Business of the House

Part of Prayers - [Mr Speaker in the Chair] – in the House of Commons at 9:33 am on 13th May 2021.

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Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 9:33 am, 13th May 2021

Or, indeed, as Mr Speaker helpfully says, hats. Therefore, there are requirements in this place to prevent personation, and surely what is good enough for the House of Commons to prevent personation is right. [Interruption.] Although that was a wonderful heckle, at the moment we are using our identity cards to vote, so Chris Bryant is not right on this occasion; that is a most unusual lapse in his normal attention to the detail of the procedures of the House.

Having photographic identification ensures that a problem does not arise. This country has an electoral system of which people can be proud and in which people have confidence. We must not allow that confidence to slip. We do not want hanging chads and then to deal with it afterwards. We want to stop hanging chads happening before that becomes an issue and personation becomes at risk. It is only reasonable to ask people to turn up with their photographic identification or get it from their local council, so that they can vote. I fear that it is absolutely classic of the socialists—they do not have any confidence in their own voters. We have confidence in our voters, because we think our voters will not find it unduly onerous or taxing to turn up with an identity document of some kind.

As regards the ambition of the Queen’s Speech, it actually delivers on all the things that the hon. Lady seemed to be asking for—there is major planning reform, there are freeports to help boost the economy and COP26 is coming this year. I thought her comments were rather more in favour of the Queen’s Speech than hostile to it. I am grateful for that; I will take what I can in these circumstances.

Social care has been a long-standing issue. The last Labour Government—happily, a long time ago now—had two Green Papers and one royal commission, and still could not come up with any solution, but this Government are committed to coming forward with our solution by the end of this year. That is absolutely clear, and it was mentioned in the Queen’s Speech—the Gracious Speech. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has been the most assiduous attender in this House, updating this House on every aspect of his responsibility. He is very good at doing that, and he does it more often than almost any other Secretary of State.

As regards cladding, and of course we come to the anniversary of Grenfell in June, that is a serious issue, and the building safety Bill will deal with it. It is proper to deal with these things in the appropriate legislation. That is what Her Majesty’s Government said as the Fire Safety Bill was going through, and it will be dealt with in the building safety Bill, which will be coming forward shortly. The hon. Lady should wait for the exciting announcements that come from this Dispatch Box.

Finally, as regards the inquiry, it is surely better to do it when the pandemic has come to an end. It is still being dealt with. The vaccine roll-out is an enormous achievement, but it is still being rolled out. An enormous administrative effort is still required to make sure that it is taking place effectively. I think that to distract from the good work that is being done with an inquiry now would be a mistake, but the time will come and it will come relatively soon.