Whitsun Adjournment

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:35 pm on 23rd May 2019.

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Photo of Mark Spencer Mark Spencer Comptroller (HM Household) (Whip, House of Commons) 4:35 pm, 23rd May 2019

We live in historic times, Madam Deputy Speaker. I believe my hon. Friend is the first Member from the Government Benches to rule themselves out.

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for his amazing work on animal welfare. His record stands above that of most Members. He went on to talk about the challenges of alcohol abuse and how we need to make sure we work better. I will be interested to know when the liver test will take place. That might be something I could attend myself, just to make sure I am not in any danger. We are occasionally flippant about some of these things, but they are really important. If we pick up health problems at an early stage, it can have a real impact on the prognosis for people’s health and mitigate some of the impact that such diseases, if undetected, can have later in life.

Nic Dakin made a very eloquent speech. His reasonable approach and tenacity and his pride in the steel industry are a real credit to him. He is viewed warmly on this side of the House. The Secretary of State shares his passion for the steel industry and genuinely wants to try to solve the challenges that it faces. Government Members recognise how important it is that, as an international country, our steel industry will still be there in 20 or 30 years’ time. As a Government, we have a responsibility to make sure, with the procurement decisions that we make, that we use British steel and support the industry, so that we are not held to ransom at some point in the future by countries such as the US, China, Germany and Japan, which will have stronger steel industries than us if we do not commit to supporting ours during this challenging time.

My hon. Friend Stephen Kerr started by putting a date in my diary: 9 June, 5 pm, which is when Scotland and England play each other in the women’s World cup. He said that Scotland will beat England, and for a moment I nearly shouted “Division!” until I looked around the Chamber and saw that there were more Scots than English here. Sport builds bridges between people. Over the last two or three years, women’s football has had a meteoric rise. We should be proud of that and I wish all the home nations luck in the upcoming World cup.

Jessica Morden has gone to collect her children, highlighting that this Parliament is accommodating of all those who have families. I pay tribute to her just for being a working mum and for being an excellent MP for Newport East. She made some very interesting points about EU citizens, and not only the positive contributions that they make but the challenges that the Polish community face, particularly with filling out forms. These are things that we take for granted—the ability to fill out forms in what would be a second language.