doubt. I think that is clear.

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