Debates between Mrs Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn

There have been 118 exchanges between Mrs Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn

1 Wed 30th October 2019 Grenfell Tower Inquiry
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (900 words)
2 Wed 24th July 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (1,893 words)
3 Wed 17th July 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,540 words)
4 Wed 10th July 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
17 interactions (1,725 words)
5 Wed 3rd July 2019 G20 and Leadership of EU Institutions
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (3,243 words)
6 Wed 3rd July 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
16 interactions (1,443 words)
7 Wed 26th June 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,726 words)
8 Mon 24th June 2019 European Council
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (2,301 words)
9 Wed 19th June 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (2,055 words)
10 Wed 12th June 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,803 words)
11 Wed 22nd May 2019 Leaving the European Union
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (3,378 words)
12 Wed 22nd May 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,648 words)
13 Wed 15th May 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
17 interactions (1,660 words)
14 Wed 8th May 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Scotland Office
13 interactions (1,781 words)
15 Wed 1st May 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for International Development
15 interactions (1,886 words)
16 Thu 11th April 2019 European Council
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (2,510 words)
17 Wed 10th April 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (1,539 words)
18 Wed 3rd April 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,478 words)
19 Fri 29th March 2019 United Kingdom’s Withdrawal from the European Union
Attorney General
5 interactions (1,817 words)
20 Wed 27th March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (1,479 words)
21 Mon 25th March 2019 European Council
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (1,328 words)
22 Wed 20th March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,533 words)
23 Wed 13th March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,388 words)
24 Tue 12th March 2019 European Union (Withdrawal) Act
Cabinet Office
9 interactions (1,601 words)
25 Wed 6th March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
13 interactions (2,023 words)
26 Wed 27th February 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
15 interactions (1,536 words)
27 Tue 26th February 2019 Leaving the European Union
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (2,422 words)
28 Wed 20th February 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
17 interactions (1,971 words)
29 Wed 13th February 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,935 words)
30 Tue 12th February 2019 Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (2,047 words)
31 Wed 30th January 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
21 interactions (1,859 words)
32 Tue 29th January 2019 European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018
Cabinet Office
9 interactions (1,467 words)
33 Wed 23rd January 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
15 interactions (1,463 words)
34 Mon 21st January 2019 Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (2,070 words)
35 Wed 16th January 2019 No Confidence in Her Majesty’s Government
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (419 words)
36 Wed 16th January 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (1,577 words)
37 Tue 15th January 2019 European Union (Withdrawal) Act
Attorney General
2 interactions (851 words)
38 Mon 14th January 2019 Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (3,250 words)
39 Wed 9th January 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,914 words)
40 Wed 19th December 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
19 interactions (1,738 words)
41 Mon 17th December 2018 European Council
Cabinet Office
7 interactions (1,337 words)
42 Wed 12th December 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
19 interactions (1,354 words)
43 Mon 10th December 2018 Exiting the European Union
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (867 words)
44 Wed 5th December 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
19 interactions (1,407 words)
45 Tue 4th December 2018 European Union (Withdrawal) Act
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (490 words)
46 Mon 3rd December 2018 G20 Summit
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (2,688 words)
47 Wed 28th November 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,778 words)
48 Mon 26th November 2018 Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (3,230 words)
49 Thu 22nd November 2018 Progress on EU Negotiations
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (2,656 words)
50 Wed 21st November 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,618 words)
51 Thu 15th November 2018 EU Exit Negotiations
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (3,345 words)
52 Wed 14th November 2018 70th Birthday of the Prince of Wales
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (2,099 words)
53 Wed 14th November 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
19 interactions (1,463 words)
54 Wed 31st October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
17 interactions (1,544 words)
55 Wed 24th October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
15 interactions (1,695 words)
56 Mon 22nd October 2018 October EU Council
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (1,480 words)
57 Wed 17th October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
17 interactions (1,362 words)
58 Mon 15th October 2018 EU Exit Negotiations
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (1,496 words)
59 Wed 10th October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (1,974 words)
60 Wed 12th September 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
17 interactions (1,426 words)
61 Wed 5th September 2018 Salisbury Update
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (3,308 words)
62 Wed 5th September 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (1,603 words)
63 Wed 18th July 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
21 interactions (1,561 words)
64 Mon 16th July 2018 NATO Summit
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (2,696 words)
65 Mon 9th July 2018 Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (2,826 words)
66 Wed 4th July 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (1,531 words)
67 Mon 2nd July 2018 June European Council
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (3,484 words)
68 Wed 27th June 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
19 interactions (1,570 words)
69 Wed 20th June 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
13 interactions (2,059 words)
70 Wed 13th June 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
17 interactions (1,728 words)
71 Mon 11th June 2018 G7
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (2,338 words)
72 Wed 6th June 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,378 words)
73 Wed 23rd May 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,618 words)
74 Wed 16th May 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,693 words)
75 Wed 9th May 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (1,228 words)
76 Wed 2nd May 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
13 interactions (1,727 words)
77 Wed 25th April 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
12 interactions (1,757 words)
78 Wed 18th April 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,520 words)
79 Mon 16th April 2018 Syria
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (1,461 words)
80 Mon 16th April 2018 Syria
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (4,726 words)
81 Wed 28th March 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (1,812 words)
82 Mon 26th March 2018 National Security and Russia
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (603 words)
83 Mon 26th March 2018 European Council
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (3,194 words)
84 Wed 21st March 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
17 interactions (1,650 words)
85 Wed 14th March 2018 Salisbury Incident
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (2,784 words)
86 Wed 14th March 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Wales Office
15 interactions (1,695 words)
87 Mon 12th March 2018 Salisbury Incident
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (2,280 words)
88 Wed 7th March 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (2,317 words)
89 Mon 5th March 2018 UK/EU Future Economic Partnership
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (2,998 words)
90 Wed 28th February 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (1,811 words)
91 Wed 21st February 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,132 words)
92 Wed 7th February 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (1,486 words)
93 Wed 24th January 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Scotland Office
13 interactions (1,605 words)
94 Wed 17th January 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,715 words)
95 Wed 10th January 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
19 interactions (1,995 words)
96 Wed 20th December 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (1,550 words)
97 Mon 18th December 2017 European Council
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (2,684 words)
98 Wed 13th December 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (1,771 words)
99 Mon 11th December 2017 Brexit Negotiations
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (3,458 words)
100 Wed 6th December 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,762 words)
101 Wed 22nd November 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,668 words)
102 Wed 15th November 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
19 interactions (2,222 words)
103 Wed 1st November 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,889 words)
104 Wed 25th October 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
21 interactions (1,785 words)
105 Mon 23rd October 2017 European Council
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (2,960 words)
106 Wed 18th October 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
17 interactions (1,933 words)
107 Wed 11th October 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
15 interactions (1,566 words)
108 Mon 9th October 2017 UK Plans for Leaving the EU
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (3,011 words)
109 Wed 13th September 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
17 interactions (1,901 words)
110 Wed 6th September 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
13 interactions (1,773 words)
111 Wed 19th July 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
19 interactions (1,685 words)
112 Mon 10th July 2017 G20
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (2,943 words)
113 Wed 5th July 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
16 interactions (1,880 words)
114 Wed 28th June 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Northern Ireland Office
15 interactions (2,138 words)
115 Mon 26th June 2017 European Council
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (3,302 words)
116 Thu 22nd June 2017 Grenfell Tower
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (4,322 words)
117 Wed 21st June 2017 Debate on the Address
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (717 words)
118 Tue 13th June 2017 Election of Speaker
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (2,004 words)

Grenfell Tower Inquiry

Debate between Mrs Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 30th October 2019

(9 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
30 Oct 2019, 2:25 p.m.

That is a first, Mr Speaker: someone rises to intervene but does not actually do it. I thank my hon. Friend; he represents a community with mixed housing so also has to deal with these issues.

There are serious questions to be asked about what the Government have done, about what has been happening with the funding of the London fire service and, of course, about the performance of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The night of 14 June will never, ever be forgotten. I have never forgotten talking in my office that evening to my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington (Emma Dent Coad)—who has been and is a wonderful representative for the people there—about what it was like being an MP. She had been an MP for only for a few days. I said, “It’s great, but it’s hard work and you need to get into it slowly.” She went home and had probably the greatest test of her life two hours later. The way she has spoken up for her community and what she has done is something we should all be very proud of.

The shameful fact is that feet have been dragged. The exact same cladding is on similar high-rise blocks; sprinklers have not been fitted; and thousands of people in this country will go to bed tonight, and tomorrow night, not feeling safe. I pay tribute to the firefighters and, most of all, I pay tribute to the dignity and solemnity of the survivors and the bereaved, who continue to campaign for justice so that no one else has to suffer like them.

I welcome Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s report and look forward to the second part of the inquiry. I want us to have a properly funded fire service in all parts of the country. I thank Grenfell United and all the survivors for everything they have done to try to bring people together and keep communities together. I welcome the fact that the Prime Minister has said that an appropriate memorial will be constructed near or on the Grenfell site, but the real memorial will be a properly funded fire service. The real memorial will be safety for people in every tower block throughout the country. Currently, 60,000 people are unsure of their own safety, and there are many more tower blocks with other kinds of composite materials that are just as dangerous. We need very tough regulation to ensure that all our people can sleep safely and soundly in their beds at night, rather than having in their minds the image of that burning monstrosity of a fire, which took the lives of so many wonderful, wholly innocent people.

Mrs Theresa May (Maidenhead) (Con) - Hansard
30 Oct 2019, 2:28 p.m.

I thank the Government for scheduling this debate, which gives the House the very earliest opportunity to debate the recommendations from Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s report on part 1 of the public inquiry into what happened at Grenfell Tower. I thank the Prime Minister for his commitment to make time for further debate on this issue when Members from all parties will have had an opportunity to look more fully at the report and its recommendations.

Today’s debate gives us an opportunity to recognise, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition did, the appalling nature of the tragedy that took place at Grenfell Tower in June 2017. I thank my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister for the tone that he took in his speech and the understanding that he showed. This was a horrific loss of life and, of course, it was a tragedy that should never have happened. I pay tribute to the survivors and to the families and friends of those who died for the dignity and fortitude that they have shown in circumstances that none of us would ever want to face. They have shown not just dignity and fortitude, but commitment and dedication in their struggle for the justice they want for all those who lost their lives and also for those who lost everything they possessed and the home that they had built up.

I also thank and pay tribute to the survivors who gave evidence to the public inquiry. Reliving those horrific times cannot have been easy, but without their evidence it would not have been possible for Sir Martin Moore-Bick to produce his report. I also thank him for his thoroughness and for the considerate and thoughtful way in which he has produced this report. It is detailed, and aspects of it are shocking.

