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 absolutely share the hon. Gentleman’s good wishes to the Welsh rugby team on Friday night. In fact, a member of my Leader’s office staff who is herself Welsh will be at the Stade de France. In return, I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will wish the English all success on Saturday against Ireland. There might be some disagreement here. Come on England! Sorry, Mr Deputy Speaker.

However, the hon. Gentleman has raised a very serious point. I am so sorry to hear about the break-in at the church that he mentioned. The mindlessness of such vandalism is appalling: it does so much to destroy people’s sense of security and safety.

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. The Church does so much good in our communities, from running food banks to providing help for elderly and disabled people and those who are lonely. Churches are a vital part of our communities. I would personally welcome it if the hon. Gentleman sought a Back-Bench debate so that we could all share in a discussion of the excellent work done not just by our churches but by, for example, our synagogues and Sikh temples.