Engagements

Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at on 29 November 2023.

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Photo of Gavin Newlands Gavin Newlands Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport)

If he will list his official engagements for Wednesday 29 November.

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

This morning, I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall have other such meetings later today.

Photo of Gavin Newlands Gavin Newlands Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport)

Last year, Scotland exported 19 trillion Wh of electricity, worth £4 billion, to the UK grid, yet not only do Scottish generators pay the highest grid connection charges in Europe, but Scots pay among the highest standing charges while London’s are by far the lowest. Our heating and lighting is switched on a lot earlier and off a lot later than the south of England’s. Should Scottish households be forced to shiver in the dark this winter to subsidise the richest part of the UK?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

As the hon. Gentleman will know, standing charges are a matter for Ofgem, the independent regulator. Last week, it launched a consultation asking for views about standing charges. He will know that because of geographic factors, the UK Government already provide an annual cross-subsidy worth £60 to a typical household in Scotland, but on top of that we are providing considerable support to everyone across the UK with their energy bills this year.

Photo of Greg Smith Greg Smith Conservative, Buckingham

Abigail Mor Edan is four years old. Released from Hamas captivity last weekend, Abigail is an orphan, after her parents were brutally executed in front of her during Hamas’s rampage on 7 October. To secure the freedom of Abigail and some other hostages, Israel is taking a huge risk, releasing convicted terrorists, including would-be suicide bomber Israa Jaabis, imprisoned for detonating a gas cylinder in her car in 2015. Hamas also seem to have broken the ceasefire, by activating three explosive devices. What steps is my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister taking to continue his welcome, steadfast support for Israel in its fight against not only Hamas, but other Iran-backed terror groups?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I thank my hon. Friend for raising such an important issue. My thoughts and the thoughts of the whole House will be with Abigail.

As I have said before, we support Israel’s right to defend itself, to go after Hamas and to free hostages, to deter further incursions and to strengthen its security for the long term. We welcome the extension to the agreement to pause fighting, increase humanitarian aid and release further hostages. Negotiations are ongoing and highly sensitive, but this has been a welcome first positive step. We will continue to hold Iran to account for any further escalation from these groups, as well as continuing to work with partners to disrupt and deter Iran’s destabilising activities in the middle east.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Leader of HM Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

In an effort to hide from his failures, the Prime Minister spent this week arguing about an ancient relic that only a tiny minority of the British public have any interest in—but that’s enough about the Tory party. In 2019, they all promised the country that they would control immigration, saying “numbers will come down” and

“the British people will be in control”.

How is it going?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

Let me be crystal clear. The levels of migration are far too high and I am determined to bring them back down to sustainable levels. That is why we have asked the Migration Advisory Committee to review certain elements of the system. We are reviewing those findings and will bring forward next steps. Earlier this year, we announced the toughest action ever taken to reduce legal migration. The effects of that action are yet to be felt, but will impact 150,000 student dependants. Forecasts show that migration is likely to drop as a result. Up until this moment, all we have heard from the right hon. and learned Gentleman on this topic is a secret backroom deal with the EU that would see an additional 100,000 migrants here every year.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Leader of HM Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

Never mind the British Museum—it is the Prime Minister who has obviously lost his marbles. The Greek Prime Minister came to London to meet him: a fellow NATO member, an economic ally and one of our most important partners in tackling illegal immigration. Instead of using that meeting to discuss those serious issues, the Prime Minister tried to humiliate him and cancelled at the last minute. Why such small politics, Prime Minister?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

Of course we are always happy to discuss important topics of substance with our allies, like tackling illegal migration or strengthening our security, but when it was clear that the purpose of the meeting was not to discuss substantive issues for the future but to grandstand and relitigate issues of the past, it was not appropriate. Furthermore, specific commitments and assurances on that topic were made to this country and then broken. It may seem alien to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but in my view, when people make commitments, they should keep them.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Leader of HM Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

I discussed the economy, security and immigration with the Greek Prime Minister. I also told him we would not change the law regarding the marbles—it is not that difficult. The reality is simple: the Prime Minister has no plan on boat crossings and migration is at a record high. His policy is that companies can pay workers from abroad 20% less than British workers and that has contributed to those record high immigration levels, has it not?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

