Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:43 am on 31st January 2019.

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Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 10:43 am, 31st January 2019

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her questions. As she will be aware—I have said this a number of times in the Chamber—in this Session, so far, we have introduced 46 Bills, 33 of which have received Royal Assent, with three others waiting to receive Royal Assent.

The hon. Lady asked whether we have time for all our Brexit legislation by exit day. I can absolutely assure her that my day job is to make sure, on a daily basis, that both the primary legislation and the secondary legislation are progressing through the House. That is the case and will continue to be the case. I am confident that the legislation we need to have Royal Assent—or, in the case of secondary legislation, to be made—by the 29 March will be done. On secondary legislation for Brexit, over 360 EU exit SIs have been laid to date. We are making good progress. We are under pressure, but it is all very much under control and we do expect to achieve what we need to do by 29 March.

The hon. Lady asks about statutory instruments the Opposition have prayed against. As I say consistently to the hon. Lady, the Government have a good record of providing time to debate negative SIs that are prayed against by the official Opposition when a reasonable request is made. The official Opposition prayed against six Treasury SIs very late in the praying period—in fact, the last day before they were made—and did not request a debate through the usual channels. I am afraid that is quite late in the day to be making such requests, but I will continue to consider requests that are made through the usual channels.

I am pleased that the hon. Lady is pleased that the universal credit regulations that are subject to the affirmative procedure will be debated in both Houses. She asks for a debate on the NHS 10-year plan. That is a very good idea and I will certainly take that away as a representation from her. She asks about the local government funding SI to be debated next week. She asks for a debate, which I have just announced will be next week, so I hope she is pleased that there will be a debate. She suggests that a written ministerial statement is “sneaking out” news. As far as this Parliament has always been concerned, a written ministerial statement is not sneaking out news; it is providing information to the House in a way that is entirely orderly.

The hon. Lady mentions the appalling situation for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. The hon. Lady will be aware that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made it a personal mission to seek to free Nazanin, so that she can get back to her husband and daughter. [Interruption.] The hon. Lady says when. I am not sure what she thinks the UK Government should do, other than to continue to make representations, as we are doing, on the grounds of human rights and the innocence of Nazanin, to have her returned home to her family as soon as possible.