Engagements

Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons on 10th July 2019.

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Photo of Alex Sobel Alex Sobel Labour/Co-operative, Leeds North West

If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 10 July.

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

This morning I have spoken to Sir Kim Darroch. I have told him that it is a matter of great regret that he has felt it necessary to leave his position as ambassador in Washington. The whole Cabinet rightly gave its full support to Sir Kim on Tuesday. Sir Kim has given a lifetime of service to the United Kingdom, and we owe him an enormous debt of gratitude. Good government depends on public servants being able to give full and frank advice, and I want all our public servants to have the confidence to be able to do that. I hope that the House will reflect on the importance of defending our values and principles, particularly when they are under pressure.

The whole House will want to join me in sending our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Tammy Minshall, the student paramedic who was killed in a traffic accident last week while on duty. This is a reminder of the members of all our emergency services who risk their lives each day on our behalf.

This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall have further such meetings later today.

Photo of Alex Sobel Alex Sobel Labour/Co-operative, Leeds North West

First, I associate myself with the comments regarding the tragic accident last week.

I am pleased to see the Prime Minister is wearing green. I hope it is not merely a greenwash, as I welcome the Government legislating for net zero by 2050. Before they did that, when the target was weaker, the Committee on Climate Change had already reported that they would miss their target, and today it says that the

“policy ambition and implementation now fall well short of what is required”.

Targets are helpful, but what we need is policies that actually deliver. Clearly the Prime Minister wants to leave a climate legacy, so will she bring forward the ban on diesel and petrol cars from 2040 to 2030 or sooner, and when will she end her Government’s opposition to cheap onshore wind power?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

In fact, we have an excellent record on dealing with climate change as a Government. We outperformed on our first and second carbon budgets, from 2008 to 2017; we are on track to meet the third, and the latest projections suggest that we are on track to deliver more than 90% of our required performance for the fourth and fifth carbon budgets; and we are the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050. The UK is leading the world on climate change; I want other countries to follow our example.

Photo of Jack Brereton Jack Brereton Conservative, Stoke-on-Trent South

North Staffordshire used to have one of the most extensive rail networks in the world, but now people in Stoke-on-Trent often have to rely on their cars. Will the Prime Minister join me in my petition to reopen Meir station in my constituency, as the next step to improving our local transport?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I know my hon. Friend has been campaigning on this matter for some time and has met Ministers to discuss it. I understand that the area is about to benefit from refurbished modern trains on the Crewe to Derby line from December this year, as part of the new east midlands rail franchise. The Department for Transport will have heard my hon. Friend’s call to reopen the station at Meir, and I know that he will continue to campaign on behalf of all his constituents.

Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

I too regret the resignation of Sir Kim Darroch. I think the comments made about him are beyond unfair and wrong. He has given honourable and good service, and he should be thanked for it. The whole House should join together in deeply regretting his feeling that he has to resign.

I join the Prime Minister in passing condolences to the family of Tammy Minshall, who died providing emergency services to our people.

Many people welcomed the powerful points the Prime Minister made when she was first appointed about burning injustices in Britain. Does she agree that access to justice is vital in order to tackle burning injustices?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

There are many burning injustices and they can be tackled in a variety of ways. That is the action I have taken not just as Prime Minister but as Home Secretary. I will give the right hon. Gentleman one example: the race disparity audit, which shines a light on inequality in public services, is enabling us to put into place action that helps to ensure that people across this country, whatever their background, have access to the public services they need.

Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Legal Aid and Advice Act 1949. That Act, introduced by the post-war Labour Government, gave all people access to justice, not just the rich, and was an essential pillar of a welfare state and a decent society. The Tory-Lib Dem coalition slashed legal aid in 2013 and the results are clearly very unfair. The number of law centres and other not-for-profit legal aid providers has more than halved, and there are now legal aid deserts across the country. Does the Prime Minister think that has helped or hindered the fight against burning injustices?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

The point I was making to the right hon. Gentleman, which he seems to fail to recognise, is that the whole question of burning injustice is not about just access to the legal system—[Interruption.] It is all very well Opposition Members shouting about this. If the Labour party really cared about burning injustices, they would have done a darned sight more when they were in power to deal with them.

Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

Some people have very short memories; the Tory-Lib Dem coalition cut legal aid but also brought in fees for employment tribunals. The then Minister for employment relations, Jo Swinson, piloted that through the House. Since that time, my union, Unison, took the Government to court and won, and, as a result, employment tribunal fees were cancelled. The cuts to legal aid affect people such as Marcus, a 71-year-old on pension credit, a leaseholder who is threatened with being evicted. He says:

“I’ve paid taxes and national insurance all my life. How is it right that when I’m being bullied and threatened with homelessness, the state won’t protect me?”

He goes on to say:

“I’ve been working to 2 am every night for the past six months collecting evidence…I’ve got no idea if I’ve prepared my evidence correctly”.

Doesn’t Marcus, trying to save his own home, deserve legal aid, in order to get proper representation in a court and be fairly heard?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

Obviously I recognise the concerns that Marcus has about taking his case, but the right hon. Gentleman might reflect on the fact that a quarter of the Ministry of Justice’s budget is spent on legal aid. We spent £1.6 billion on legal aid last year. We are committing to ensuring that people can access the help they need into the future, but that is only one part of the picture. We have published a plan for legal support, to maintain and improve access to support for those in need, and we are conducting a fundamental review of criminal legal aid fee schemes, which will consider criminal legal aid throughout the life cycle of a criminal case. So there are aspects of this issue that we are indeed looking at, but it is important that we ensure that we are careful with the provisions we make for legal aid, and as I say, a quarter of the MOJ budget is spent on legal aid.

Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

Just so that everyone is aware of this, Labour is committed to restoring legal aid funding for family law, housing, benefit appeals, judicial review preparation and inquests, and real action on immigration cases. And, as we announced yesterday, we will end the leasehold scandal.

The Department for Work and Pensions is failing disabled people. The MOJ has spent tens of millions of pounds each year defending appeals, over two thirds of which were won by the claimants. Rather than spending millions defending incorrect and often immoral decisions, would that money not have been better used increasing poverty-level benefits and providing legal aid to disabled people wrongly denied their basic dignity?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I am not going to take any lectures from the right hon. Gentleman on what this Government have done for disabled people. We are committed to tackling the injustices facing disabled people, so that everyone can go as far their talents will take them. Our spending on support for disabled people and people with health conditions is at a record high. We are seeing many more people—over 900,000 more disabled people—in work as a result of what this Government have done. If he is really interested in tackling injustices, let me tell him that the biggest injustice he should tackle is in his own Labour party—he should deal with antisemitism.

Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

My party is totally committed to eliminating racism in any form and antisemitism in any form. While the Prime Minister is about the lecturing, how about the investigation into Islamophobia in her party? [Interruption.]

Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

This is one lecture the Prime Minister might not want to take from me, but she might care to listen to what the United Nations said when it condemned the UK Government for their “grave” and “systematic violations” of the rights of disabled people. The Windrush scandal has resulted in the Government having to allocate £200 million in compensation to people wrongly deported from this country and denied services, with their lives totally pulled apart. These are people who have given their life to this country and our services. Does she think that scandal would have happened if legal aid had not been slashed by the Government and so many of those people had not been denied any representation in court?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

The right hon. Gentleman really needs to think rather more carefully about his arguments. Let us look at the issue of people of the Windrush generation. I have apologised for what happened to people of the Windrush generation. I have been very clear that they are British, they are here and they have a right to be here, and that these things should not have happened. We have apologised for the mistakes that have been made.

The right hon. Gentleman raises issues relating to people who were incorrectly deported. The initial historical review looked at around 11,800 detentions and removals and identified 18 people who were most likely to have been wrongly deported or removed. Of those, six were removed or detained under the last Labour Government.

The way the right hon. Gentleman talks, we would think he was a man of principle, but what do we actually see from him? Labour policy is to ban non-disclosure agreements, but his staff have to sign them. He was an anti-racist; now he ignores antisemitism. He has been a Eurosceptic all his life; now he backs remain. He is truly living up to the words of Marx: “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them, well, I have others”—

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I know the right hon. Gentleman is keen to get to the Dispatch Box when the name Marx is mentioned. I was merely going to point out to him that those were the words not of Karl but of Groucho.

Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

Coming from the Prime Minister who created the hostile environment that brought about the Windrush scandal, who ordered “Go home” vans to drive around London, who refuses to acknowledge Islamophobia in her own party, and whose party consorts with racists and antisemites in the European Parliament and sucks up to those Governments across Europe, we do not need those kinds of lectures.

One legal aid firm said:

“We see people more desperate and in more extreme need than they were five years ago, and there is nowhere to send them. Those people are invisible to the system.”

That is a denial of people’s basic rights. The United Nations says that legal aid cuts have

“overwhelmingly affected the poor and people with disabilities”.

Without equal access to justice, there is no justice. Today, in modern Britain, millions are denied justice because they do not have the money. Isn’t that a disgrace? Isn’t that a burning injustice?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

The right hon. Gentleman may do his best to ignore the antisemitism in his party, but I think—[Hon. Members: “Answer the question!”] I think he should listen to the words of the former Labour party general secretary, the noble Lord Triesman, who said:

“We may one day be the party of anti-racism once again but it certainly isn’t today.”

The right hon. Gentleman has asked questions about injustice; let me tell him about an injustice. It is an injustice when you force people who are working hard day and night to earn an income for their family to pay more taxes because of a Labour party economic policy in government that led to the destruction of our economy. What do we see from the Labour party? You earn more; they want you to pay more tax. You buy a home; they want you to pay more tax. You want to leave something to your children; they want you to pay more tax—Labour’s £9 billion family tax. Labour used to have a slogan of “Education, education, education”; now, it is just “Tax, tax, tax. Injustice, injustice, injustice.”

Photo of Kirstene Hair Kirstene Hair Conservative, Angus

I am a Unionist with every fibre of my being, which is why I was so aghast to hear Nicola Sturgeon’s colleagues talking about their wish to railroad through an independence referendum without a section 30 order—at a time when public services in Scotland are mismanaged and need that desperate resource, and with an economy that has stagnated. They are continually pursuing policies that cut off the circulation of our United Kingdom at Berwick, and not because they are in the interests of Scotland. Will the Prime Minister join me in condemning this illegal referendum approach and push the SNP to prioritise the areas that are actually in the interests of the people of Scotland?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The SNP promised people in Scotland in 2014 that the independence referendum was a once-in-a-generation vote. Now it is laying the foundation for another vote in just 18 months’ time. SNP Members often claim—they stand up and claim it here in this House—that Scotland is being ignored. It is being ignored by an SNP Government, obsessed with another referendum against the wishes of a clear majority of Scots. I agree with my hon. Friend that people in Scotland want a Scottish Government who focus on improving their schools, improving their health service and improving their economy—not one obsessed by separation.

Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader

I must say, every time the Prime Minister speaks in Scotland, our vote goes up.

Today is Srebrenica Memorial Day. I trust that everyone in this House will want to recognise the unbelievable sacrifice that so many faced. Yesterday, I met some of the survivors of genocide. We must do all we can to make sure that we call out the genocide-deniers, and that we learn the lessons from man’s inhumanity to man that we witnessed in the continent of Europe. Never again should that happen in Europe, or anywhere else.

May I join the Prime Minister in her words to Kim Darroch? It is a pity that the former Foreign Secretary, the candidate for leadership of the Tory party, did not stand up for our leading diplomat in the United States yesterday.

I also pay tribute to Winnie Ewing, who has her 90th birthday today. She is the only parliamentarian to sit in this House, in the Scottish Parliament and in the European Parliament. We remember the words of Winnie:

“Stop the world, Scotland wants to get on.”

Mark Carney has said that the UK economy does not appear to be growing. Danny Blanchflower, one of the few to predict the financial crisis in 2008, has said:

“The early evidence suggests the UK is already in a recession.”

The dark clouds of Brexit are with us. Will the Prime Minister continue to ignore all the warning signs of recession?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

First, in relation to Srebrenica, I absolutely agree with the right hon. Gentleman. Every time we see a massacre of this sort, we hope that humanity will learn from it. Sadly, all too often we see that that is not the case. I was at the Western Balkans summit last Friday in Poland, working with the countries of the western Balkans, encouraging them and working with them to find peaceful ways of working together so that we can ensure that those countries see political stability and prosperity for their people in the future.