The right hon. and learned Gentleman talks about the boat crossings but has failed to notice that illegal boat crossings are down by a third this year, thanks to all the actions we have taken, which he opposed every single time they were raised. No one will be surprised that he is backing an EU country over Britain. Just last week, he was asked which song best sums up the Labour party. What did he come up with? He showed his true colours and chose “Ode to Joy”—literally the anthem of the European Union. He will back Brussels over Britain every single time.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Leader of HM Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

Let me get this straight: the Prime Minister is now saying that meeting the Prime Minister of Greece is somehow supporting the EU, instead of discussing serious issues. He has just dug further into that hole that he has made for himself. Rather than dealing with the facts, he is prosecuting his one-man war on reality, and that reality is stuck. Under this Government, a bricklayer from overseas can be paid £2,500 less than somebody who is already here, a plasterer £3,000 less, and an engineer £6,000 less. The list goes on. It is absurd. Labour would scrap his perverse wage-cutting policy. Why will he not do so?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

As I have said, we have taken significant measures and will bring forward more. Indeed, as the Office for National Statistics itself said, more recent estimates indicate a slowing of immigration as a result of the things that we are doing. But I am surprised to hear the right hon. and learned Gentleman now taking this new position. I have a quote here from a pushy young shadow Immigration Minister, who said to this House—I directly quote this person—that limits on skilled migrants are

“a form of economic vandalism”.—[Official Report, 7 March 2016;
Vol. 607, c. 19WH.]

Who could possibly have taken such a bizarre position only to U-turn? It will come as no surprise to anybody that it was him.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Leader of HM Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

There is only one party that has lost control of the borders, and its Members are sitting right there. This is a Government who are not just in turmoil, but in open revolt. The Immigration Minister thinks that the Prime Minister is failing because, apparently, nobody will listen to his secret plan. The former Home Secretary thinks that he is failing because of his “magical thinking”. The current Home Secretary thinks that he is failing. He even took time out of his busy schedule of insulting people in the north-east to admit that he agrees with Labour. The Prime Minister seems to be the only person on the Tory Benches without his own personal immigration plan. Clearly, his own side do not have any faith in him. Why should the public?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

It is really a bit rich to hear about this from someone who described all immigration law as “racist”, and who literally said that it was a mistake to control immigration. We have taken steps and we will take further steps, which is why recent estimates show that immigration is slowing. It is why, next year, the immigration health surcharge will increase by more than two thirds. It is why immigration fees are going up by up to 35%. One of his own Front-Bench team said that having a target is not sensible. It is no surprise to have people like that, because, while we are taking all these measures that he opposes, this is the person who stood on a platform and promised to defend free movement.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Leader of HM Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

On this Government’s watch, migration has just trebled, and the Prime Minister is giving the House a lecture about targets. He is lost in la-la land. There can be few experiences more haunting for Conservative Members than hearing this Prime Minister claim that he is going to sort out a problem. First, he said that he would get NHS waiting lists down; they went up. Unabashed by that, he said that he would get control of immigration; it has gone up. Following that experience, he turned his hand to bringing taxes down. And, would you believe it, the tax burden is now going to be higher than ever. It is ironic that he has suddenly taken such a keen interest in Greek culture when he has clearly become the man with the reverse Midas touch: everything he touches turns to—perhaps the Home Secretary can help me out—rubbish. [Interruption.] We might have to check the tape again, Mr Speaker.

Will the Prime Minister do the country a favour and warn us what he is planning next, so that we can prepare ourselves for the disaster that will inevitably follow?

Hon. Members::

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Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

At the beginning of the year, we said that we would halve inflation and this Government have delivered, easing the burden of the cost of living for families everywhere. We know about the right hon. and learned Gentleman’s plans—all the way through that, what did he do? He backed inflationary pay rises and talked about welfare—no controls for welfare—and about borrowing £28 billion a year that would just make the situation worse. He mentioned tax: just this past week, we have delivered the biggest tax cuts since the 1980s for millions of people and businesses, and increased pensions and benefits. And this week, we secured £30 billion of new investment for this country. So he can keep trying to talk—