The public inquiry was set up not only to get to the truth of what happened on that night, but, crucially, to understand why it happened. As has already been mentioned by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and by others in interventions, there are many questions as yet unanswered because they lie in phase 2 of the inquiry. Crucially, they are issues around building regulations, the cladding, the enforcement of regulations, and why cladding that was non-compliant with the regulations was put up—and it was agreed it be put up—on this building. It is significant that Sir Martin Moore-Bick found himself able to say clearly that the cladding was non-compliant. That was an important aspect and finding of phase 1 of the inquiry, although greater detail in relation to those matters will be gone into in phase 2 of the inquiry.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Mrs Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 24th July 2019

(1 year ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Cabinet Office
The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

First of all, I thank my hon. Friend for all his work on the Homelessness Reduction Act, which, crucially, we are seeing actually having an impact—that is so important for the people who are benefiting from the work he did. I know that he has been doing a lot of work as part of the all-party parliamentary group on smoking and health. I agree that we need to start viewing health as an asset to protect throughout our lives. That is why we have taken bold action on smoking and childhood obesity. I am proud that we have delivered not only the biggest ever cash boost in the history of the national health service, but a long-term plan that, as he said, will focus on prevention—as well as on cancer care and mental health—trying to ensure that people do not get ill in the first place. Preventing smoking and obesity are key parts of better lives for people in the future.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
24 Jul 2019, 12:04 p.m.

Today marks the final day in office for the Prime Minister, and I pay tribute to her sense of public duty. Public service should always be recognised. Being an MP, a Minister or indeed a Prime Minister is an honour that brings with it huge responsibility and huge pressures personally and, I am sure the Prime Minister and probably the whole House would agree, on those very closest to us, who are often not able to answer back for the criticisms made against them. I hope she has a marginally more relaxing time on the Back Benches. Perhaps, like the Chancellor, she will even help me oppose the reckless plans of her successor. [Interruption.] If I may continue—[Interruption.] I am glad the Government party is in such good heart today, for tomorrow it won’t be.

In the past three years, child poverty has gone up, pensioner poverty has gone up, in-work poverty has gone up, violent crime has gone up, NHS waiting times have gone up, school class sizes have gone up, homelessness has gone up and food bank use has gone up. Does the Prime Minister have any regrets about any of the things I have just said?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
24 Jul 2019, 12:07 p.m.

It is very good to see the Conservative party in good heart; it is more than I can say for the Labour party. But let me just say something to the right hon. Gentleman about my record over the past three years and how I measure it. It is in the opportunity for every child who is now in a better school. It is in the comfort for every person who now has a job for the first time in their life. It is in the hope of every disadvantaged young person now able to go to university. It is in the joy of every couple who can now move into their own home. At its heart, politics is not about exchanges across the Dispatch Box. Nor is it about eloquent speeches or media headlines. Politics is about the difference we make every day to the lives of people up and down this country. They are our reason for being here, and we should never forget it.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
24 Jul 2019, 12:07 p.m.

Yes, politics is about real life and politics is about what people suffer in their ordinary lives. I did not mention that per-pupil school funding has gone down, police numbers are down and GP numbers are falling. In the 2017 Conservative manifesto, the Prime Minister promised that no school would have its budget cut, that she would protect TV licences for the over-75s and that she would halve rough sleeping. Which of those pledges is the Prime Minister most sorry not to have achieved?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
24 Jul 2019, 12:08 p.m.

I am pleased to hear that the right hon. Gentleman spent some time reading the Conservative party manifesto from 2017—he has not been known for always reading the documents he stands up and talks about. Had he read the manifesto properly, he would know that we made a pledge on rough sleeping: to halve it by 2022 and to stop rough sleeping by 2027. I am pleased to say that in the past year we have seen rough sleeping going down. In particular, rough sleeping is going down in those areas where this Government have been taking action.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

I do not quite know where the Prime Minister gets her figures from on rough sleeping. All I know is that I travel around this country, just like other Members of this House, and I talk to people who have had a disaster in their lives and end up rough sleeping. We are the fifth richest country in the world. It is surely wrong that anyone should end up sleeping on the streets of this country. We can and should do something about it.

I have often disagreed with the Prime Minister and have many criticisms of her policies, but I welcome the reduction in the stake on fixed odds betting terminals, the adoption of the children’s funeral fund and the scrapping of employment tribunal fees. Which of those policies is the Prime Minister most proud of?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
24 Jul 2019, 12:10 p.m.

I am proud of all the policies that we have introduced that have been improving people’s lives. I am proud of the fact that through the balanced management of the economy that we have done, we now see more people in work in this country than ever before. I am proud of the fact that there are more children in good and outstanding schools. I am proud of the fact that the attainment gap between the disadvantaged and the advantaged has been narrowed under this Government. And I am proud of the fact that we are putting the biggest cash boost in its history into our national health service. We are ensuring that the national health service—the most beloved institution in this country—will be there for people into the future. This is a Conservative Government—my Government—delivering on the things that matter to people in their day-to-day lives.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
24 Jul 2019, 12:10 p.m.

The Prime Minister may have noticed that none of those things that I mentioned were actually in the Conservative party manifesto in 2017, but every one of them was a Labour pledge in 2017. On Brexit, the Prime Minister’s own red lines ruled out any sensible compromise deal. Only after she had missed her own deadline to leave did the Prime Minister even begin to shift her position, but by then, she no longer had the authority to deliver. Her successor has no mandate at all. Does she have confidence that the right hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson) will succeed where she has not?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

I worked tirelessly to get a good deal for the UK, and I also worked hard to get that deal through this Parliament. I voted for the deal. What did the right hon. Gentleman do? He voted against a deal. He voted to make no deal more likely, and when there was a prospect of reaching consensus across this House, the right hon. Gentleman walked away from the talks. At every stage, his only interest has been playing party politics, and frankly, he should be ashamed of himself.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

We have had three years of bungled negotiations, and we now have the spectacle of a Prime Minister coming into office with no electoral mandate looking for a Brexit deal that has been ruled out by the European Union, or in the case of a no deal, ruled out by the majority in this House and by anyone who understands the dangers to the British economy of a no deal. The next Prime Minister thought the Isle of Man was in the European Union and that the European Union made rules about kippers that, in fact, were made by the Government that he was part of. He also said that the UK could secure tariff-free trade through article 24 of the general agreement on tariffs and trade, despite the International Trade Secretary, the Attorney General and the Governor of the Bank of England all confirming that that is not possible.

At the start of 2018, the—[Interruption.] It’s coming, don’t worry. At the start of 2018, the Prime Minister herself set up a new unit to counter fake news, charged with “combating disinformation”. How successful does she think that has been?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

I have to say to the right hon. Gentleman that I fear that our success has not been what we wanted it to be from the amount of fake news and fake information that he uses at that Dispatch Box.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
24 Jul 2019, 12:14 p.m.

Maybe the Prime Minister can have a word with her successor on the way out, but let me conclude—[Interruption.] For today. Let me conclude by welcoming some of the Prime Minister’s notable U-turns over the last couple of years. The cruel dementia tax was scrapped. Plans to bring back grammar schools were ditched. The threat to the pensions triple lock was abandoned. The withdrawal of the winter fuel payments was dumped. The pledge to bring back foxhunting was dropped, and the Government binned their plan to end universal free school meals for five to seven-year-olds. The Prime Minister has dumped her own manifesto. Given that her successor has no mandate from the people—no mandate on which to move into office—does she not agree that the best thing that the right hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip could do later on today when he takes office is to call a general election and let the people decide their future?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
24 Jul 2019, 12:14 p.m.

My first answer to the right hon. Gentleman is no. If he wants to talk about people ducking manifesto commitments and commitments made during general election campaigns, might I remind him that the Labour party and he said that they would abolish student debt? After the election, he rowed back on that promise. What else did he say during the general election campaign? He said he was committed to Trident. What did he say afterwards? He said, no, he was not committed to Trident at all. He has broken promise after promise to the people of this country.

As this is the last time that the right hon. Gentleman and I will have this exchange across these Dispatch Boxes—[Hon. Member: “Are you going to answer the question?”] I was going to say that it is a strength of our British democracy that the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have these exchanges across the Dispatch Boxes every week, two swords’ lengths apart, and that no quarter is sought and none is given. That is as it should be in our adversarial parliamentary democracy. But he and I are very different people and very different politicians and we approach the issues the country faces in different ways. I have spent all but one of my years in the House on the Front Bench trying to implement the policies I believe in, while he has spent most of his time on the Back Benches campaigning for what he believes in, often against his own party, but what we have in common is a commitment to our constituencies. I saw that after the terrorist attack in Finsbury Park mosque in his constituency. Perhaps then I could finish by saying this: as a party leader who has accepted when her time is up, might I suggest that perhaps the time is now for him to do the same? [Hon. Members: “More!”]

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Mrs Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 17th July 2019

(1 year ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Cabinet Office
The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2019, 12:04 p.m.

I recognise the way in which my hon. Friend has championed a number of cases—he has referenced one of them—over the years in this House. Indeed, I had a number of meetings with him when I was Home Secretary in relation to that case. It is important that our police are able to operate to the highest professional standards. They have operational independence as to who they investigate and how they conduct those investigations, but I am sure the whole House would want to say that we expect our police to conduct those investigations properly and fairly, and to ensure that, when a crime is committed, they are investigating that crime.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2019, 12:06 p.m.

I agree with the Prime Minister’s congratulations to Lewis Hamilton on winning on Sunday and to the fantastic cricket team, which ended up winning the world cup. I also thank New Zealand—what a brilliant final it was, and what a great advertisement for the wonderful game of cricket.

“Time is running out” on climate change—that is what the Environment Secretary said yesterday. Why did the all-party Environmental Audit Committee accuse the Government of “coasting” on climate change?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2019, 12:07 p.m.

The Government have a fine record on climate change, including our recent legislation on net zero emissions, but there is an issue that needs to be addressed in this House. Before the right hon. Gentleman stands up and parades himself as the champion of climate change, the champion of the people or the defender of equality and fairness, he needs to apologise for his failure to deal with racism in the Labour party.

Just today, 60 distinguished members of the Labour party have written in the newspapers:

“The Labour party welcomes everyone*…(*except, it seems, Jews)…This is your legacy Mr Corbyn…You still haven’t opened your eyes…You still haven’t told the whole truth…You still haven’t accepted your responsibility…You have failed…the test of leadership.”

Apologise now.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

rose—[Interruption.]

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

This party was the first to introduce anti-racist legislation into law in Britain. This party totally opposes racism in any form whatsoever. Antisemitism has no place in our society, no place in any of our parties and no place in any of our dialogues. Neither does any other form of racism.

Some 60% of Tory party members think Islam is a threat to western civilisation. The Prime Minister has said that she will act on Islamophobia within her own party. I hope she does. I look forward to seeing that being dealt with, as we will deal with any racism that occurs within our own party as well.

Last week, the Committee on Climate Change published its annual report, which described the Government’s efforts on climate change not a bit like what the Prime Minister just said; it described them as being run like “Dad’s Army”. The Government’s target is to reduce carbon emissions by 57% by 2030. Can the Prime Minister tell us how much progress has been made on that?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2019, 12:08 p.m.

On the climate change issue, the chairman of that committee said:

“The UK is the first major economy to set a net-zero emissions target and intends to host the world’s leaders at next year’s landmark climate conference (COP26). These are historic steps forward and position the UK at the forefront of the global low-carbon transition.”

The right hon. Gentleman, I note, did not apologise in response to my first questions. We deal with Islamophobia in the Conservative party. Any allegations of Islamophobia are dealt with, unlike his way in the Labour party where he is failing to deal with antisemitism. He can stand up and say all he likes about the Labour party introducing anti-racism legislation. Just last week, Trevor Phillips, the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said the following:

“Labour today presents like a textbook case of institutional racism.”