The right hon. Gentleman then talked about the state of the UK economy. I am very pleased to see that we actually have the best record in the G7 in terms of growth. We have the longest period of growth of any of the countries in the G7. We also have record numbers of people in employment, a record low in unemployment, and investment in our economy. This is an economy that is doing well, but it could really take off, and it would have done if the right hon. Gentleman had actually voted for Brexit and voted for the deal that we put to this House.

Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader

Perhaps we should look at the facts: we have record food bank use; Ernst and Young tells us that the Brexit bill so far for financial services companies alone is as much as £4 billion; foreign investment projects into the UK have dropped 14%, the lowest level in six years; car production fell 15.5% in May, the 12th straight month of decline; UK retail sales have experienced their “worst June on record”; and the near stagnation of the services sector in June is one of the worst performances we have seen over the past decade. We have the evidence, Prime Minister, on how your legacy will be driving the UK economy over the cliff into another recession. Has not this Prime Minister sacrificed the jobs and livelihoods of people across the UK in order to please her Brexiteer Back Benchers? Take no deal off the table, and take positive action to restore confidence in the economy. The blame for any recession will lie at the door of this Brexit-obsessed Government, who are incapable of doing their day job.

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

The right hon. Gentleman talks about the car industry; I am sorry that, in referencing that industry, he did not reference the fact that in the last week we have seen the announcement by Jaguar Land Rover that it is going to manufacture electric vehicles in Castle Bromwich, preserving 2,700 jobs at the plant. We have also seen BMW announce that it is going to manufacture the electric Mini in its Oxford plant, preserving 5,000 jobs in that plant.

The right hon. Gentleman knows that he could have taken no deal off the table by voting for the deal. But if he wants to talk about economic forecasts and the future of economies, perhaps he should give a little more reflection to the fact that the forecasts for Scotland show that its economy will grow more slowly than the rest of the United Kingdom over the next four years—under an SNP Government in Scotland.

Photo of Chris Green Chris Green Conservative, Bolton West

Cross-party work can be immensely beneficial, especially when delivering on the people’s priorities. Does my right hon. Friend agree that an excellent example is Farnworth and Kearsley First’s work with the Bolton Council leadership—which is now Conservative—to win an award for a future high streets fund? We can all agree that our high streets are the keystone of our local communities.

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

My hon. Friend makes an absolutely excellent point. What we have seen in the example that he has cited is the benefit of cross-party working. This can be immensely good—immensely positive—for local communities. I am delighted to hear that Bolton Council’s bid for Farnworth town centre has been successful in progressing to the next phase of the future high streets fund. My hon. Friend is right: we believe in our high streets—that is why we have created the high streets fund. This cross-party working by Conservative-led Bolton Council has shown what can be achieved.

Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Labour, Stockton North

Children as young as seven have been groomed and exploited to commit crimes, such as placing drugs inside their bodies to move them across the country, yet they are often treated as criminals, not victims. There is also a sad lack of support for them: two thirds of councils have no plan for tackling this kind of exploitation and just half collect the data on those at risk.

If the Prime Minister wants to secure any legacy on tackling modern-day slavery, will she instruct the Home Secretary to develop a cross-departmental strategy to tackle this despicable crime and end the criminalisation of these vulnerable youngsters?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

We are indeed continuing our work on tackling modern slavery. I was pleased that the Government responded yesterday to the independent review of the Modern Slavery Act; we have taken on board the majority of the recommendations from that independent review. That includes, of course, looking at the independent child guardians—a concept that we created—and how they can give support.

The issue that the hon. Gentleman references of the criminalisation of those forced to undertake criminal activities was addressed in the Modern Slavery Act when it was put through this House, but we continue to look at what more we can do to ensure that we are bringing an end to that crime—not just in the UK, but internationally as well.

Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton Conservative, Truro and Falmouth

Due to extreme pressure on services across Cornwall, leaders of our health and care services have declared a critical incident. The pressure has impacted on the Royal Cornwall Hospital in particular. That is extremely worrying for all families across Cornwall who rely on Treliske. Will my right hon. Friend assure me that she will do everything she can to enable Health Ministers to support leaders in Cornwall to resolve the situation as soon as possible?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

Obviously, this is a very important issue for my hon. Friend and her constituents. We are aware of the issues at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, and we know that the hospital is taking steps to rectify them. Of course, last winter Cornwall Council was supported with over £2 million of additional funding to help alleviate the pressures on the local NHS trust, but I can assure my hon. Friend that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health is going to meet MPs to discuss this matter and recognises the importance of this issue for my hon. Friend’s constituents.