Photo of Rehman Chishti Rehman Chishti Conservative, Gillingham and Rainham

The Government have rightly responded to the shocking and unacceptable rise in antisemitism, and we saw extra funding in the autumn statement. I note that 44% of religiously aggravated offences last year were against the Muslim community, yet in the autumn statement there was no funding to deal with Islamophobia. The Government’s independent adviser on Islamophobia role has been left vacant for over one year. As the Prime Minister knows, we discussed these matters over a year ago, yet no action has taken place. Prime Minister, enough is enough with regards to tackling anti-Muslim hatred. Will the Government now finally take action?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

We will not tolerate anti-Muslim hatred in any form, and expect it to be dealt with wherever it occurs. I actually recently met Tell MAMA, a service that provides support to victims of anti-Muslim hatred, which we have in fact supported with over £6 million of funding since its inception. We are in regular dialogue with it. We have also doubled the funding for protective security measures through the protective security for mosques scheme, and we will continue to do everything we can to keep our Muslim community safe.

Photo of Stephen Flynn Stephen Flynn SNP Westminster Leader

In good news for kids in Aberdeen this morning, it was snowing; when they looked out of the kitchen window, they would have been filled with delight. But many of their parents who looked out of the kitchen window this morning would have been filled with dread—dread from knowing that they simply cannot afford to pay their energy bills. In that context, does the Prime Minister regret offering no financial mechanism whatever for families this winter?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

It is simply not right to say that there is not support for families this winter—there has been considerable support this year for energy bills. This winter, pensioner households, for example, will receive up to £300 alongside their winter fuel payment. They are some of the most vulnerable households, and it is right that they get that support at a difficult time.

Photo of Stephen Flynn Stephen Flynn SNP Westminster Leader

I appreciate that it is difficult for the Prime Minister to empathise when he quite clearly cannot understand, but to be clear to him and, indeed, the whole House: this is not a matter of energy production. Scotland produces six times more gas than we consume and around two thirds of our electricity already comes from renewable resources. This is a consequence of decades of failed energy policy here in Westminster. Those of us on the Scottish National party Benches believe that Scotland’s energy wealth and energy resource should benefit the people of Scotland. Why doesn’t he?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

The entire energy grid infrastructure in this country is integrated, which brings benefits to people in every part of our United Kingdom. When it comes to supporting people with energy bills, earlier this year we increased benefits to the highest rate on record. It is why we provided cost of living payments worth £900 on top of regular support. It was right not to wait until the last moment to give people that support; we gave it to them earlier this year so that they would have the security they need going into winter—as I said, on top of the money for pensioners. When there are cold snaps, we have cold weather payments that kick in and the warm home discount, which provides an extra £150 to the most vulnerable households. All that is the most considerable action taken by any Government to help people with their energy bills.

Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering

The £400 million redevelopment of Kettering General Hospital is the No.1 investment priority for local residents. The first part is a £50 million new energy plant to power the expanded and improved hospital. Will my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister please do all he can to ensure that the Department of Health gets spades in the ground on time next spring, so that we can get the construction of our redeveloped, much loved local hospital fully under way?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I thank my hon. Friend for continuing to champion the new hospital in Kettering. We are absolutely committed to delivering the scheme for Kettering General Hospital. As my hon. Friend will be aware, the new energy centre is vital to the delivery of the new hospital, and we expect that work to begin in the first quarter of next year. The new hospital programme is working closely with the trust to ensure that the plans are deliverable.

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Three years ago, the Government made a commitment to 40 new hospitals and significant upgrades to hospitals in most need, but today many schemes are badly delayed. The Royal Berkshire—stuck at the development stage, with not a single pound transferred for construction. Harrogate District Hospital—still waiting on £20 million for urgent upgrades after reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete was discovered. There are 25 more such schemes. Will the Prime Minister explain why his Government are happy to let patients, doctors and nurses suffer for years in such unfit and unsafe conditions?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

We are delivering 40 hospitals by 2030. Good progress is already being made, and that programme is being backed by over £20 billion of investment. Three schemes are already open, two are opening this year, and 16 are in construction, or work has begun to prepare the site. It is absolutely right, though, that within that we prioritise RAAC hospitals. That required a reprioritisation, but that was the appropriate thing to do to ensure safety. Patients and staff are already benefiting from some of the improvements that we have made, which come on top of the largest capital programme for the NHS in its history, rolling out community diagnostic centres, urgent treatment centres and surgical hubs right across the country.

Photo of Sarah Dines Sarah Dines Conservative, Derbyshire Dales

As disturbed as I was to learn that British politicians are being debanked by the National Westminster Bank, the Prime Minister can imagine my horror to find that an entire town—Bakewell in the Derbyshire dales—is being debanked by the National Westminster Bank. In the whole of the Derbyshire dales and the Peak district, there is not a bank left. Does my right hon. Friend share my concern, as we are the major shareholder, that the National Westminster Bank is ignoring my vulnerable elderly constituents, and my businessmen? Bakewell is a big, thriving market town.

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

My hon. Friend is right that all customers, wherever they live, should have appropriate access to banking and cash services. That is why we have legislated to protect access to cash, and the Financial Conduct Authority has issued guidance that seeks to ensure that branch closure decisions treat customers fairly. I know that there has been an assessment of access to cash in her area, and the financial services sector will provide a new cash deposit service for her community. Also, everyone can access the post office for regular banking services.

Photo of Derek Twigg Derek Twigg Labour, Halton

Yesterday, Cancer Research UK’s manifesto “Longer, better lives” set out a road map to save 20,000 lives a year by 2040. Research is key to that, and it has identified a funding gap of over £1 billion. Cancer Research UK has told me that, excluding research funded by industry, charities fund 62% of cancer research compared with the Government’s 38%. Is the Prime Minister ashamed of that, and what will he do to address the gap?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

Of course the Government must do more to continue preventing cancer deaths in our country. That is why we are focused on fighting cancer on all fronts—prevention, diagnosis, treatment, research and funding. Crucially, cancer is now being diagnosed at an earlier stage more often, with survival rates improving across all types of cancer, including the most common cancers, and through our treatment record we are rolling out community diagnostic centres everywhere to ensure that we can reach those people as quickly as possible.

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell Conservative, Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale

Can I thank you, Mr Speaker, on behalf of the all-party parliamentary group on HIV and AIDS, for hosting today’s reception to honour the incredible contribution that Sir Elton John has made to the fight against AIDS? I very much welcome today’s announcement of further funding for HIV and hepatitis B and C opt-out testing in hospital emergency departments as a critical step in fighting those diseases. I ask the Prime Minister to join me, and I am sure the whole House, in praising Sir Elton and his AIDS foundation for pioneering this work.

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

Sir Elton John has been a powerful voice for change in the UK and the world. Through the brilliant work of his foundation he has raised awareness of HIV, reduced stigma and saved lives. I am very pleased that that will be celebrated tonight at the HIV and AIDS all-party parliamentary group event. Ahead of World AIDS Day on Friday, I would also like to reaffirm this Government’s commitment to ending new transmissions within England by 2030. I know my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care will have more to say at tonight’s event about the expansion of our recent pilot initiative on screening.

Photo of Gerald Jones Gerald Jones Shadow Minister (Wales), Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Minister (Scotland)

Pearl Melody Black was 22 months old when a car rolled off a private drive on to a highway and hit a wall, which fell and killed her while she was holding her daddy’s hand. Her parents, my constituents Gemma and Paul, South Wales Police and the Crown Prosecution Service were all frustrated that no charges could be brought in the case due to a loophole in the law. My ten-minute rule Bill, the Driving Offences (Amendment) Bill, sought to amend the Road Traffic Act 1988, but it fell as it did not get parliamentary time. I know that colleagues across the House have had similar issues, so I ask the Prime Minister to meet me and meet my constituents to assist in finding a way forward.

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I am incredibly sorry to hear about Pearl. My thoughts and, I know, those of the whole House will be with Gemma and Paul. I will make sure that the hon. Gentleman gets a meeting with the relevant Minister on the legislation as quickly as possible.

Photo of Nickie Aiken Nickie Aiken Conservative, Cities of London and Westminster

We know the Labour party has an aversion to white van man, but does the Prime Minister share my concerns that, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph today, Labour-run Westminster Council is increasing parking charges for small electric vehicles by up to 1,800%, demonstrating that it does not support small businesses or tackling climate change?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

My hon. Friend is right to raise those concerns. It seems that Labour in London is yet again penalising hard-working people. First we had the ultra low emission zone, and now it seems Labour is hiking parking charges on white van drivers and small businesses. I join her in urging the Labour-run Westminster Council to rethink those damaging proposals.