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2019, 12:10 p.m.

This party opposes racism in any form whatsoever in our society. And coming from a Prime Minister who encouraged the hostile environment, sent “go home” vans around London, and deported British citizens, which she has now had to compensate them for, I think that she might look to her own party and her own Government’s record as well.

The issue of climate change is obviously crucial, and we support the zero emissions target. The latest figures, however, released in April show that the Government are going to miss that target by 10%—the gap is widening. At the current rate, they will not meet their 2050 target until 2099, and, at that point, it will be too late for our planet and our children. Clean energy investment has fallen three years in a row. Why does the Prime Minister think that that is the case?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2019, 12:12 p.m.

Still no apology, I note, from the right hon. Gentleman.

We have outperformed in our first and second carbon budgets, and we are on track to meet the third. We have taken the historic step of legislating for net zero emissions by 2050. We have yet to see all the policies and proposals in our clean growth strategy coming into play and having an effect on our target. This is a party that is acting on climate change; this is a party that is delivering for the people of this country; this is a party that is dealing with the issues that matter to people day to day. The right hon. Gentleman needs to start dealing with the issues that matter to the members of his Labour party, as shown in the newspapers this morning.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2019, 12:13 p.m.

It was a Labour Government who introduced the Climate Change Act 2008. It is the Labour party that is committed to dealing with the issues of climate change. Let me give the Prime Minister a few suggestions on why renewable investment is falling: her Government scrapped the feed-in tariff; they failed to invest in the Swansea tidal lagoon; and they slashed investment in onshore wind. If we are serious about tackling this climate emergency, we need to fully acknowledge the scale of the problem. Labour is committed to measuring total UK emissions—not just what we make here, but what we buy from abroad also—so that we have an accurate figure of what the emissions really are by consumption in this country. Will the Prime Minister match that commitment?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

The right hon. Gentleman knows that we measure our targets according to the international definitions of those targets, and that is exactly the right thing for us to do. He talks about renewables. Let us just look at the record on renewables: last year, renewables generated a record amount of electricity in this country—33%; and over the past year, we have generated record levels of solar and offshore wind energy. He talks about what the Labour Government did, but 99% of solar power deployed in the UK has been deployed under Conservative Governments.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2019, 12:13 p.m.

I think that we are actually hiding the scale of the problem by passing the buck to other countries as well. If all emissions are counted, the figures would actually be 69% higher in this country.

Every year, air pollution kills 40,000 in this country. In 2017, the Conservative manifesto promised to take action against poor air quality in urban areas. What actions have been taken?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2019, 11:30 a.m.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 under the Conservatives in government. Our clean air strategy is the most ambitious air quality strategy in a generation, described by the World Health Organisation as

“an example for the rest of the world to follow.”

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2019, 12:16 p.m.

Those are wonderful words, they truly are. The only problem is, air pollution levels breach legal limits in 37 of 43 areas of this country. Two thirds of our children are growing up in an area where pollution breaches legal limits. This crisis is literally suffocating our children and damaging their health. Once again, this Government are dodging their responsibility while Labour leads the way. For example, the Mayor of London is leading the way on better air quality in the capital city.

The Tories promised the greenest Government ever. They have failed on carbon emissions. They have failed on air pollution. They have failed on solar. The Prime Minister says that she wants action, but she supports fracking and has effectively banned onshore wind. The climate emergency simply cannot be left to the market. We all need to take responsibility to secure our common future. Labour led the call to declare a climate emergency and has pledged a green industrial revolution with new jobs. When will this Conservative Government face up to the situation, get a grip on this crisis and deal with it?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

We have already seen over 400,000 new jobs in the area of renewables and clean growth, and we expect to see up to 2 million more. I am not going to take any lectures from the Labour party on this issue, when the last Labour Government ignored advice that diesel fumes would damage our environment and incentivised diesel cars through the tax system.

The right hon. Gentleman talks about dodging responsibility. The person who has been dodging his responsibility during this PMQs is the right hon. Gentleman. The real disgrace is his handling of racism in the Labour part. Activists protesting, MPs leaving and staff resigning—what would his great heroes Attlee, Bevan and Benn think? Look what he has done to their party. We will never let him do it to our country.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Mrs Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 10th July 2019

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Cabinet Office
The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 12:06 p.m.

I know my hon. Friend has been campaigning on this matter for some time and has met Ministers to discuss it. I understand that the area is about to benefit from refurbished modern trains on the Crewe to Derby line from December this year, as part of the new east midlands rail franchise. The Department for Transport will have heard my hon. Friend’s call to reopen the station at Meir, and I know that he will continue to campaign on behalf of all his constituents.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 12:07 p.m.

I too regret the resignation of Sir Kim Darroch. I think the comments made about him are beyond unfair and wrong. He has given honourable and good service, and he should be thanked for it. The whole House should join together in deeply regretting his feeling that he has to resign.

I join the Prime Minister in passing condolences to the family of Tammy Minshall, who died providing emergency services to our people.

Many people welcomed the powerful points the Prime Minister made when she was first appointed about burning injustices in Britain. Does she agree that access to justice is vital in order to tackle burning injustices?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 12:07 p.m.

There are many burning injustices and they can be tackled in a variety of ways. That is the action I have taken not just as Prime Minister but as Home Secretary. I will give the right hon. Gentleman one example: the race disparity audit, which shines a light on inequality in public services, is enabling us to put into place action that helps to ensure that people across this country, whatever their background, have access to the public services they need.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 12:08 p.m.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Legal Aid and Advice Act 1949. That Act, introduced by the post-war Labour Government, gave all people access to justice, not just the rich, and was an essential pillar of a welfare state and a decent society. The Tory-Lib Dem coalition slashed legal aid in 2013 and the results are clearly very unfair. The number of law centres and other not-for-profit legal aid providers has more than halved, and there are now legal aid deserts across the country. Does the Prime Minister think that has helped or hindered the fight against burning injustices?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 12:09 p.m.

The point I was making to the right hon. Gentleman, which he seems to fail to recognise, is that the whole question of burning injustice is not about just access to the legal system—[Interruption.] It is all very well Opposition Members shouting about this. If the Labour party really cared about burning injustices, they would have done a darned sight more when they were in power to deal with them.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 12:09 p.m.

Some people have very short memories; the Tory-Lib Dem coalition cut legal aid but also brought in fees for employment tribunals. The then Minister for employment relations, the hon. Member for East Dunbartonshire (Jo Swinson), piloted that through the House. Since that time, my union, Unison, took the Government to court and won, and, as a result, employment tribunal fees were cancelled. The cuts to legal aid affect people such as Marcus, a 71-year-old on pension credit, a leaseholder who is threatened with being evicted. He says:

“I’ve paid taxes and national insurance all my life. How is it right that when I’m being bullied and threatened with homelessness, the state won’t protect me?”

He goes on to say:

“I’ve been working to 2 am every night for the past six months collecting evidence…I’ve got no idea if I’ve prepared my evidence correctly”.

Doesn’t Marcus, trying to save his own home, deserve legal aid, in order to get proper representation in a court and be fairly heard?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 12:11 p.m.

Obviously I recognise the concerns that Marcus has about taking his case, but the right hon. Gentleman might reflect on the fact that a quarter of the Ministry of Justice’s budget is spent on legal aid. We spent £1.6 billion on legal aid last year. We are committing to ensuring that people can access the help they need into the future, but that is only one part of the picture. We have published a plan for legal support, to maintain and improve access to support for those in need, and we are conducting a fundamental review of criminal legal aid fee schemes, which will consider criminal legal aid throughout the life cycle of a criminal case. So there are aspects of this issue that we are indeed looking at, but it is important that we ensure that we are careful with the provisions we make for legal aid, and as I say, a quarter of the MOJ budget is spent on legal aid.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 12:12 p.m.

Just so that everyone is aware of this, Labour is committed to restoring legal aid funding for family law, housing, benefit appeals, judicial review preparation and inquests, and real action on immigration cases. And, as we announced yesterday, we will end the leasehold scandal.

The Department for Work and Pensions is failing disabled people. The MOJ has spent tens of millions of pounds each year defending appeals, over two thirds of which were won by the claimants. Rather than spending millions defending incorrect and often immoral decisions, would that money not have been better used increasing poverty-level benefits and providing legal aid to disabled people wrongly denied their basic dignity?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 12:13 p.m.

I am not going to take any lectures from the right hon. Gentleman on what this Government have done for disabled people. We are committed to tackling the injustices facing disabled people, so that everyone can go as far their talents will take them. Our spending on support for disabled people and people with health conditions is at a record high. We are seeing many more people—over 900,000 more disabled people—in work as a result of what this Government have done. If he is really interested in tackling injustices, let me tell him that the biggest injustice he should tackle is in his own Labour party—he should deal with antisemitism.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

My party is totally committed to eliminating racism in any form and antisemitism in any form. While the Prime Minister is about the lecturing, how about the investigation into Islamophobia in her party? [Interruption.]

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 11:55 a.m.

This is one lecture the Prime Minister might not want to take from me, but she might care to listen to what the United Nations said when it condemned the UK Government for their “grave” and “systematic violations” of the rights of disabled people. The Windrush scandal has resulted in the Government having to allocate £200 million in compensation to people wrongly deported from this country and denied services, with their lives totally pulled apart. These are people who have given their life to this country and our services. Does she think that scandal would have happened if legal aid had not been slashed by the Government and so many of those people had not been denied any representation in court?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 12:14 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman really needs to think rather more carefully about his arguments. Let us look at the issue of people of the Windrush generation. I have apologised for what happened to people of the Windrush generation. I have been very clear that they are British, they are here and they have a right to be here, and that these things should not have happened. We have apologised for the mistakes that have been made.

The right hon. Gentleman raises issues relating to people who were incorrectly deported. The initial historical review looked at around 11,800 detentions and removals and identified 18 people who were most likely to have been wrongly deported or removed. Of those, six were removed or detained under the last Labour Government.

The way the right hon. Gentleman talks, we would think he was a man of principle, but what do we actually see from him? Labour policy is to ban non-disclosure agreements, but his staff have to sign them. He was an anti-racist; now he ignores antisemitism. He has been a Eurosceptic all his life; now he backs remain. He is truly living up to the words of Marx: “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them, well, I have others”—

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 12:16 p.m.

rose—

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 12:16 p.m.

I know the right hon. Gentleman is keen to get to the Dispatch Box when the name Marx is mentioned. I was merely going to point out to him that those were the words not of Karl but of Groucho.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 12:17 p.m.

Coming from the Prime Minister who created the hostile environment that brought about the Windrush scandal, who ordered “Go home” vans to drive around London, who refuses to acknowledge Islamophobia in her own party, and whose party consorts with racists and antisemites in the European Parliament and sucks up to those Governments across Europe, we do not need those kinds of lectures.

One legal aid firm said:

“We see people more desperate and in more extreme need than they were five years ago, and there is nowhere to send them. Those people are invisible to the system.”

That is a denial of people’s basic rights. The United Nations says that legal aid cuts have

“overwhelmingly affected the poor and people with disabilities”.