Photo of Sandy Martin Sandy Martin Shadow Minister (Waste and Recycling)

In the run-up to the 2010 general election, the Conservatives in my constituency claimed that no children’s centres would close, and yet, within a matter of months, they were closing them and downgrading those that remained. Now Suffolk County Council is proposing to close half of those that remain, leaving just four full-time children’s centres in Ipswich out of the original nine. So will the Prime Minister tell us what sort of guarantees the Government can give on any future policies that they want the British people to believe?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

Obviously, we recognise the importance of ensuring that children have access to high-quality care. We have been putting extra money into social care, including for children. But it is also about the sorts of services that are delivered. It is important for us that we have taken a number of steps to improve the facilities that are available for looking after children in communities where those children require that—for example, the standards we have set for social workers. We do see the number of children’s services that are rated “outstanding” growing across the country. I think that is important; that is a Government who are actually looking at the issues that matter to parents and to children.

Photo of Craig Mackinlay Craig Mackinlay Conservative, South Thanet

My right hon. Friend may be aware that live animal export season out of Ramsgate port is, shamefully, in full swing, with a further shipment due out tomorrow. Does she agree that long-distance live animal exports, particularly across the channel to an unknown future, should not form part of any future post-Brexit agricultural policy, when we can be free of single market strictures that treat animals as mere goods?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

Obviously, my hon. Friend has raised an issue that I know is of concern to a lot of people. We are committed to maintaining our high standards on animal welfare, and food standards, once we have left the European Union. We will be replacing, of course, the EU’s common agricultural policy. What we will be doing is enabling ourselves, by being outside the European Union, to take decisions for ourselves, so we will be able to determine needs. That is an important first step towards a better future for farming—for our natural world. It is important for us to be able to do that and to maintain the high standards and quality standards for which we have a very good reputation across the world.

Photo of Karin Smyth Karin Smyth Labour, Bristol South

Head teachers and parents in Bristol South tell me that the lack of schools funding is impacting significantly on children with special educational needs, in addition to the wider impact on teaching across schools. Both the Prime Minister’s potential successors now acknowledge that schools are underfunded and have promised more money. Does she agree that that welcome new funding should be targeted at our most vulnerable children?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

As the hon. Lady knows, we are already putting more money into our schools. We are already putting more funding into special educational needs. I recognise the importance of ensuring that special educational needs are properly catered for, and that the needs of those children can be properly supported. That is why I am proud of the fact that we have been putting more money into our schools. What is also important, of course, for schools is what standards of education are provided within those schools—[Interruption.] Well, the hon. Lady talks about teaching. Yes, teaching is an important element of that, and we thank all our teachers, both in mainstream schools and in special educational needs schools, for the work that they do, day in and day out. I am pleased that we are seeing improved standards in our schools. That means more young people, whether they are in mainstream schools or with special education needs, having an opportunity to go far in life.

Photo of Ben Bradley Ben Bradley Conservative, Mansfield

The consequences of not leaving the European Union are profound, from the loss of trust in our democracy and institutions to the economic impact of civil unrest. Can my right hon. Friend help to dispel the myth peddled by some in this House that we could simply go back to the way things were, and could she share what assessment the Government have made of these risks?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend that it is imperative for this House to deliver on the vote of the British people in 2016. I have said that on many occasions, standing at this Dispatch Box and elsewhere. I think it is important that we do that. We could already have done that—I am sorry, but I am going to return to this theme. We could already have done that, had this House supported the deal. It will be up to my successor to find a way through this to get a majority in this Parliament, but I agree that it is important that we do deliver trust in politics by saying to people, “We gave you the choice, you told us your decision, and we will now deliver on it.”

Photo of Justin Madders Justin Madders Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care), Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Labour)

Vauxhall Motors in my constituency has a future if we can avoid crashing out of the EU without a deal, but my constituents are very concerned to hear in recent weeks the Prime Minister’s potential successors talk up the prospects of a no-deal Brexit. Will she tell them both in no uncertain terms that if they pursue that option, they will consign thousands of jobs in my constituency and beyond to history?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

The hon. Gentleman could have voted to save jobs in his constituency—[Interruption.] It is no good Labour MPs trying to deny this. They had the opportunity three times to vote to leave with a deal, and three times they rejected it.

