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[1st Day]

Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 6:47 pm on 21st June 2017.

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Photo of Anne Main Anne Main Conservative, St Albans 6:47 pm, 21st June 2017

It is a delight to follow Nigel Dodds, who made a very thoughtful and sensitive speech. Indeed, he expressed the sentiments of my right hon. Friend John Redwood, who said that, overwhelmingly, the country had delivered the parties that had promised to deliver Brexit. Only one party tried to offer some form of second referendum, and believe me, its members spent a lot of time stamping around my constituency. It is no secret that I was a leading Brexit Member of Parliament, and that 63% of my constituents had voted to remain. Even so—despite the onslaught on my constituency—the good people of St Albans returned me to Parliament for the fourth time, and I am very grateful for that.

Other Members have said today that they are not deaf to austerity and the problems that face our schools. I, too, am not deaf to the concerns that were raised in my constituency, and never intended to be. I think it behoves us all, whichever side of the argument we were on, to recognise that, overwhelmingly, the country voted to proceed with its decision to leave the European Union. They will not thank a single one of us who seeks to play political games with that, and they will not thank a single one of us who chooses to try to make a Government fall, fail, look stupid, or become mired in a business that would mean that nothing else happened and nothing got through.

I want to refer to other aspects of the Queen’s Speech, but I absolutely agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham that it is probably the most weighty Queen’s Speech with which we have ever had to deal. I sincerely hope that we shall scrutinise it closely in all the months that lie ahead. It is a shame that the Liberal Democrats never seem to stay around to listen to or participate in any of the debates. I remember attending, with my hon. Friend Sir William Cash, a debate about a takeover of the London stock exchange by Deutsche Bourse. My hon. Friend was extremely concerned about the issue, but only five Members of Parliament turned up to scrutinise it. Eventually, it did not happen, but the point is that we all have a duty to ensure, as difficult issues arise, that we do not take a fixed, intransigent view, but try to adopt the flexible and pragmatic approach to which the right hon. Member for Belfast North referred.

I want to touch on some other things in the Queen’s Speech, because I know that we will have many nights of debate on Brexit. I am pleased to hear that the Government will work with BRE. People were trapped in Grenfell Tower. We do not know the reasons behind it all yet. People are saying that potentially it was the cladding, or it was to do with the stairwells. All of us have tower blocks in our constituencies that have been retro-fitted, amended or upgraded for insulation purposes, for example. In my constituency, and I am sure in others, there are blocks that are part privately and part publicly owned. It is only when something happens that the flaws are exposed. I have already written to my local authority—I am sure many Members have written to theirs—to ask it to evaluate the amendments that have been made to buildings of which they have a share or control. I hope that in the coming months guidance will be provided by the Government to local authorities on that matter because all sorts of things have happened to many buildings over the years and it is important that we understand what the impact has been on their safety standards.

I am delighted that the Queen’s Speech mentions helping to reduce motor insurance premiums. I and many other Members took part in a debate on that. The issue is affecting our young people, who are finding it impossible to learn to drive and to get their car insured.