Without equal access to justice, there is no justice. Today, in modern Britain, millions are denied justice because they do not have the money. Isn’t that a disgrace? Isn’t that a burning injustice?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 12:18 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman may do his best to ignore the antisemitism in his party, but I think—[Hon. Members: “Answer the question!”] I think he should listen to the words of the former Labour party general secretary, the noble Lord Triesman, who said:

“We may one day be the party of anti-racism once again but it certainly isn’t today.”

The right hon. Gentleman has asked questions about injustice; let me tell him about an injustice. It is an injustice when you force people who are working hard day and night to earn an income for their family to pay more taxes because of a Labour party economic policy in government that led to the destruction of our economy. What do we see from the Labour party? You earn more; they want you to pay more tax. You buy a home; they want you to pay more tax. You want to leave something to your children; they want you to pay more tax—Labour’s £9 billion family tax. Labour used to have a slogan of “Education, education, education”; now, it is just “Tax, tax, tax. Injustice, injustice, injustice.”

G20 and Leadership of EU Institutions

Debate between Mrs Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 3rd July 2019

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Cabinet Office
The Prime Minister (Mrs Theresa May) - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 1 p.m.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on my final G20 and final European Council as Prime Minister.

At this G20 summit in Japan we discussed some of the biggest global challenges facing our nations, including climate change, terrorist propaganda online, risks to the global economy and rising tensions in the Gulf. These discussions were at times difficult, but in the end productive. I profoundly believe that we are stronger when we work together. With threats to global stability and trade, that principle is now more important than ever, and throughout this summit my message was on the overriding need for international co-operation and compromise. Alongside discussions with international partners on economic and security matters, I made it clear that Britain would always stand by the global rules as the best means of securing peace and prosperity for all of us. I will take the main issues in turn.

On no other issue is the need for international collaboration greater than in the threat to our countries and our people from climate change. As I arrived in Osaka last week, I was immensely proud that Britain had become the world’s first major economy to commit in law to ending our contribution to global warming by 2050. I urged other G20 countries to follow Britain’s lead and set similarly ambitious net zero targets for their own countries. Those gathered at this year’s summit are the last generation of leaders with the power to limit global warming, and I believe we have a duty to heed the call from those asking us to act now for the sake of future generations.

Taken together, the G20 countries account for 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Discussions were not always easy, but 19 of the G20 members agreed to the irreversibility of the Paris climate change agreement and the importance of implementing our commitments in full. It remains a disappointment that the United States continue to opt out on such a critical global issue.

I outlined Britain’s continued determination to lead the way on climate change through our bid to host, along with Italy, COP 26 next year. And, recognising that more needs to be done to support developing countries in managing the impacts of climate change, I announced that the UK’s aid budget will be aligned with our climate change goals and used to support the transition to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Both as Prime Minister and previously as Home Secretary, I have repeatedly called for greater action to protect people from online harms and remove terrorist propaganda from the internet. In 2017, the attacks in Manchester and London showed how technology could be exploited by terrorists. Following those events, the UK took the lead and put this issue squarely on the global agenda. Through our efforts, the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism was established—a body that has leveraged technology to automate the removal of propaganda online. But the horrendous attack in Christchurch reminded us that we must maintain momentum, and ensure a better co-ordinated and swifter response to make sure that terrorists are never able to broadcast their atrocities in real time. I therefore welcome the pledge by G20 leaders at this year’s summit to do more to build on existing efforts and stop terrorists exploiting the internet. The UK will continue to lead the way in this, including through our support of the major technology companies in developing a new crisis response mechanism.

At this summit, discussions on the global economy were held against the backdrop of current trade tensions between the United States and China. In this context, I reaffirmed Britain’s commitment to free and fair trade, open markets and the rules-based trading system as the best means to bolster prosperity and build economies that work for everyone. The UK has long argued that the rules governing global trade need urgent reform and updating to reflect the changing nature of that trade. We continue to press for action to build upon the agreement reached at last year’s summit for World Trade Organisation reform, and I believe the best way to resolve disputes is through a reformed and strengthened WTO, rather than by increasing tariffs.

This G20 was also an opportunity to discuss wider global issues with others, including Prime Minister Abe, President Erdoğan, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and United Nations Secretary-General Guterres. In my conversation with Prime Minster Abe, I paid tribute to him for hosting this G20 and thanked him for his role in strengthening the relationship between the UK and Japan—a relationship that I have every confidence will continue to grow over the coming years.

In a number of my meetings, I discussed Iran and rising tensions in the Gulf. Escalation is in no-one’s interest, and engagement is needed on all sides to find a diplomatic solution to the current situation and to counter Iran’s destabilising activity. At the same time, I was clear that the UK will continue to work intensively with our Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action partners to keep the Iran nuclear deal in place. The breach of that deal by Iran is extremely concerning, and together with France, Germany and the other signatories to the deal, we are urging Iran not to take further steps away from the agreement, and to return to compliance. The deal makes the world safer and I want to see Iran uphold its obligations.

I believe wholeheartedly in never shying away from difficult conversations when it is right to hold them. In my meeting with President Putin, I told him that there can be no normalisation of our bilateral relationship until Russia stops the irresponsible activity that threatens the UK and its allies. The use of a deadly nerve agent on the streets of our country was a despicable act, which led to the death of Dawn Sturgess. I was clear that the UK has irrefutable evidence that Russia was behind the attack, and that we want to see the two individuals responsible brought to justice. While the UK remains open to a different relationship, for that to happen the Russian Government must choose a different path.

In my discussion with UN Secretary-General Guterres, we spoke about the importance of the multilateral system and the UK’s strong support for it. I also raised concerns about the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the need to ensure a comprehensive response, as well as emphasising the critical nature of continued humanitarian assistance in Yemen.

I am proud that the UK continues to play its part in trying to provide relief in countries such as Yemen, and that we remain committed to spending 0.7% of our gross national income on development assistance. That commitment puts us at the forefront of addressing global challenges, so I am pleased that at this summit we announced our pledge of £1.4 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, to help save lives.

Turning to the European Council, the focus of these discussions was on what are known as the EU’s top jobs—the appointments at the head of the EU’s institutions and the EU’s High Representative. As I have said before, this is primarily a matter for the remaining 27 EU member states, but while we remain a member of the EU, I also said that we would engage constructively, which we did throughout. After long and difficult discussions over the last few days, the Council voted for a package of candidates with an important balance of gender, reflecting the diversity of the European Union. The Council formally elected Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel as President of the European Council. The Council also nominated German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen as candidate for President of the European Commission; Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell Fontelles as candidate for High Representative for foreign affairs and security policy; and the French managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, as candidate for president of the European Central Bank.

The Commission President will now be voted on by the European Parliament in the coming weeks. After being approved by the Commission President, the High Representative will then be voted on as part of the College of Commissioners by the European Parliament before the college is appointed by the European Council. After consultations with the European Parliament and the ECB governing council, the European Council will appoint the president of the ECB. The European Parliament will also vote on its President today. Subject to the approval of the European Parliament, this will be the first time that a woman will be made President of the European Commission, and I would like to congratulate Ursula von der Leyen on her nomination.

This was a package supported by the UK, and it is in our national interest to have constructive relationships with those who are appointed. Once we leave the European Union, we will need to agree the details of our future relationship. We will continue to share many of the same challenges as our closest neighbours, and we will need to work with them on a variety of issues that are in our joint interests. But that will now be a matter for my successor to take forward. I commend this statement to the House.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 1:01 p.m.

I want to say thank you to my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea East (Carolyn Harris) for the fantastic campaign she has mounted and the comfort that she has brought to those who have been through the unimaginable strain of losing a child. Those who, sadly, will lose a child in future will at least know that, because of her work, one part of the commemoration of that child’s life will be made a little bit easier. On behalf of so many families, may we just say thank you very much for everything you have done?

I thank the Prime Minister for an advance copy of her statement. While this year marks the 20th anniversary of the G20, there is little progress to commemorate in tackling the urgent challenges that we face. Where the leaders of the world’s most powerful countries fail, we look instead to civil society, trade unions and community groups, and to an inspirational generation of young people, for the transformative change that is required.

This summit’s communiqué did not make the necessary commitments on climate change. Does the Prime Minister agree that President Trump’s failure to accept the reality of man-made climate change, his refusal to back the Paris accords and his attempts to water down the communiqué’s commitments are a threat to the security of us all, all over this planet? Is the Prime Minister concerned that he could soon be joined by one of her possible successors, who has described global warming as a “primitive fear … without foundation”? It is the responsibility of the G20 to lead efforts to combat climate change, as the Prime Minister herself acknowledged. These nations account for four fifths of global greenhouse gas emissions. As I confirmed last week, we back the UK’s bid to host COP 26 next year. In 2017, the Government agreed to:

“Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions”

in developing countries. So can the Prime Minister explain why 97% of the UK’s export finance support for energy in developing countries goes to fossil fuels, and less than 1% is for renewable energy? The Government’s pledge to cut carbon emissions by 2050 is an empty one. They have no serious plan to invest and continue to dismantle our renewable energy sector while supporting fracking.

The Prime Minister says that the international community must stand against Iran’s destabilising activity in the region. The Iran nuclear deal agreement was a multilateral agreement signed up to by President Obama, and a number of other Governments, but reneged on by President Obama’s successor. Beyond just saying that we need to protect the deal, what action has the Prime Minister taken to ensure this? What conversation did she have with President Trump on this issue?

Is it not about time that the Prime Minister’s Government stood up to our supposed ally, Saudi Arabia? She says that she met Crown Prince bin Salman but gives no details. So can I ask her: did she raise the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, did she raise the killing of thousands of Yemenis, and did she pledge to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia? Did she raise with him the Saudis’ financing and arming of Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar, who is fighting the UN-recognised Government of Libya, and who, only last night, has been held responsible for an airstrike on a migrant centre in Tripoli that killed 40 people and injured dozens more? The Prime Minister rightly points to the need to protect people from terrorist propaganda, so before she leaves office, will she finally release, in full, the report she suppressed on the Saudi Government’s funding of extremist groups?

The Prime Minister talks of confronting countries that interfere in the democracy of other nations, including Russia. I remind her that it was Labour that delivered amendments to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill, which introduced the Magnitsky powers. The truth is that the Conservatives have questions to answer about the almost £1 million-worth of donations from wealthy Russians to their party under her watch. If we stand up to corruption and condemn human rights-abusing regimes, then politicians should not be trading cash for access.

The Prime Minister mentioned the worrying outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Could she outline what assistance the Department for International Development is providing in that terrible situation? I welcome the Government’s £1.4 billion for the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria. However, the main conclusion from the G20 is that the world deserves better leadership for the urgent challenges facing humanity.

Moving on to the EU summit in Brussels, it has taken leaders three days to come up with a decision on who should take the EU’s top jobs. But a three-day summit pales into insignificance next to the three years of failure that this Government have inflicted on us all over Brexit. I would like to congratulate those who have been appointed or nominated to new roles within in the EU, especially Josep Borrell as High Representative for foreign affairs and security. For as long as we remain in the EU, we should seek reform. That includes increasing our efforts to tackle tax evasion and avoidance; stepping up our co-operation over the climate emergency that faces us all, all over this continent and this planet; and challenging migration policies that have left thousands to drown in the Mediterranean while sometimes subcontracting migration policies to Libyan militias.

