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Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:18 am on 17th October 2019.

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Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 11:18 am, 17th October 2019

There was an enormous amount in that, but I think the key point on the Queen’s Speech is that we have had six days of debate and all those issues could have been raised then; that is the opportunity to discuss them. This Queen’s Speech is not very popular with the Opposition, which I confess is not a great surprise—why would it be? They are, after all, the Opposition. The basic point is that they should have voted for the motion allowing for an early general election, and then they could have had their own Queen’s Speech. The right hon. Lady kept asking when we were going to have a new Session of Parliament, so it really is absolutely extraordinary that as soon as we oblige her—as soon as we do what she has asked for—she says that that is not right, either. There is, it has to be said, no pleasing some people.

I shall address some of the specific points the right hon. Lady raised. The Government will be spending an extra £33.9 billion on the health service—a really important and significant amount of money—including £1.8 billion going to 20 specific hospitals. I am glad to say that the Royal United Hospitals Bath, which serve my constituency, will be receiving some of that additional money. I think that right hon. and hon. Members across the House should welcome the commitment that the Government are making to the health service. Perhaps that is the nub of the matter: a really exciting domestic programme has been announced in the Queen’s Speech—it will tackle knife crime, it will ensure that prisoners serve proper sentences, it will deal with the national health service and improve it, and it will improve people’s standards of living—and it is absolutely fascinating that the Opposition are clearly not in favour of reducing knife crime, do not care much about the NHS and do not want to improve standards of living for people across the United Kingdom. That is the oddity of opposition.

Is it not wonderful, Mr Speaker: there is objection to ID being presented before people go and vote, whereas there are reports that somebody has gone to work for the Leader of the Opposition who had been found guilty of fraud—over 100 individual cases of people faking electoral identification? One begins to understand why the Opposition are not so keen on identification—because it makes it harder for them to scurry for votes around and about.

The right hon. Lady, as always, mentions Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and is quite right to do so. This is a matter of the highest priority for the Government, although there is a recognition of the limits of what Her Majesty’s Government can do in influencing regimes that behave unlawfully. She mentions the Families Alliance Against State Hostage Taking. I am sure that a Minister will be available to see them and talk to them; I think that would be an important and right thing to do.

The right hon. Lady ended by saying that the Government should act for the many and not the few. Well, this Government, being a Conservative Government and not factional, believe in operating for everybody and looking at a united and single country, where we offer services, good will and an improved standard of living to all.