Issue of sum out of the Consolidated Fund for the year ending 31 March 2020 and appropriation of that sum

Part of Northern Ireland Budget Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:13 pm on 30th October 2019.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 6:13 pm, 30th October 2019

I thank my hon. Friend for what she said. There has been a joint campaign to have the Vertex drug available for those with cystic fibrosis. I am thankful for the decision, but we need to move this a stage further. As she said, it would be better if we had the legislation in place to make sure that we get it in Northern Ireland— we should do. We met Jen Banks and her wee boy here in the House. I also have a constituent in Newtownards who suffers from the same thing and who needs the drug immediately, so it would be great if that happened.

I am glad that the election has been called. I am happy to put myself before my constituents knowing that I have consistently done what I believe to be right in this House, yet I am disheartened by the conduct in this place. We seem to have lost our sense of honour and of being people of our word and doing the right thing—we in the DUP corner of the House certainly feel that way. I still continue to do that and should I be re-elected, I will continue to do so. Only a few weeks ago, it was remarkable that across the House, everybody could turn up, when they were putting the backstop in place, to do us over, yet where are they tonight? When it comes to being honourable people and doing the right thing, I find that I have seen less of it in this House over the last period. There are many in this House who I am good friends with, and I intend to be good friends with them forever, but I do feel let down and I want to put that on record.

The Northern Ireland Budget Bill will enable day-to-day life to continue in the Province. We have come through a number of years of austerity. Although I can comprehend the rationale behind that, it is difficult to watch the daily effects of it. Our streets are untidy, because Transport NI can no longer afford to address the weeds, never mind resurface the roads, but I am pleased to note from my most recent correspondence with Transport NI that the spend allocated for Strangford in 2018-19 is just over £11 million, which is almost a combination of that for 2016-17 and 2017-18.

I am reminded of a song from when I was a wee boy—that was not yesterday, by the way. We probably all know it from our childhood: “Four wheels on my wagon and I’m still rolling along”; “Three wheels on my wagon and I’m still rolling along”—then two wheels, then one wheel, but do you know something? When there are no wheels on the wagon, you do not roll along at all. What we find with the Northern Ireland Assembly is that we are not rolling along. What a disappointment that we are not doing anything the way we should be. There are no wheels on my wagon—or no wheels on the Assembly’s wagon, I should say, and we are not rolling anywhere. [Laughter.]