Can the Prime Minister explain her decision for the Conservative party to join a political group that includes far-right, Islamophobic parties such as Vox of Spain? It claims that Muslims will impose Sharia law on Spain, turn cathedrals into mosques, and force all women to cover up. It is a party that campaigned to repeal gender violence laws and threatened to shut down feminist organisations. Does the Prime Minister understand the worry that this will cause many people in this country who will rightly be asking why her party has aligned itself with this far-right organisation whose policies are built on division, discrimination and hate?

Finally, does the Prime Minister agree that whoever succeeds her should have the courage to go back to the people with their preferred Brexit option to end the uncertainty and get Brexit resolved?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 11:44 a.m.

The right hon. Gentleman raised a number of issues, moving between them with sometimes no apparent link, but I will try to address them. On climate change, I have already expressed my disappointment that the United States has pulled out of the Paris agreement. I repeated to President Trump at the G20 my hope that the United States will come back into the Paris agreement in due course. I am pleased that the other members of the G20 held fast to the irreversibility of the Paris agreement and the commitments we had previously made. As I said in answer to Prime Minister’s questions, we are showing the lead on this. I am encouraging others to follow, and they are showing their willingness to do so.

The right hon. Gentleman asked about international development money in relation to climate change. I am pleased to say that we have committed to provide at least £5.8 billion of international climate finance between 2016 and 2020. This is not only a question of energy mix. It is also about climate resilience, and we are leading on that for the UN climate action summit in September this year. We have already helped 47 million people to cope with the effects of climate change, supported 17 million people to access clean energy and reduced or avoided 10.4 million tonnes of CO2, so we are putting our words into action.

The right hon. Gentleman asked about my meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. I did indeed raise the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. I was very clear that we expect a transparent and open judicial process and for those who are responsible to be brought to account. I also raised the importance of a political solution in Yemen and the fact that we are supporting the work of UN special envoy Martin Griffiths and want to ensure that all parties are committed to coming around the table and finding a political solution in Yemen.

The right hon. Gentleman raised the issue of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I had a meeting with the director general of the WHO at the G20 summit, during which we discussed that. I also discussed it with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. This is a serious humanitarian challenge. The security situation in eastern DRC makes dealing with this outbreak more difficult in terms of operating through Government and other organisations. The United Nations and the WHO are committed to working through community groups on the ground. He asked about our response. We are the second largest bilateral donor to the response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the largest to preparedness efforts in neighbouring countries. We have been working not only where there has been an outbreak in the DRC but to ensure that neighbouring countries can respond effectively. I am pleased to say that, when there was a small number of cases in Uganda, Uganda responded extremely well and very professionally, and we have not seen further cases there.

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned Russia. I thought his comments were a bit rich—who was it, after the nerve agent attack on our streets in Salisbury, who believed the Russian Government rather than our own intelligence agencies? It was the right hon. Gentleman, so I will take no lessons from him on our relationship with Russia.

The right hon. Gentleman talked about the European Council. I do not think I heard him welcome the gender balance in the appointment of the top jobs. It is important that we see the first woman nominated to be President of the European Commission and a woman nominated for the role at the European Central Bank.

The right hon. Gentleman talked about Brexit. It was always going to take two years to negotiate; that is the time set out in the treaty under the article 50 process. We brought the proposals to the House. He rejected those proposals. He has not brought forward proposals that command a majority—[Interruption.] I think the Foreign Secretary said that he has.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Mrs Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 3rd July 2019

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Cabinet Office
The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:04 p.m.

I thank my right hon. Friend for raising this issue. I have been shocked, as I am sure Members across the House have been, to see the scenes from Hong Kong on Monday and the use of violence at the Legislative Council. The vast majority of the hundreds of thousands who marched did so peacefully and lawfully. This week’s anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong is a reminder of the importance of the rights and freedoms enshrined in the joint declaration, and it is vital that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and the rights and freedoms set down in the Sino-British joint declaration are respected. I have raised my concerns directly with Chinese leaders, as have my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and other Ministers, and we will continue to do so.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:04 p.m.

I am sure the whole House will want to express its condolences to the families of the rail workers who were hit and killed by a train this morning in Port Talbot. There will obviously have to be a full investigation into this, but our thoughts must be with the families and friends of those that were killed and injured.

I join the Prime Minister and others in congratulating Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin on becoming Bishop of Dover. She has been absolutely brilliant as Chaplain to the House, but she was also brilliant when she was a parish priest in Hackney. She shows such empathy for people, and we wish her well on her way. I am sure she will do really well.

I also congratulate the England women’s football team on their successful journey as far as the semi-finals and wish the men’s cricket team well in their current match against New Zealand, which I understand is 134-1 at the moment. Pride this weekend will be a source of great enjoyment. I think of all those who suffered in the past to try to defeat homophobia in our society and will be enjoying the joy of the streets of London this weekend.

The Chancellor says that a no-deal Brexit would cause a £90 billion hit to the public finances. The former Foreign Secretary says concerns about no deal are “confected hysteria”. Who does the Prime Minister think is right?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:06 p.m.

First, I echo the right hon. Gentleman’s remarks about the incident in Port Talbot. Secondly, the figure that was quoted was actually publicly available at the time. It appeared in the Government’s economic analysis in relation to these matters. If he is worried about no deal, let me say this: I have done everything I can to ensure we leave the EU with a deal. I can look workers in the eye and tell them I voted to leave with a deal that protected jobs. He cannot do that because he voted three times for no deal.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:07 p.m.

The Prime Minister should be aware that her deal was rejected three times by the House, and when something has been rejected three times, one might think about an alternative method of doing things. A confidential Cabinet note apparently says that the Government are not properly prepared for no deal, and NHS trusts have warned that it will pose a major risk to NHS services. Furthermore, Make UK, which represents UK manufacturers, recently said:

“There is a direct link between politicians talking up the prospect of no-deal and British firms losing customers overseas and British people losing jobs.”

Is Make UK guilty of confected hysteria or is it speaking up for its members and its very legitimate concerns right across the manufacturing sector?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

Business organisation after business organisation showed earlier this year that they wanted people in the House of Commons to vote for the deal so that we could leave with a deal.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:07 p.m.

The Prime Minister could not get her own party to support it. The Opposition parties did not support it either. As the danger of no deal looms ever larger, JLR, Ford, Nissan, Toyota and BMW have all said that no deal would threaten their continued presence in the UK. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has said:

“Leaving the EU without a deal would trigger the most seismic shift in trading conditions ever experienced”.

Furthermore, within the last week Vauxhall has said that its decision to produce the new Astra at Ellesmere Port will be conditional on the final terms of the UK’s exit from the EU. What can the Prime Minister say to workers at Ellesmere Port and elsewhere—[Interruption.]

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:08 p.m.

Why does the Prime Minister not speak to both candidates to succeed her and remind them that as they trade insults over no deal, thousands of jobs are at risk the more they ratchet up their rhetoric?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

The right hon. Gentleman asks what I would say to workers at Ellesmere Port. I would tell them that I and the vast majority of Conservative Members in this House voted to protect their jobs. The Labour party whipped three times against a deal. The Labour party whipped three times for no deal. The threat to those Ellesmere Port jobs is from the Labour party. [Interruption.]

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:09 p.m.

The Labour party is about protecting jobs and living standards in this country, not crashing out without a deal. With tariffs up to 40% on some basic foodstuffs, will the Prime Minister set out exactly what impact no deal would have on food prices and on the farming industry in this country?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:10 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman claims that the Labour party stands up for protecting jobs and living standards It has not only voted three times for no deal, thereby putting jobs under threat; it has also consistently, on a number of occasions, voted against the very tax cuts that help people to maintain their living standards. We will take no lectures from the Labour party on protecting people’s jobs and living standards.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:11 p.m.

As I recall, it was this party that put down a motion to take no deal off the table. The managing director of Birds Eye says that no deal would add 20% to the price of some foodstuffs “instantaneously”, and the National Farmers Union says that it would be very damaging to British farming. Both the candidates to succeed the Prime Minister have claimed that they will renegotiate the backstop. Can she confirm that section (12) of the European Council decision to extend article 50 ruled out reopening the withdrawal agreement, and therefore the backstop?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:11 p.m.

I do not think I need to tell the right hon. Gentleman what was in the Council conclusions. They are clear, and I have made them clear in the House. The right hon. Gentleman says that it was the Labour party that put down a motion to abandon no deal and take it off the table. The trouble is that when it came to the votes that mattered—when it came to the votes that would actually have an impact on stopping no deal—the Labour party whipped against them. That is absolutely typical of the right hon. Gentleman: all mouth and trousers.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:12 p.m.

We made very clear what the danger of no deal is, and we will do everything to prevent a no-deal exit, because we know the damage it will do to jobs and living standards in this country.

This Government have comprehensively failed on Brexit. Jobs are at risk, inward investment has fallen off a cliff, and manufacturing is at a six-year low. No deal threatens to crash the economy. The Government themselves say that no deal would cut growth by 10%, yet we have two leadership candidates who are threatening no deal, and, indeed, are competing with each other on the rhetoric of no deal. This Government is now an irrelevance. The two candidates to succeed the Prime Minister have only fantasy plans. As she and her successors have no answers, does she not accept that the best thing to do would be to go back to the people and let them decide which way we go?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

I have made the point in answer to five of the right hon. Gentleman’s questions that if you want to ensure that this country leaves the European Union with a deal, you have to vote for a deal, which is what he and his colleagues have consistently refused to do. But there is another question for the Labour party. With all this talk about no deal, the question really is “Where does the Labour party stand on Brexit?” The shadow Brexit Secretary does not support Brexit. The shadow Foreign Secretary does not support Brexit. The shadow Chancellor does not support Brexit. The Labour deputy leader does not support Brexit. Labour wants to block Brexit, and that would be a betrayal of the many by the few.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Mrs Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 26th June 2019

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Cabinet Office
The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Jun 2019, 12:06 p.m.

I absolutely recognise, as we do across the Government, Yorkshire’s enthusiasm for and dedication to devolution and the potential seen there for harnessing local people’s sense of identity with Yorkshire. We share the ambition of doing what is best for Yorkshire, its people and its businesses. My right hon. Friend the Communities Secretary has now met with Yorkshire leaders. Discussions are continuing about a different localist approach to devolution, and officials are having initial meetings with councils, including York, and will be interested in hearing their ambitions for devolution.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Jun 2019, 12:07 p.m.

I hope the whole House will welcome today’s mass climate lobby, which is coming to Parliament today. We should be proud of it. This House, after all, became the first Parliament in the world to declare a climate emergency. I want to pay tribute to the young people and young climate strikers who have done so much to raise awareness of this issue. I hope Members will take the chance today to meet those who are coming to lobby and learn from them, because they feel very passionately on the issue.

I acknowledge that it is Armed Forces Day—celebrations are going on this week—and I think we should be concerned about the welfare of both serving and former serving members of our armed forces. I join the Prime Minister in congratulating the Lionesses on reaching the quarter finals of the women’s World cup and wish them well tomorrow night against Norway.

I welcome the judgment of the Court of Appeal last Thursday against UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The Court found that the Government had

“made no concluded assessments of whether the Saudi-led coalition had committed violations of international humanitarian law… during the Yemen conflict, and made no attempt to do so”.