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers Conservative, Chipping Barnet

Many of my constituents deeply oppose the Mayor of London’s plans to build over station car parks at High Barnet, Cockfosters and Finchley Central. Will the Prime Minister urge the Mayor to drop those plans, which would only make life harder for long-suffering commuters who just want to get to work and provide for their families?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I am sure my right hon. Friend appreciates the emphasis that the Government have put on more homes being built. We want to meet the ambition for 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s—it is a top priority for us—and London is a crucial part of achieving that. While it is important to get the homes built, it is also vital that the impact on the local community is properly assessed when planning decisions are made. We want to see more homes. They need to be built in the right place, and local concerns need to be properly taken into account.

Photo of Deidre Brock Deidre Brock Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Devolved Government Relations), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment and Rural Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales)

The all-party parliamentary group on electoral campaigning transparency is fairly new, but it is already very clear to us that something is rotten in the state of UK. The Prime Minister is legacy-shopping, so let me help. Will she commit to a clean-up of our election campaigning, as a truly dignified legacy upon leaving office? She has refused to reveal her Government’s spending with Cambridge Analytica and AggregateIQ. Before she leaves, will she change tack and start a new era in which elections and referendums cannot be so easily rigged?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I have answered the question in relation to Cambridge Analytica on a number of occasions, and it has been answered in writing to her by the appropriate Minister. Elections in this country are not rigged, as she puts it. The referendum was not rigged. These are the views of the British people who go to the ballot box and put their votes forward. If she is so interested in ensuring that democracy is respected, she needs to ensure that she votes for a deal, so that we can deliver on the 2016 referendum.

Photo of Robert Courts Robert Courts Conservative, Witney

The Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust is an academy schools trust that operates across the Witney and Maidenhead constituencies. Will the Prime Minister join me in celebrating its successes, such as at Holyport Primary School in her constituency and “outstanding” rated Brize Norton Primary School in my constituency? Does she agree that that is an example of how academisation can really work in rural constituencies like ours?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I am happy to join my hon. Friend in congratulating the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust on its success. I am also happy to congratulate Holyport Primary School on the recognition it has received as a good school and Brize Norton Primary in his constituency, which was rated outstanding. It shows that smaller schools in rural areas can provide an excellent quality of education and that the academy movement can provide for those schools and those children. It goes back to the point I made earlier: what matters is the quality of education our children receive, and in Holyport and Brize Norton, they are receiving a first-class education.

Photo of Gareth Snell Gareth Snell Labour/Co-operative, Stoke-on-Trent Central

This week, the Stoke-on-Trent Hardship Commission published its report, which demonstrated that income, education and employment were the driving factors of poverty in our city. I have sent the Prime Minister a copy, and I invite her to read it. Will she use what time and authority she has left in office to look at fixing universal credit, funding our schools and our further education colleges properly and raising the national living wage for under-25s, so that collectively, we can deal with the root causes of poverty?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

The hon. Gentleman raised a number of issues. As he will know, I believe that universal credit is a better system than the legacy system we inherited from the last Labour Government. It helps people into the workplace and ensures that, as they earn more, they are able to keep more of that money. On the back of the Augar review, which looked at post-18 education, I have indicated that I think it is important that we ensure that our further education colleges are funded and are able to provide an alternative route through education for those young people for whom that is right.

Photo of Trudy Harrison Trudy Harrison Conservative, Copeland

Will my right hon. Friend join me in commending the hard work and dedication of staff at West Cumberland Hospital, the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, the working together group and my fantastic community for their innovation and commitment, which, in addition to the over £100 million of investment from this Conservative Government, mean that consultant-led maternity services will be staying open for future generations?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend: I know she has been campaigning long and hard on that issue on behalf of her constituents. We welcome the clinical commissioning group’s decision to retain those consultant-led services in west Cumbria. Better Births has established that personalised care means safer care, and greater choice should be made available to women accessing maternity services. They should be able to make decisions about the support they need during birth, and where they would prefer to give birth. I think that a good decision has been taken, and I once again congratulate my hon. Friend on the campaign she has run.

