Summer Adjournment

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:38 pm on 25th July 2019.

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Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs 4:38 pm, 25th July 2019

It is always a pleasure to speak in the debate on matters to be raised before the summer Adjournment. I welcome the Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury, Jeremy Quin to his new post and to his debut at the Dispatch Box. This is probably one of the nicest debates in which to have the pleasure of making his debut appearance at the Dispatch Box.

Madam Deputy Speaker, you were very clear that I certainly should not go above 10 minutes in my contribution. Given that there have been 25 speakers in this debate, I will not have enough time to do justice to the diversity of the issues that have been raised, so hon. Members will please forgive me for not taking interventions to allow time for the Minister to have his time at the Dispatch Box.

I thank Sir David Amess for his efforts in securing this debate and for being such a regular attender at such debates. I thoroughly enjoy his contributions in them.

My hon. Friend Sir Mark Hendrick was the first Member to rise to speak on my side of the House, and it was a pleasure to have a fellow Lancashire Member speaking in this debate. At the time, there was also a fellow Lancashire Member in the Chair—Sir Lindsay Hoyle. I would like to take up the issues my hon. Friend the Member for Preston raised about crime in Lancashire. I know his local councillors are out—day in, day out—especially the newly elected Councillor Pav Akhtar, who is committed to campaigning every day. In reality, Lancashire has lost 754 police officers since 2010—the seventh biggest loss in the country—and I hope that the recent announcement will mean that Lancashire gets a fair deal when we learn where the 20,000 new police officers will go.

Jeremy Lefroy spoke about the emergency department in his constituency. He might be interested to know that I texted a family member who is one of his constituents, and they completely agreed with his comments on the matter, which have gone down well in his constituency. The hon. Gentleman also spoke about electric vehicle charging points, and I pay tribute to Lancaster City Council for its work on that issue. In the past two months it has opened five new electric vehicle charge points in its car parks, helping people to make that transition.

My hon. Friend Nick Smith spoke about pensions mis-selling, and called on the Government to do more to protect our constituents. Bob Blackman spoke about the criminalisation of people for being homeless, and I agree that no one should be criminalised for that. My hon. Friend John Grogan rattled through a lot of different issues in his short allocation of time, including the three early-day motions that he has tabled. I agree with his analysis of early-day motion 2649, because if we are to declare a climate emergency, we must at very least review whether Heathrow expansion is compatible with that. I share my hon. Friend’s concerns about the domination of the commercial radio market by Global and Bauer, and the loss of local radio, and I pay tribute to those who work for Beyond Radio and Radio Wave in my constituency. They keep my constituents informed about local issues, and ensure that not all our news is dominated by Liverpool, Manchester or London.

Fiona Bruce, who is no longer in her place, raised the important issue of abused women and the need to protect them from exploitation. She described some interesting proposals concerning important issues, and I know she has much support among Labour Members on such matters. My hon. Friend Mary Glindon noted that every day 80 people die from alcohol abuse, and I support her call for minimum unit pricing. Douglas Ross raised various issues, including the baby bank in his constituency, and I wondered whether he saw the powerful Channel 4 documentary last autumn, which brought that issue to my attention. My hon. Friend Mr Sweeney also mentioned baby banks, and it is a dire state of affairs if this country needs baby banks as well as food banks.

My hon. Friend Mrs Moon mentioned child trust funds and dormant accounts that hold money for young people in this country. I call on the Government to do more to help young people to access money that is rightfully theirs and could be truly life-changing. My hon. Friend Mr Lewis mentioned avoidable deaths due to epilepsy, although he did not mention an issue that I know he cares passionately about: sodium valproate and the effect it has on pregnancies. I pay tribute to his constituent, Emma Murphy, and my constituent, Janet Williams, who are tireless campaigners on that issue. I know that justice for them is not far away.

Stephen Kerr spoke about the need for more Changing Places facilities, and I pay tribute to Lancashire County Councillor, Lizzi Collinge, who champions that issue in the red rose county. I know she will continue to campaign on that and many other issues in our local area.

My hon. Friend Susan Elan Jones mentioned the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, and I hope that her raising that in the House will help other veterans to find that source of support, as well as inform hon. Members so that we can signpost our constituents towards that help.

Stewart Malcolm McDonald agreed with the hon. Member for Stirling about drugs deaths, and I support their call for a statement on that in the autumn. Indeed, it is in the spirit of these debates to find agreement across the House on many issues.

John Woodcock mentioned the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, and the book published today by Peter Duffy, a whistleblower who was unfairly dismissed by the trust. I pay tribute to Peter’s work, and hope that the Health Secretary will take an interest in his case. I have previously written to the Secretary of State to ask him to meet Peter Duffy. So far that request has been declined, but I will continue to put on pressure, and perhaps those on the Treasury Bench will pass on that message to the Secretary of State.

My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow North East is a tireless campaigner. He will not be dropping the issue of the Cally, which must be saved. These are vital skills and jobs that should be at the heart of the future of railway engineering in Scotland. I know he will be raising that issue continuously.

My right hon. Friend Stephen Timms takes up injustices in his constituency and raises them in this place. I certainly agree that student intellectual property should be protected.

My hon. Friend Lloyd Russell-Moyle is not just a champion of youth work, which he raised in this House yesterday, but, as he proved today, of schools in his constituency.

My hon. Friend Wes Streeting has campaigned since 2015 on the issue of taxis. As chair of the all-party group on taxis, he produced an excellent piece of work. I hope that legislation will be forthcoming from the Government.

My hon. Friend Jim Fitzpatrick raised genuine concerns about e-scooters, exploitative leaseholds and cladding on high-rise buildings. I hope they have been heard by those on the Treasury Bench.

My hon. Friend Lyn Brown usually raises local issues in this debate, but her passion for social justice and human rights went far beyond the boundaries of West Ham today. I hope Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers heard her words.

My hon. Friends the Members for Oxford East (Anneliese Dodds) and for York Central (Rachael Maskell) raised the climate emergency. As temperatures have hit 39 degrees, knowing that we have caused great damage to the planet we live on is unavoidable. I call on the Government to take decisive action to meet the climate emergency—ban fracking and invest in renewables by supporting the solar industry and reinvigorating onshore wind, so that we play our role. My hon. Friend the Member for York Central also talked about communities being at the heart of planning decisions.

I think my hon. Friend Siobhain McDonagh touched all our hearts when she told us about the situation with her local children’s hospice. I would like to put on the record my admiration for the staff at both Brian House children’s hospice in Blackpool and Derian House in Chorley and for the work they do. We know that children’s hospices need far more support and this is not an isolated incident.

As for Jim Shannon, I do not think any Adjournment debate in this place would feel truly complete without his contribution. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”] I thank him for it.

I take this opportunity to thank all Members for taking part in this debate. I wish everyone a very good summer, including you, Madam Deputy Speaker. Please pass on my best wishes for the summer to your fellow Deputy Speakers and to Mr Speaker.

Our staff work very hard behind the scenes. I pay tribute to John Percival and Liam Budd, who work in my Westminster office. They are the unsung heroes of this place and they are aptly represented by the Unite parliamentary staff branch, which is doing its best to ensure that they get a better deal. Constituency office staff are at the frontline of the work we do as Members of Parliament. I am sure the whole House will join me in paying tribute to the work they do to support our constituents. I would like to thank Darren Mason, Alison Tarpey-Black, Sam Harrison and Adam Slater in my constituency office.

I thank the Doorkeepers and the security staff. I wish them a very happy summer. I am sure they will be delighted—once we’ve gone, I am sure their jobs get much easier. I wish everyone a happy, healthy and peaceful summer. I know we will continue to work hard on behalf of all our constituents.