Does the Prime Minister dispute that finding?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Jun 2019, 12:08 p.m.

We continue to operate one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world and we take our responsibilities on arms export licensing very seriously. Indeed, in the words of the 2017 judgment, the Government engaged in

“anxious scrutiny—indeed, at what seems like anguished scrutiny at some stages”.

We are disappointed that the Court found against the Government on one ground, and we will be seeking permission to appeal this judgment.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Jun 2019, 12:09 p.m.

Germany, as an EU member state, has banned arms exports to Saudi Arabia, so has Denmark, and both the US Senate and House of Representatives have voted to ban arms exports as well.

The UN describes the situation in Yemen as “humanity’s biggest preventable disaster”, but the Government see fit to continue selling arms to Saudi Arabia during that situation, so may I ask the Prime Minister a very simple question? Does she believe there are serious ongoing violations of international humanitarian law by Saudi Arabia in Yemen—yes or no?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

The right hon. Gentleman knows very well that we consider these issues very carefully when we are dealing with these arms export licences, as has just been quoted by the Court, but he references the situation in Yemen. This cannot go on. We need a political settlement in Yemen.

I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that the Saudi-led intervention was at the request of the legitimate President of Yemen following a rebel insurgency, which overthrew the internationally recognised Government, and the intervention has been acknowledged by the United Nations. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary held a Yemen Quad meeting on Saturday, expressing concerns at escalating tensions, but what do we see the Labour party do? One of the right hon. Gentleman’s MPs was inviting rebel leaders of the insurgency into the House of Commons—yet again, Labour on the wrong side of the argument.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Jun 2019, 12:10 p.m.

The Prime Minister does not appear to understand the depth of feeling at the UN, Parliaments around the world or even the US Senate and the House on this situation. The UN itself has warned that by the end of 2019, if the war continues, 230,000 people will have lost their lives, of whom 140,000 are children under the age of five. The UK and EU law state that the Government must

“not grant a licence if there is a clear risk that the items used might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.”

The Government said they had used the following criteria to judge

“an understanding of Saudi military procedures; continuing engagement with the Saudis at the highest level”

and

“Saudi public commitments to IHL”.—[Official Report, 20 June 2019; Vol. 662, c. 375-6.]

If the Saudi Government say they are respecting human rights, do we then ignore all evidence on the ground in Yemen and continue to sell weapons to the regime, which has led to this appalling death toll already in this conflict?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

First, as I have made clear, we are seeking permission to appeal the recent judgment. The judgment is not about whether the Government made the right or wrong decisions, but about the decision-making process and whether it was rational. We are considering the implications of the judgment, alongside seeking permission to appeal, and while we do that, we will not grant any new licences for exports to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners that might be used in the conflict in Yemen. The right hon. Gentleman talks about the conflict in Yemen. As I have just said, let us remember what happened and why we are seeing this conflict in Yemen: it was the overthrow of the internationally recognised Government by rebel insurgents. We are all concerned about the humanitarian situation in Yemen. [Interruption.] The shadow Foreign Secretary might like, as this is an area of concern to her remit, to actually listen to what the Government are doing. [Interruption.]

Break in Debate

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Jun 2019, 12:13 p.m.

We are all concerned about the humanitarian situation in Yemen. That is why, since the start of the conflict in 2015, our total commitment to Yemen now stands at £770 million. We are one of the major contributors to support for the humanitarian effort. Ultimately, the only way to resolve this issue is through a political settlement. That is why we are supporting the efforts of the UN special envoy, Martin Griffiths.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Jun 2019, 11:55 a.m.

If that is the case, why are the Government appealing the judgment instead of promoting a peace settlement in Yemen? Since 2016, for three years, UN experts have been saying that the Saudi coalition has violated international humanitarian law in Yemen. This air campaign has killed tens of thousands of people, and injured and displaced many more. The Government say:

“there can be no military solution to this particular conflict. There can only be a negotiated and political solution.”—[Official Report, 20 June 2019; Vol. 662, c. 380.]

If that is the case, why have they already pumped £4.6 billion of military equipment into this brutal bombardment?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

What we do believe, as I have just said—I said it in answer to the right hon. Gentleman’s last question and I said it, I think, in answer to his first question—is that the only way to ensure the security and stability of Yemen for the future is through a political settlement. That is why this Government are supporting the work being done by the UN special envoy, Martin Griffiths, and that is why we are continuing to use our diplomatic efforts, including, as I said, the Foreign Secretary holding a Yemen Quad on Saturday to encourage others around the table. We are very clear that we support the efforts to secure the agreement by the parties to the conflict to implement the Stockholm agreements. That is an important part of the process leading to peace and a political solution. That work is essential so that progress can be made at the next round of these talks and so that the humanitarian supply lines can be opened up.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Jun 2019, 12:14 p.m.

The Trade Secretary said there could not be a military solution to this conflict. Surely the Government should think on this and stop the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. Just last week, the UN special rapporteur, Agnes Kalamar, said that there is credible evidence that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other high-level officials are personally responsible for the horrific murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Does the Prime Minister accept that assessment?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Jun 2019, 12:14 p.m.

We do want to see accountability for this horrific murder. I raised the death of Jamal Khashoggi with King Salman at the Sharm summit—the second time I have done so. I raised it with the Crown Prince at the G20 last year. I have stressed the importance of those responsible being held to account and of due process being followed. We expect Saudi Arabia to take the action necessary to ensure that such violations of international and national laws cannot happen again. The right direction—the right way—to take this is through a judicial process, and we are obviously closely following the continuing investigation. We expect it to proceed in line with internationally recognised legal standards.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

There is overwhelming evidence that war crimes are being committed in Yemen by Saudi Arabian forces—a state that flouts every human rights norm at home and abroad. Its Government believes that it can kill with impunity journalists or civil rights campaigners, Yemenis or Bahrainis. It funds extremism around the world, but the UK has supplied it with over £4.5 billion-worth of deadly weapons. UK weapons have been used in indiscriminate attacks on civilians in which over 200,000 people have been killed, and hundreds of thousands more stand on the brink of famine, starvation and death from wholly preventable diseases. Surely the Court of Appeal judgment should be a wake-up call to the Prime Minister and the Government. Instead of appealing the judgment, why not accept it, stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia now, bring about peace in the Yemen and save those lives?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Jun 2019, 12:14 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman says to me, “bring about peace in the Yemen”. That is exactly what we are working with our international partners to do through the United Nations and the Yemen Quad. He talks about our relations with Saudi Arabia. That relationship has saved lives of British citizens in the past, but let us look at some of the relationships that right hon. Gentleman supports. When people were killed in Salisbury, his sympathies were with Russia. When terrorists were killing our people, his sympathies were with the IRA. And in the recent tanker attacks in the Gulf, his sympathies were with Iran. He never backs Britain and he should never be Prime Minister.

European Council

Debate between Mrs Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 24th June 2019

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Cabinet Office
The Prime Minister (Mrs Theresa May) - Parliament Live - Hansard
24 Jun 2019, 3:44 p.m.

Before I turn to the European Council, I am sure the whole House will join me in sending our very best wishes to the former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. All our thoughts are with him and his family at this time, and we wish him a full and speedy recovery.

Last week’s European Council focused on climate change, disinformation and hybrid threats, external relations and what are known as the EU’s top jobs. The UK has always been clear that we will participate fully and constructively in all EU discussions for as long as we are a member state, and that we will seek to continue our co-operation on issues of mutual interest through our future relationship after we have left. That was the spirit in which I approached this Council.

Earlier this month the UK became the first major economy in the world to commit to ending its contribution to global warming by 2050, and I am pleased that the regulations to amend the Climate Change Act 2008, which are being debated in this Chamber later today, have received widespread support from across this House. Ultimately, we will protect our planet only if we are able to forge the widest possible global agreements: that means other countries need to follow our lead and increase their ambitions as well.

At this Council the UK helped to lead the way in advocating for our European partners to follow suit in committing to a net zero target by 2050. While a full EU-wide consensus was not reached, “a large majority” of member states did agree that

“climate neutrality must be achieved by 2050”,

and I hope we can build on this in the months ahead.

In the margins of the Council I met Prime Minister Conte and discussed the UK’s bid to host next year’s UN climate summit, COP 26, in partnership with Italy. This will continue to put the UK at the heart of driving global efforts to tackle the climate emergency and leave a better world for our children.

Turning to disinformation and hybrid threats, we agreed to continue working together to raise awareness, increase our preparedness, and strengthen the resilience of our democracies. I welcome the development of a new framework for targeted sanctions to respond to hybrid threats. This sends a clear message that the UK and its EU partners are willing and able to impose a cost for irresponsible behaviour in cyber-space.

We must make more progress in helping to ensure that the internet is a safe place for all our citizens. That is why we are legislating in the UK to create a legal duty of care on internet companies to keep users safe from harm, and this will be backed up by an independent regulator with the power to enforce its decisions. We are the first country to put forward such a comprehensive approach, but it is not enough to act alone, so, building on the Christchurch Call to Action summit, the UK will continue to help to drive the broadest possible global action against online harms, including at the G20 in Japan later this week.

In the discussion on external relations, the Council expressed its concern over Russia’s issuing of passports in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and reiterated its call for Russia to release the Ukrainian sailors and vessels captured in the Kerch strait in November last year.

Russia has consistently failed to deliver its commitments under the Minsk agreements and continues its destabilising activity, so with the UK’s full support the Council agreed a six-month roll-over of tier 3 sanctions, which include restrictions on Russia’s access to EU capital markets, an arms embargo and restricting co-operation with Russia’s energy sector.

In marking the fifth anniversary of the downing of flight MH17, we welcomed the announcement from the Netherlands that criminal charges were being brought against four individuals, and offered our continued support in bringing those responsible to justice.

The Council expressed serious concerns over Turkey’s drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean, and the UK has made it clear to Turkey that drilling in that area must stop. Our priority must be to see the situation de-escalated.

In the margins of the Council, I raised the issue of Iran. We call on Iran urgently to de-escalate tensions, and our priority remains finding a diplomatic solution to the current situation in the region.

A substantial part of the Council focused on what are known as the EU’s top jobs—the appointments of the next presidents of the EU’s institutions and of the EU’s High Representative. This is of course primarily a matter for the 27 remaining EU member states, and I have been clear that the UK will engage constructively and will not stand in the way of a consensus among the other member states, but it is also in our national interests that those appointed are constructive partners for the UK as well as successful leaders of the EU’s institutions.

The UK supports President Tusk’s approach to create a package of candidates across the top jobs that reflects the diversity of the European Union. As there was no consensus on candidates at the meeting, the Council agreed to meet again after the G20 this coming Sunday, as well as holding further discussions with the European Parliament. I had originally anticipated that this would be my final European Council as Prime Minister, but I will in fact have one more.

Finally, President Tusk and President Juncker updated the remaining 27 member states on Brexit. This scheduled update was part of the agreement I reached in April to extend the article 50 deadline for our departure from the EU to 31 October. The Council repeated its desire to avoid a disorderly Brexit and committed to work constructively with my successor as Prime Minister. I commend this statement to the House.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
24 Jun 2019, 3:48 p.m.

