Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 11 July 2007.

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Photo of John Baron John Baron Opposition Whip (Commons) 11:30, 11 July 2007

The Prime Minister talks about the need for more open and transparent politics, so can he explain why his Government continue to defy the Information Commissioner by refusing to publish the first full draft of the Iraq dossier, which was produced by the Foreign Office press officer, John Williams, on 9 September 2002—one day before John Scarlett produced his first draft? Does the Prime Minister not believe that actions speak louder than words?

Photo of Gordon Brown Gordon Brown The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party

The hon. Gentleman should recognise that that is a process in which the Government have rights under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 too, and we are pursuing a policy in which we are defending our rights in relation to it, but a decision will be made in due course.

Photo of Louise Ellman Louise Ellman Labour, Liverpool, Riverside

Yesterday, the House heard welcome proposals for tackling deprivation. Will the Prime Minister start to put those plans into action by supporting pilot schemes in areas such as Liverpool that address the particular problems of young people who leave school and do not go on to further education or training, and who do not have a job?

Photo of Gordon Brown Gordon Brown The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party

I agree with my hon. Friend that that is a major challenge that we now face. While there are far more young people in education than there were before, and far more young people in work than ever before, there is a group of young people that the new deal has not yet got to, and that is the group of people we want to help with their transition so that they can undertake apprenticeships and can have a path to a career. If Opposition Members want to support us in doing that, they will have to say that they will provide the equivalent funding to do so; that is what is lacking in everything that the Conservative party says at the moment.

Photo of Martin Horwood Martin Horwood Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

The whole House will be aware of the acute personal importance to the Prime Minister of one particular NHS issue. In his new home, he is within just 9 miles of 19 consultant-led maternity wards. If plans go ahead, that will compare with none at all in Cheltenham. Will his Government reverse the trend towards less choice further from home in maternity care for so many parts of the country?

Photo of Gordon Brown Gordon Brown The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party

What we are trying to do with maternity care is to give every mother a choice. Having had access to a midwife, women will have the choice of having the birth at home, in a midwife-led unit, or in a maternity unit staffed by consultants and doctors. That choice will be open to every mother from 2009, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will support that extension of choice, which means that there are more doctors and more nurses, and more midwives helping them.

Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Labour, Gateshead East and Washington West

Is the Prime Minister aware of the plight of over 1,000 Kwik Save staff struggling to feed their families following the company's closure? Will he do all he can to ensure that those people are not left high and dry, and also back USDAW, the shop workers' union, which is striving to secure seven weeks' back pay and redundancy money for the Kwik Save workers?

Photo of Gordon Brown Gordon Brown The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party

We are sad about any redundancy that hits people and their livelihoods, and we will try to do everything we can. I hope we can provide help for those workers through the new deal, and look at their financial circumstances. If my hon. Friend wants to contact me, we will have a meeting to discuss it.

Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Shadow Minister (Scotland)

The Prime Minister can scrutinise health policy in my constituency but, because I represent an English constituency, I cannot scrutinise health policy in his constituency. Is that not an example of the fact that we already have a two-tier Parliament? When will he put the fairness back into the United Kingdom?


Excellent question

Submitted by Thomas Walmsley

Photo of Gordon Brown Gordon Brown The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party

The hon. Gentleman should understand the devolution settlement. This Parliament voted the right to make decisions on health to Scotland and Wales. It also voted the right to make decisions on specific issues to London. It is right that the House of Commons can make those decisions, but now that they have been made, and the Conservative party has said that it accepts devolution, it is a bit much for Conservatives now to change their minds.


End this devolution mess now and give England an English Parliament.

Submitted by Kevin Wells Read 2 more annotations