Scheduling of Parliamentary Business

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 5:50 pm on 17th July 2017.

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Photo of Valerie Vaz Valerie Vaz Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 5:50 pm, 17th July 2017

The hon. Gentleman clearly was not listening. The Standing Orders state exactly what a Session is, and the Government have extended it.

Why is this important? Decisions have to be made on important matters that affect our country. So far, the Government have been pushed to give us an answer. For example, my hon. Friend Stella Creasy had to table an amendment to the Queen’s Speech. Last week, my hon. Friend Diana Johnson had to secure an emergency debate on contaminated blood to set up an inquiry, to which the Government conceded only just before the start of the debate.

As is the usual convention, I have asked the Leader of the House several times for a debate on the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) (Amendment) Regulations 2017, the Higher Education (Basic Amount) (England) Regulations 2016 No. 1205 and the Higher Education (Higher Amount) (England) Regulations 2016 No. 1026, which have been prayed against. Time was given on 19 April but, given the interruption of the election, no time has been offered for that debate. The failure of this Government to allow a debate and a vote on the regulations has created growing uncertainty for students starting university or continuing their studies in the coming academic year. Will the Leader of the House confirm that the regulations have not been enacted and that there will be no increase for students in September? Paragraph 5 of schedule 2 to the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 states that for any increases in the higher amount of tuition fees, it would be necessary that

“each House of Parliament has passed a resolution”.

That has not been enacted yet, so have the Government sneaked this in under another Act and betrayed our young people?

This Government are just not working. There has been no justice for the 1950s women—an issue raised by my hon. Friend Grahame Morris last week. My hon. Friends the Members for Worsley and Eccles South (Barbara Keeley) and for Swansea East (Carolyn Harris), and the hon. Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North (Gavin Newlands), have all raised this important issue, as have many Conservative Members.

We need a debate and a votable motion on the health service. There has been a 23% fall in nursing applications. As the shadow Health Secretary said today, more than 12,000 surgical procedures on children and young people were cancelled last year—an increase of 35%. GPs are now charging for visits; that is obviously an end to the national health service as we know it.

A decision has to be made on the Swansea tidal lagoon before the end of July. I have a letter here that has been signed by 107 Members from all parties, asking that the Hendry review is put into effect. I also raised that matter at business questions.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill has now been published, and a number of statutory instruments will flow from it. Clauses 7 to 9 of the Bill all state:

“A Minister of the Crown may by regulations make such provision as the Minister considers appropriate”.

It is about Ministers having the power to do what they want. The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union deflects this point. He said that if a statutory instrument is before the House, the House of Commons decided whether it debates it and votes on it. He said that that is in the call of the House of Commons and, patronisingly,

“it is what they call a statutory instrument which is, can be debated, can be voted on.”

Sorry, I cannot get his voice right.

The Secretary of State thinks that we should be debating. When was the last time the Leader of the House actually spoke to the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union? The minority Government are not working.