Mr Speaker, I understand that it is 10 years this week since you assumed the Chair of the House. May I just say congratulations on the first 10 years and thank you for being such a popular Speaker and for taking the role of Parliament out to the public in a meaningful way, particularly to schools and colleges all over the country? That has made a big difference.

I thank the Prime Minister for her kind words about John Prescott. We all obviously wish John all the very best. I cannot wait to see him return to full activity and to hear that voice booming out of loudspeakers all over the country exciting people in the cause of Labour, which is what John does so well.

I thank the Prime Minister for giving me an advance copy of her statement.

Last week, we came within minutes of the USA launching a military attack on Iran. Britain and other European nations must play a role in defusing, not raising, tensions, and that needs to start with the restoration of support for the Iran nuclear deal.

We note that there will be continuing EU-Morocco trade discussions. I hope that the United Kingdom Government will recognise that there is an ongoing territorial dispute over the Western Sahara and that those issues will be borne in mind during the negotiations.

I echo the European Union’s call on Turkey to cease its illegal drilling in the eastern Mediterranean; I welcome what the EU Council said on that.

I also welcome the EU Council’s discussion of climate change, which emphasises how important it is to continue to work with progressive forces to tackle the climate emergency, which this House declared on 1 May. I welcome the EU’s continued commitment to the Paris climate agreement and to deliver a practical plan of action to meet its obligations, and I also welcome the fact that COP 26 will be jointly hosted by Britain and Italy, with some events being held in London.

Yesterday marked three years since the EU referendum —three wasted years in which the Government’s deal has been rejected three times. We have endured three separate Brexit Secretaries, and we will soon have our third post-Brexit Prime Minister. It has been three years of chaos, in-fighting and incompetence. For too long, the Prime Minister allowed herself to be held to ransom by the wilder extremes in her party, instead of trying to find a sensible majority across this House—[Interruption.] Some of the wilder extremes have absented themselves today, but they are no doubt making their views known elsewhere. By the time the Prime Minister finally did reach out, it was a bit too late, and she was unable to deliver meaningful compromise or change.

Does the Prime Minister now regret that she continued to legitimise the idea of no deal instead of warning of its disastrous implications? The two Tory leadership candidates still say that if they cannot renegotiate the backstop, which EU leaders last week said was not possible, they would pursue a no-deal exit. Will the Prime Minister tell us whether she believes that no deal should be on the table as a viable option? What would be worse: crashing out with no deal in October, or putting this issue back to the people for a final say? Given the—[Interruption.] Mr Speaker, it is normal for the Leader of the Opposition to ask questions of the Prime Minister, and that is exactly what I am doing.

Given the shambolic no-deal preparations so far, which were paused in the spring, will the Prime Minister confirm that the Government will not be ready to crash out in October? Neither of the Tory leadership candidates has a credible plan. One even claims that we can crash out on WTO terms and still trade without tariffs, which is interesting. The Governor of the Bank of England was clear when he said:

“Not having an agreement with the EU means that there are tariffs automatically because the Europeans have to apply the same rules to us as they apply to everyone else”.

Will the Prime Minister confirm whether the Bank of England Governor is correct on no deal? The former Foreign Secretary also told us that under his no deal plan he could

“solve the problem of free movement of goods in the context of the Free Trade Agreement… that we’ll negotiate in the implementation period.”

Will the Prime Minister confirm that there will be no implementation period if there is no deal?

It is deeply worrying that those who seek to lead this country have no grip on reality. The Prime Minister said that the Council reiterated its wish to avoid a “disorderly Brexit”, but I am unsure whether it will have been reassured by the statements of her potential successors.

Labour put forward a plan that could bring this country back together, but the Prime Minister refused to compromise. Whoever the next Prime Minister is, they will barely hold the support of this House, so they will certainly have no mandate to force a disastrous hard-right Brexit on this country. I want to make it clear that Labour will work across the House to block no deal. Whatever plan the new Tory leader comes up with, after three long years of failure they should have the confidence to go back to the people to let them decide the future of this country.

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
24 Jun 2019, 3:54 p.m.

It is absolutely right that we recognise the 10th anniversary of your election to the Chair, Mr Speaker. It does not seem like 10 years at all.

May I correct the Leader of the Opposition? [Interruption.] Yes, surely. The Leader of the Opposition says he thinks that reality and facts are important. He said that COP 26 is coming to the UK, jointly with Italy. In fact, we are making a joint bid with Italy. Others are bidding for COP 26, so we are still working hard and I encouraged those around the European Council table to support our bid.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
24 Jun 2019, 3:55 p.m.

And we support it.

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
24 Jun 2019, 3:57 p.m.

I am grateful to the Leader of the Opposition for saying that the Labour party and the Opposition support the bid, which I think is supported on both sides of the House.

The European Council meeting I attended did not discuss Brexit, no deal or the views of the candidates in the Conservative party’s leadership election, on which the Leader of the Opposition focused the majority of his comments and questions. I am supposed to be talking about what happened at the European Council. Nevertheless I am in a generous mood, so I will respond to a small number of his points.

The Leader of the Opposition talked about the talks on trying to find a compromise and a majority across the House, and we did, indeed, enter those talks. I think both sides entered the talks in a constructive spirit, and I remind him that it was he who actually terminated the talks.

The Leader of the Opposition talked about the position in relation to a no deal, which is, legally, the default option that remains on the table for 31 October if a deal is not agreed. The Government are rightly continuing their preparations for a no deal. He asked about my view on a no deal. I wanted to leave the European Union on 29 March with a deal. If he and his colleagues had voted with the Government, we would already be out.

I remind the Leader of the Opposition that I have done everything to avoid a no-deal Brexit by voting for a deal three times in the past year. He has done everything to increase the chance of a no deal by voting against a deal every time.

“Rejecting any Brexit…deal risks the worst outcome—a No Deal Brexit.”

Those are not my words but the words of his own Labour Members of Parliament.

Finally, the Leader of the Opposition talked about Conservative Members being divorced from reality. I have to say that the person in this House who is divorced from reality is the Leader of the Opposition, who thinks the economic model that we should be following is Venezuela.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Mrs Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 19th June 2019

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Cabinet Office
The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Jun 2019, 11:30 a.m.

My hon. Friend is right to say that high streets are changing, and we are committed to helping communities to adapt. He set out some of the things he wants to see if those high streets are to continue to thrive. As he said, we have provided £675 million through the future high streets fund. I am pleased to hear about the Transforming Nuneaton programme, which I understand aims to increase footfall and drive economic growth. Nuneaton’s bid for the future high streets fund is currently under consideration, and we hope to announce the bids that have been successful in going forward to the business case development phase in the summer.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Jun 2019, 11:30 a.m.

Today does mark two years since the terrorist attack on Muslim people in Finsbury Park outside the mosque, and the murder of my constituent Makram Ali. With the far right on the rise both in our country and across the world, we can all send a message to all those who seek to sow hatred and division in our society that we will not be divided. Our diversity is our strength, and I believe it always will be.

I concur with the Prime Minister about the need to support people who have suffered as a result of the floods over the weekend, and about the work of the emergency services in helping them.

On Friday, I was honoured to join Grenfell residents and survivors to mark the two-year anniversary of that terrible tragedy. With great dignity, they are campaigning for justice and change. Across this House, we have a duty to ensure that such fires can never happen again. That is why I have signed up—I hope the Prime Minister will do so as well—to the “Never Again” campaign, which is run by the Fire Brigades Union with the support of the Daily Mirror. Three days after the Grenfell fire, the Prime Minister said:

“My Government will do whatever it takes to help those affected, get justice and keep our people safe.”

So two years on, why do 328 high-rise buildings—homes to thousands of people from Newham to Newcastle—still have the same Grenfell-style cladding?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Jun 2019, 12:09 p.m.

I absolutely agree with the right hon. Gentleman that we will never be divided and that our diversity is indeed our strength; we should all celebrate that diversity.

The right hon. Gentleman refers to last Friday being two years on from the terrible tragedy of the Grenfell fire. I was very pleased yesterday to welcome, as part of Green for Grenfell, people from the Grenfell community—Grenfell United and others—to No. 10 Downing Street. I was particularly pleased to meet young people, hear their questions and talk to them about their concerns for the future. [Interruption.] I am pleased to see the shadow Foreign Secretary back from her re-education camp of a few weeks ago. She says, “What did you say?” I am about to tell her and the rest of the House what I said—just a little patience.

The issue of justice was indeed raised by one of the young people, which is exactly why I set up the public inquiry within days after the fire. That inquiry has two phases. It will soon be entering its second phase, and we have appointed panel members to sit alongside the judge in that phase. The aim is to find out exactly what went wrong, who was responsible and who was accountable, and to enable that justice for the people of Grenfell.

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned cladding. We asked building owners in the private sector to take the action that we believed necessary, but they have not been acting quickly enough. That is why we will fully fund the replacement of cladding on high-rise residential buildings, and interim measures are in place where necessary on all 163 high-rise private residential buildings with unsafe aluminium composite material cladding.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

Obviously, the inquiry must go on and we await its response to what actually happened at Grenfell, but the answer that the Prime Minister gave is of no comfort to the 60,000 people living in high-rise tower blocks across the country. They are worried—their communities are worried.

Although Government funding is, of course, necessary and welcome, but not yet available, more than 70 block owners still have no plan in place to get the work done. Will the Prime Minister set a deadline of the end of this year for all dangerous cladding to be removed and replaced? Will she toughen up the powers for councils to levy big fines and, where necessary, to confiscate blocks to get this vital safety work done if the block owners simply fail to do it?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

As the right hon. Gentleman knows, all affected buildings identified in the social sector have been visited by the fire and rescue services, which have carried out checks and made sure that interim safety measures are in place. Remediation work has started or finished on over three quarters of those buildings. We are fully funding the removal and replacement of unsafe ACM cladding systems on high-rise social housing.

The right hon. Gentleman refers to housing in the private sector. We asked building owners to take the action necessary, and we expected building owners to take the action necessary. They have not done enough; they have not acted quickly enough. That is why the Government have stepped in and said that we will fully fund the replacement of cladding on high-rise residential buildings. As I said, interim measures are in place until that work is done.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

The question was: will the Prime Minister ensure that this is done by the end of this year? Under the current rate of progress, it will take three years for even the social housing blocks to be done.

But the issue goes wider: 1,700 other buildings, including hospitals, care homes, schools and hotels, are clad in other potentially combustible materials. If landlords will not act, will the Government step in and act on those buildings as well? The 2013 coroner’s report into the deadly Lakanal House fire recommended that sprinklers should be retrofitted to all social housing. Currently, only 32 of 837 council tower blocks of above 30 metres have sprinklers. Two years after Grenfell and six years after that coroner’s report, will the Prime Minister now accept that recommendation and set a deadline for all high-rise blocks to have sprinklers retrofitted?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

First of all, the right hon. Gentleman raises the issue of other cladding. The work is indeed being done to investigate the safety of other cladding. He then talks about the coroner’s report and recommendation in 2013. I think he has inadvertently said something that does not quite reflect what the coroner’s report said. It said that landlords should consider retrofitting sprinklers; it did not say that every building should be retrofitted with sprinklers. As he will know, there are many landlords up and down the country, including Labour councils, that have chosen not to fit sprinklers.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

The coroner’s report made it very clear that she thought that sprinklers would make blocks safer; I do not think we should be playing around with semantics—we should be making sure that all the blocks are safe across the whole country. Only 105 of the 673 new- build schools have sprinklers. Labour would make sure that all new schools had sprinklers fitted.