Photo of Tulip Siddiq Tulip Siddiq Shadow Minister (Treasury)

I quote:

“Rishi thinks just let people die and that’s okay”.

That was reportedly the Prime Minister’s view of covid during late 2020, as recorded by the then chief scientific adviser in his diary. It came to light last week in the covid inquiry and I was shocked that Downing Street did not categorically deny it. I ask the Prime Minister today how it is that people who were closest to this issue, whom he worked with day in, day out at the top of Government, got the impression that the Prime Minister was okay with people in our country dying—

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

As the hon. Lady knows, there is an ongoing inquiry into covid. It is right that that is followed and I look forward to providing my own evidence. If she had taken the time to read the evidence submitted to the inquiry, she would have seen that the person she mentioned, the chief scientific adviser, confirmed that he did not hear me say that—and that is because I did not.

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Conservative, South Holland and The Deepings

That 1.3 million migrants over a period of two years is a catastrophe for Britain is obvious to everyone apart from guilt-ridden bourgeois liberals and greed-driven globalists. Given that the same kind of people are stymieing the Prime Minister’s “stop the boats” campaign, will he bring urgent measures forward to deal with legal migration, and will he ensure that the Bill he has promised is in exactly the form recommended by his own Immigration Minister?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I am pleased to have my right hon. Friend’s advice and support on all on our measures to tackle legal and illegal migration. As I said, we are reviewing the recommendations of the Migration Advisory Committee and we will be bringing forward measures on top of the very significant restrictions that we have already announced on student dependants. When it comes to stopping illegal migration, I have been crystal clear that we will bring forward legislation that makes it unequivocally the case that Rwanda is safe and there will be no more ability of our domestic courts to block flights to Rwanda. That is what our legislation will ensure.

Photo of Alison McGovern Alison McGovern Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

Last week, in response to my hon. Friend the Member for Stockton North (Alex Cunningham), the Prime Minister claimed that the “best way” to stop children living in poverty is for them to have parents who work, but over 70% of poor children already live in a home where someone goes out to work. So I will give him another chance: can he explain why reports say that, in 2022, 1 million of our children experienced not just poverty but destitution?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

No child should grow up in poverty. That is why I am pleased that, because of the measures we have taken, 1.7 million fewer people are living in poverty today than in 2010. I would also say to the hon. Lady that it is crystal clear that children growing up in workless households are four or five times more likely to be in poverty. That is what the facts say; that is why our efforts are on getting people into work and ensuring that work pays. The actions in the autumn statement to raise the national living wage to record levels and provide a significant tax cut will do an extraordinary amount to continue lifting children out of poverty.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright Conservative, Kenilworth and Southam

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for welcoming my constituent John Farringdon to Parliament this morning. At 110 years of age, John is among my more experienced constituents, and I know that he would want me to ask the Prime Minister to join us in thanking the staff of Cubbington Mill care home for looking after him so well. May I also ask my right hon. Friend to try to find a moment or two to speak to John when he comes to Downing Street this afternoon? It may be a useful conversation for those who are obsessed with the opinion polls, as John, I think it is fair to say, has some experience in surviving against the odds.

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I very much hope that I have a chance to meet John later on. I join my right hon. and learned Friend in paying tribute to John’s care home for the incredible care that it provides. It is great that John is here and I am sure that everyone will enjoy meeting him later today.

Photo of Peter Grant Peter Grant Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe)

The Prime Minister may already be aware from his colleagues of the exceptional contribution that my constituent Dr Hadoura has made during a 30-year career in our health service. He may also be aware that, for the past six to eight weeks, she has been frantic with worry about her 83-year-old mum, who is trapped in Palestine with a number of family members and no way out. Will he agree to work with the Foreign Office and the Home Office, during this time of some hope in the middle east, to find an urgent way to get vulnerable people, such as Dr Hadoura’s mum, out of danger and into a safe place of refuge while we can? Tragically, once the ceasefire ends, so too will the chance of survival for too many people in Palestine.

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I pay tribute to the hon. Gentleman’s constituent for her long service in the health service. I assure him that we are doing everything we can to ensure the safe passage of British nationals out of Gaza. I will ensure that the Foreign Office gets in touch with him. All British nationals who have been registered with the Foreign Office have had significant interaction, and we have successfully ensured the safe passage of well over 200 people already. We will continue to do everything we can for those who remain, and I will ensure that we are in touch with the hon. Gentleman and his constituent.