Photo of Mary Glindon Mary Glindon Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Farming and Rural Communities)

The Prime Minister’s Government have once more lost in court to a public sector union, the Fire Brigades Union, over pensions. While fighting this case, the Government penalised all public sector workers by suspending pension valuations, meaning poorly paid frontline civil servants, many in the Public and Commercial Services Union, are not only being denied the money they are owed, but are making monthly pension overpayments of 2%. When will the Prime Minister give these loyal workers the money that is rightfully theirs?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

Of course, as the hon. Lady has made clear, there has been a case recently in the courts in relation to public sector pensions—on particular aspects of public sector pensions. We will of course have to look at the implications of that judgment across public sector pensions, and it is right that we take our time and that the Government make their decisions based on that careful consideration.

Photo of Jack Lopresti Jack Lopresti Conservative, Filton and Bradley Stoke

I am extremely proud to represent a constituency with world-leading defence manufacturers that underpin our country’s credibility as an ally and strategic partner. Does my right hon. Friend agree with me that, as we contemplate our fantastic future role in the world as an independent, self-governing and sovereign nation, the UK must continue to be a credible partner and ally in an increasingly dangerous world? Does she also agree with me that her successor should commit our country to a fully funded defence budget, so that we can remain a tier 1 military power?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I commend our world-leading defence manufacturers. They are an important industry, not only in creating and supporting jobs here in the United Kingdom, but given the significant exports. It is important that, as that independent, self-governing, sovereign nation, we are a good partner and ally in what is an uncertain world. We always have been that, and we will continue to be that. We continue to meet the NATO requirement of spending 2% of our GDP on defence. We are one of the few NATO countries that does that. We are the biggest European contributor to NATO, and we are the second biggest contributor to NATO. We are a leading military power, and we will remain a leading military power.

Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady SNP Chief Whip

During the right hon. Lady’s premiership, we have marked 100 years since the armistice of the great war, 100 years of women’s suffrage, 70 years of the NHS, the treaty of Rome and the universal declaration on human rights, and 20 years of devolution, and a week on Saturday will mark 50 years since the moon landings, one of the greatest human endeavours ever accomplished. In 50 or 100 years’ time, will history not judge Brexit and her legacy to have been one giant leap backwards for the people of these islands?

Photo of David Morris David Morris Conservative, Morecambe and Lunesdale

The Eden Project wants to come to the north of England—to Morecambe. I would like to have a meeting with the Chancellor and the Prime Minister to talk about putting Eden into Morecambe to make sure it is the jewel in the north-west that it should be.

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I was not previously aware that the Eden Project wanted to come to Morecambe. I am happy to arrange suitable conversations for my hon. Friend so that he can make that case.

Photo of Paula Sherriff Paula Sherriff Shadow Minister (Mental Health and Social Care), Shadow Minister (Mental Health)

A dental practice in my constituency has this week been forced to close due to unfair NHS dental contracts, leaving yet another neighbourhood without any dental service at all. Residents who urgently need care have had to get treatment from Dentaid, a charity set up to provide dental services in the world’s most deprived countries. Does the Prime Minister accept that the real decay is in the values of a society that does not provide free healthcare to all of its citizens, and that it is her Government who are responsible? When will she keep her promises to my constituents, and guarantee that all of them, wherever they live, can access NHS dental care when they need it?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

My understanding was that the CCGs have a responsibility for ensuring the provision of dental care in their area, but I will ask the Department of Health and Social Care to look at that specific case.

Photo of Bim Afolami Bim Afolami Conservative, Hitchin and Harpenden

I commend the Prime Minister for her leadership in ensuring that this Government have legislated on the net-zero carbon emissions target for 2050. I am sure she would agree that the next step is to make sure we improve our economy and our living standards, rather than destroying them. I am hosting a conference in my constituency to talk about this issue. Will she agree to be the guest speaker?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

First of all, I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend that such initiatives at a local level are an important part of the wider work we are doing on climate change and on making sure we leave the environment in a better state for the next generation.

I thank my hon. Friend for his invitation, and I will look to see how busy my diary is in the autumn. [Interruption.] Well, you never know. I may have a bit more free time in the autumn. This is an important issue, and I commend him for taking this initiative at a local level, because raising awareness of climate change at a local level is important for all of us.