Grenfell survivors say, “We were victims before the fire.” Radical change is needed in our system of social housing. Tenants raised concerns about safety; they were ignored. Two years on from Grenfell, when will we see Government legislation to strengthen tenants’ rights and apply the Freedom of Information Act to all housing associations as well as local authorities?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

It is absolutely right that one of the truly shocking aspects of what happened at Grenfell Tower is that, before the fire happened and over a significant period of time, residents of the tower were raising concerns with the tenant management organisation and the council, and their voice was not heard. That is why one of the other things that I did after the Grenfell Tower fire was to initiate work looking at social housing.

The then Housing Minister—and this has been taken on by subsequent Housing Ministers—went around the country meeting people in social housing to see whether that had happened simply at Grenfell or was happening across the country, and to see how we could strengthen the voice of people living in social housing. I believe that should be done, and it is the work that we have been putting in place. It is absolutely right that the voices of those people should have been heard and acted on. We want to ensure in future that social housing tenants’ voices will be heard.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Jun 2019, midnight

That is all well and good, but just how long does it take to amend the Freedom of Information Act to make sure it applies to social housing run by housing associations as well as local authorities?

The Government spent £1,013 million on fire services in 2016-17. This year, the figure is £858 million— £155 million cut from fire services. Every fire authority across the country, from the 11% cut in Greater Manchester to the 42% cut in Warwickshire, is going through the same experience. We cannot put a price on people’s lives. We cannot keep people safe on the cheap. The Prime Minister told the country at the Conservative party conference last autumn that austerity is over. Will she now pledge that her Government will increase fire service funding and firefighter numbers next year?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Jun 2019, midnight

Indeed, we are able to end austerity, and we are able to put more money into public services. We are able to do that because a Conservative Government take a balanced approach to the economy. We have been putting right the wrongs of a Labour Government who left us with the largest deficit in our peacetime history. That is the legacy of Labour. We saw fewer people in work and less money to spend on public services, and we will not let it happen again.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Jun 2019, midnight

The legacy of this Tory Government is 10,000 firefighter jobs cut since 2010 and 40 fire stations closed, including 10 in London under the previous Mayor.

The Prime Minister claimed that action on Grenfell would be part of her legacy, but in two long years, too little has changed. She has met the Grenfell survivors, as have I. Their pain is real and palpable, and it continues. A big test for the next Prime Minister will be to make good the failings of this Government over the past two years—a failure to rehouse all the survivors, a failure to give justice to the Grenfell community, a failure to make safe other dangerous high-rise blocks, a failure to retrofit sprinklers and a failure to end austerity in the fire service. Does the Prime Minister believe that by the third anniversary next year, the Government will be able to honestly say with conviction to the country and to the Grenfell survivors, “Never again.”?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Jun 2019, midnight

The right hon. Gentleman refers to the rehousing of the Grenfell survivors. All 201 households have been offered temporary or permanent accommodation —[Interruption.] I think that 194 of those households have accepted that, and 184 have been able to move into their accommodation.

The right hon. Gentleman talks about what the Government have been doing in response to the Grenfell Tower fire. We set up immediately a public inquiry. We set up immediately the Dame Judith Hackitt review, which looked at the issues around building regulations and fire safety. The Government are acting on the results of that, and I expect a future Government to act on the results of the public inquiry.

I have met on a number of occasions, including yesterday, people who survived the Grenfell Tower fire—people who lost their homes, people who lost members of their family and young people who lost their best friends. Their pain is indeed great; it will never go away. It is important for us to ensure that we provide support for those survivors into the future. It is not just about buildings and cladding; it is about support for the local community; and it is about mental health services and support for those who have been affected. This Government are committed to ensuring that we provide that support and that we do everything we can to make sure that a tragedy like Grenfell Tower can never happen again.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Mrs Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 12th June 2019

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Cabinet Office
The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Jun 2019, 12:10 p.m.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to highlight the Government’s industrial strategy and to recognise the shared work that goes into those industrial strategies between government, the region and business. We will be investing £20 million towards this region becoming the UK’s first future mobility zone—that will be introducing new technologies to encourage more seamless and efficient journeys; investing up to £50 million to put the region at the forefront of 5G developments, as the new innovative home to the UK’s first multi-city 5G test bed; and £332 million from the Government’s transforming cities fund to extend the city region’s Metro system. This shared vision for inclusive growth shows how we can reach our potential and do so in a way that benefits all communities.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Jun 2019, 12:14 p.m.

Today would have been the 90th birthday of Anne Frank had she survived, but she died in the Nazi Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. In her diary, she wrote many things, but one that really applies to all of us at all times is:

“Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness.”

We should remember her life and all that she has inspired in so many others ever since the second world war.

Later this week, I will be joining those families and survivors commemorating the second anniversary of the Grenfell fire, in which dozens of people died. As Sunday’s fire in the flats in Barking reminds us, there is still much more to do to ensure that people are safe in their homes in all parts of this country.

As is traditional, I am sure the whole House will join me in welcoming the new Member for Peterborough, my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Lisa Forbes), who is sitting behind me today.

The country is in crisis over Brexit. Manufacturing is in crisis. The Prime Minister’s Government have brought us to this point and now the Conservative party is, once again, in the process of foisting a new Prime Minister on the country without the country having a say through a general election. This Prime Minister created the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in July 2016. Has the Prime Minister actually delivered an industrial strategy since then?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Jun 2019, 12:13 p.m.

First, may I echo the comments of the right hon. Gentleman in recognising what would have been the 90th birthday of Anne Frank? Nobody can have read the testimony of Anne Frank in her diary without being deeply moved and deeply shocked by what she had to live through, and that is another reason why everybody across this House and across our society should do everything we can in the fight against antisemitism. May I also take this, my first, opportunity to welcome the new hon. Member for Peterborough to her seat in this Chamber?

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and our industrial strategy. It is obvious that he had written his question before he heard the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Lichfield (Michael Fabricant), which of course referred to not only our national industrial strategy, but our regional industrial strategies, which are making a real difference in creating the record levels of employment we see in this country.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Jun 2019, 12:14 p.m.

The answer the Prime Minister gave has a sort of unreality about it all really. [Interruption.] Let me explain, as I am trying to help Conservative Members. If they could contain their excitement for a moment, I thought I would remind them that the labour force survey shows that compared with 2016, when BEIS was set up, there are now 147,000 fewer people working in manufacturing in Britain, that apprenticeship starts are down 25%, and that manufacturing output fell by 3.9% between March and April this year, which is the largest fall for nearly two decades.

In the last year, Jaguar Land Rover, Honda, Vauxhall, Ford and Nissan have all announced UK job losses. Does the Prime Minister think her Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been good for that industry?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Jun 2019, 12:15 p.m.

This reveals an awful lot about the right hon. Gentleman’s and the Labour party’s approach to these issues. The point of the industrial strategy is to make sure that we have the economy with the jobs of the future, which is why it is good to see that, in that industrial strategy, we have key challenges such as artificial intelligence and data, which will underpin the work we are doing in clean growth, mobility, the health service, and so much more.

On Monday, I was pleased to attend London Tech Week, to speak at the event and do a roundtable with tech businesses in this country, to welcome the tech unicorns developed in London and the five tech unicorns developed in Manchester, and to welcome the over £1 billion of investment in the tech sector in this country announced at that time. We are looking to the jobs of the future. That is where the high-skilled, high-paid jobs are, and that is what this Government are delivering.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Jun 2019, 12:16 p.m.

Last week, Ford announced it would end production at its Bridgend plant. UK car production has been virtually halved in the last 11 consecutive months. Ford has also said that a no-deal Brexit would put a further 6,000 UK jobs at risk, with thousands more at risk in the supply chain. Nissan, Toyota, BMW and JLR have all made similar statements. Will the Prime Minister take this opportunity to reiterate her Government’s assessment that a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for Britain? I think some of her colleagues sitting behind her and alongside her need reminding of that.

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Jun 2019, 12:17 p.m.

Obviously, the announcement by Ford is very worrying. It is an uncertain time for workers and their families in Bridgend. Ford has committed to supporting employees throughout the consultation process and beyond, including with redeployment opportunities to other Ford sites in the UK. My right hon. Friends the Business Secretary and the Welsh Secretary have spoken to Ford, and we are working closely with them and the Welsh Government—the First Minister of Wales spoke to me as well. We are also working with local stakeholders and trade union representatives to ensure that those skilled and valued workers are supported throughout the process.

The right hon. Gentleman went on to talk about no deal and his concerns about a no-deal situation. It would come a little more sincerely from him if he had not gone through the Lobby regularly and consistently voting to increase the chances of no deal by voting against the deal.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Jun 2019, 12:18 p.m.

The Prime Minister may not have noticed, but her deal was rejected three times by Parliament.

Another industry failed by the UK Government is UK steel. Why did the Government not agree a deal to support our steel industry?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

I think the point the right hon. Gentleman makes is exactly the point I was making. Had he really believed that we should be leaving the European Union and doing so with a deal, he would have voted for the deal. We could have left the European Union and moved into that brighter future already.

We did work with British Steel. We worked with its owner, Greybull Capital, and lenders to explore all the potential options to secure a solution for British Steel. As the emissions trading scheme agreement the Government put in place shows, we were willing to act. We continue to work with the official receiver and with the British Steel support group, which includes management, trade unions, companies in the supply chain and local communities, to pursue every possibility and every possible step to secure the future of the valuable operations at sites in Scunthorpe, Skinningrove and Teesside. I am to meet a group of Members of Parliament from the region whose constituencies are affected later today.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Jun 2019, 12:19 p.m.

Since the Government did nothing to protect the steel industry in Redcar, I hope that they will do a bit better in Scunthorpe, where 5,000 jobs are at risk. The Select Committee on Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy raises questions about whether the Government actually entered into the negotiations in good faith.

Another sector that has been failed by the Government is the renewables industry. Solar installations are down by 94%, onshore wind is coming to a grinding halt, and they have failed to back the very important, very exciting and innovative Swansea bay tidal lagoon. They are failing on cars, on steel, and on renewables. I know that the Tory leadership candidates have been falling over themselves to confess to their past indulgences, but can the Prime Minister name an industry that is legal that her Government Ministers have actually backed?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Jun 2019, 12:20 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman talks about solar power, but let us look at the facts: 99% of solar power deployed in the UK has been deployed under a Conservative Government, and last year, renewables generated a record amount of electricity. That is indeed a record that this Government can be proud of. While he is talking about renewables, I am very surprised that he has not taken the opportunity to stand up and thank this Government for our announcement today that we will legislate for net zero on emissions by 2050.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

The legacy of the Prime Minister’s Government is one of failure. They claimed that they would tackle burning injustices; they failed. They told pensioners that their benefits were safe; now, they are taking away free TV licences for the over-75s. They promised action on Grenfell; two years on, there is still flammable cladding on thousands of homes across this country. They promised a northern powerhouse; they failed to deliver it, and every northern newspaper is campaigning for this Government to power up the north. They promised net zero by 2050, yet they have failed on renewables, and are missing—[Interruption.]

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn -