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Britain's Place in the World

Part of Speaker’s Statement – in the House of Commons at 4:37 pm on 15th October 2019.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 4:37 pm, 15th October 2019

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his intervention, but I have a contrary opinion to his—he probably expects me to say that. The reason is that I have confidence in the fishing sector and what it can do. I use the example of Portavogie: the products that we sell, Portavogie prawns, Kilkeel prawns and Ardglass prawns, are sold all over the world. They are sold because they are the best quality product and because they are wanted. Will those markets close just because the fisheries will not have access? No, they will not; they still want the product, so they will pay for the product and they will ensure they have access to it.

The Government have also committed themselves to subsidies that reward farmers for biodiversity, which I welcomed yesterday. I declare an interest, as a member of the Ulster Farmers Union. Hilary Benn referred to the Ulster Farmers Union, which he spoke to today, as did my hon. Friend Ian Paisley. I can tell them, as a member of the Ulster Farmers Union, that my neighbours, who are all involved in the dairy sector, all wish to leave the EU and look forward to the future.

The Government have given a commitment to ensuring that some of the tariffs, subsidies and grants will be in place as long as they have the wherewithal to do that. Lakeland Dairies, in my constituency, has two factories in Northern Ireland and two in southern Ireland, and that milk product will cross the border on a number of occasions, so, again, the future for us is very bright.

I welcome the Government’s commitment to the national health service and to health. Stating that minor ailments can be referred to pharmacies will take some of the pressure off general practitioners, doctors and nurses. I also welcome the Government’s commitment to law and order, but also to their obligation to ensure the safety and security of the people they serve.

I particularly welcome the measures on prisoners’ disclosure of victims. Just last week in Northern Ireland we had a man who was convicted of murdering a lady who disappeared some six or seven years ago. I believe it is imperative that we have in place a law that says, “If you have murdered someone and you don’t disclose that, you get more years in prison.” The Government have given a commitment to bringing in that legislation; I know the families want to see that happen, I want to see it happen and it is good news.

It is also good news that the Government are bringing forward laws to implement new building safety standards. In Northern Ireland we have some 33 tower blocks; I understand that it is a devolved matter, but the fact is that we had a fire in Dunmurry, shortly after the Grenfell disaster, which brought home to us, and made us aware of, the need to have legislation in place.

I welcome the compensation that will come off the back of the historical institutional abuse inquiry for victims who have been abused over the years. I also welcome the Government’s commitment to ensuring that broadband connections are in place. The Democratic Unionist party has a confidence and supply agreement with the Conservative party, through which broadband was delivered, and we want to see that continue.