Photo of Hugh Gaffney Hugh Gaffney Labour, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill

There are nearly 50 dog attacks on UK postal workers every week, which is why I back the Communication Workers Union’s dog awareness week campaign this week. I hope the Prime Minister will join me in both supporting dog awareness week and in recognising that the law is not currently fit for purpose.

Will the Prime Minister support Royal Mail and Parcelforce postal workers by launching an independent review of the effectiveness of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and of dog control more widely?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

A number of steps have been taken over the years to legislate in relation to dangerous dogs, and we all recognise the problems that some postal workers face, including being subjected to attacks by dogs when they are just going about their business—going about a job that is of benefit to the people of our constituencies.

Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield Conservative, Lewes

This week has been a game changer in the politics of Northern Ireland, with this place legislating on devolved issues and with the sad death of Sir Anthony Hart. Sir Anthony chaired the historical institutional abuse inquiry, which investigated the rape and sexual abuse of thousands of the most vulnerable children in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995. Some were raped over a period of months, and some over decades.

Will the Prime Minister commit to bringing forward legislation before the summer recess to compensate those victims and to give them the justice they deserve?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

First, I would like to pass on my condolences to the family and friends of Sir Anthony, who did an excellent job in the Hart inquiry of shining light on some horrific incidents that took place in Northern Ireland. Obviously, this issue was addressed by an amendment made to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill last night. As the Bill passes through Parliament, the Government will look carefully at these issues.

Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable Leader of the Liberal Democrats

The Prime Minister’s last major duty will be to recommend her successor. How does she plan to satisfy herself that the next leader of the Conservative party will command a majority in the House of Commons?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

The next leader of the Conservative party will be an excellent Prime Minister, whichever candidate wins, and they will ensure that they take this country through Brexit, deliver on the 2016 referendum, ignore the attempts by the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends to try to go back on the democratic vote of the British people, and lead us forward to a brighter future.

Photo of Craig Tracey Craig Tracey Conservative, North Warwickshire

Early diagnosis is key to further improvements in the survival rates for breast cancer. With that in mind, is the Prime Minister aware of the change and check campaign being run by Helen Addis, a member of the ITV show “Lorraine” team, and will she join me in congratulating Helen on that excellent initiative, which is already saving lives, especially at a time when she is going through her own breast cancer journey, as she describes it?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

My hon. Friend raises an important issue and I recognise the work that he has done on it. I will look carefully at the specifics of the issue that he has raised and respond to him in writing.

Photo of Gloria De Piero Gloria De Piero Shadow Minister (Justice)

A Nottinghamshire woman whose husband is in prison for her attempted murder was yesterday served with a letter from his lawyers demanding £100,000 as a settlement in their divorce. She would have to sell her family home to give him that money, and it is simply wrong. Would the Prime Minister support a change in the law to remove automatic entitlement to joint assets in such cases?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

The hon. Lady invites me to comment on a matter that is currently before the courts and will be determined through our justice system. We have careful legislation on divorce and the associated arrangements, and it is right that this is a case that is obviously, as she says, going through the courts.

Photo of Simon Hoare Simon Hoare Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee

North Dorset is predominantly an agricultural constituency. Does my right hon. Friend agree that were we to leave on WTO terms, it is likely to be RIP for British agriculture?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

It is incumbent on all of us as we look to the future to ensure that we take into account the needs of all parts of our country, of all industries and of all sectors of employment. I continue to believe that the deal that was negotiated, which would indeed have ensured the continuation of our agricultural sector, was the right way forward. Post-Brexit we will be able to establish our own rules in relation to support for the farming industry in the United Kingdom, which will be to our benefit.

Photo of Patricia Gibson Patricia Gibson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Consumer Affairs)

My constituent, Lizanne Zietsman, who has made her home on the island of Arran with her husband, has been told by the Home Office that she must leave the UK by Friday 12 July. Arran residents are understandably angry and upset at the prospect of losing a valued member of their community and a petition has garnered more than 16,000 signatures in a few days. Will the Prime Minister urgently intervene and instruct the immigration Minister to meet me so that we can ensure that Lizanne can continue to contribute to, live and work on the island of Arran?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

We have a set of immigration rules and it is right that the Home Office enforces those immigration rules, but I will ensure that the immigration Minister responds to the hon. Lady on the particular case.