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Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:33 am on 14th January 2016.

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Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 10:33 am, 14th January 2016

The hon. Gentleman’s party was of course previously led by one of this House’s foremost Trekkies, so there is probably a juxtaposition there.

I have to say, as I always do on these occasions, that I have the greatest regard for the hon. Gentleman, but he does talk an awful lot of nonsense at times. The first thing to say is that my right hon. Friend Damian Green and I have been friends for more than 25 years and we will carry on being friends. The difference between those of us on the Conservative Benches and those on the Labour Benches is that when we have a debate, we do it with good grace. When Labour Members do it, it is because they hate each other—and they really do hate each other, Mr Speaker.

The hon. Gentleman talks about the real Opposition, and it still baffles me how those who purport to be sensible figures in the shambles that is the Labour party today can hold their heads high and still sit on the Opposition Front Bench representing a leadership that I regard as being utterly beyond the pale and something we should keep completely away from ever having the chance to run this country.

Let me return to the hon. Gentleman’s propensity to exaggerate just a little bit. I have to say that his comments about the debate on Tuesday did not really ring true. The idea that he is excluded from the debate—a debate in which, if I remember rightly, he spoke for the best part of half an hour, to the great enjoyment of my hon. Friends, who enjoyed his rhetorical flourishes enormously —is, I am afraid, stretching the point just a little bit. I remind him that every poll that has been conducted in Scotland says that the Scottish people support a fair devolution settlement for Scotland and for England, and that is what we are delivering.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his kind words about the Scottish Secretary. I would also like to extend the thanks of myself and my colleagues to the Scottish First Minister and other leading figures in his party, who also made some very gracious statements about the Scottish Secretary yesterday. We all very much appreciated that.

On the post-study work scheme, it is right and proper that we have a managed immigration system. People can come to this country to do a graduate-level job, but it is also right and proper that we have appropriate safeguards in place. That is what our electors expect, it is what we will deliver and have delivered in government, and it is what electors across the United Kingdom—of which, happily, we are all still part—all want us to do.