Photo of Rachel Maclean Rachel Maclean The Minister of State, Home Department

Thanks to this Conservative Government, the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch has received nearly £19 million of investment, and we are boosting training places at the Three Counties Medical School. Does the Prime Minister agree that this is the perfect time to back my campaign to bring back services, so that local mums can once again give birth in their home town and all children can be seen at the hospital, no matter the illness they are experiencing?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I know that my hon. Friend campaigns passionately for the delivery of first-class healthcare for her constituents. Like her, I welcome the investment that the Alexandra Hospital has had in recent years in a range of different services. She will know that reconfigurations of services are, of course, clinically led local decisions following the appropriate engagement with patients and stakeholders, but I know that she will continue to make her case on behalf of her community.

Photo of Mohammad Yasin Mohammad Yasin Labour, Bedford

In June, the Canadian Prime Minister claimed that the Indian Government may be linked to the killing of Canadian Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada. Now, it is reported that the US Government thwarted a second assassination attempt on a Canadian-American citizen on US soil, so will the Prime Minister reassure my Sikh constituents—who have raised their safety concerns with me—that this Government are taking the matter very seriously, and will he raise my constituents’ concerns with his counterpart in India?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I have already made statements on this matter, but crucially, of course, we ensure the safety of all communities in our country. That is the first duty of government, and we will continue to do that, not just for the Sikh community but for every community here in the UK.

Photo of John Baron John Baron Conservative, Basildon and Billericay

With both the Office for Budget Responsibility and the ONS confirming that the British economy is now substantially larger than they estimated even a few months ago, does my right hon. Friend agree that the economy has once again proven the detractors wrong and, because unemployment is a corrosive social evil, will he do all he can to ensure that we retain record employment?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. A year ago, not just the OBR but the Bank of England, the International Monetary Fund and the OECD were all predicting that we would fall into a recession this year, but thanks to the actions of this Government and this Chancellor, we have grown the economy. We saw that momentum carry on just in the past week with Nissan’s announcement of record investment in its new plant in Sunderland, safeguarding the future of thousands of jobs in the north-east and ensuring the transition to electric vehicles. We also saw it in the summit we hosted, which attracted £30 billion of new investment into the UK. As my hon. Friend said, crucially, that investment will support thousands and thousands of jobs in our country.

Photo of Beth Winter Beth Winter Labour, Cynon Valley

There are 2,500 disused coal tips in Wales. The Welsh Government previously asked the Treasury for £600 million to make them safe, and ahead of the autumn statement sought an initial £20 million, but this Tory Government provided nothing. Rhondda Cynon Taf has the most high-risk coal tips of any local authority, and the spectre of Aberfan looms large over our communities. Does the Prime Minister think it is right that the UK took the economic benefit from Welsh coal, but will not fund the safety of its legacy?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

The UK Government are investing in Wales, with record investment in electrification of the north Wales line and record investment in communities up and down the country. It is important to recognise that just recently, the UK Government invested hundreds of millions of pounds to safeguard thousands of jobs at Tata Steel. The Welsh Government have had access to the largest set of Barnett consequentials on record over the past couple of years, and have the resources they need.

Photo of Jonathan Gullis Jonathan Gullis Conservative, Stoke-on-Trent North

Thanks to this Conservative Government, the people of Stoke-on-Trent North, Kidsgrove and Talke will see over £200 million to fix our broken roads, the reopening of the Stoke to Leek line, and over £30 million to bus back better by introducing fairer fares and smarter routes to better connect our communities. However, residents who have a free bus pass are being denied the use of it before 9.30 am by Labour-run Stoke-on-Trent City Council, meaning that people cannot get to their GP appointments or to work. Will the Prime Minister back my campaign to end that unfair policy, which is being imposed on my residents?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

My hon. Friend is absolutely right about the importance of high-quality bus services. That is why we have capped the cost of travelling on buses at £2 until the end of 2024 as a result of our decision on HS2, and why we have supported councils with £1 billion of funding. I urge all councils to ensure that people see the benefit of that investment, and I wholeheartedly back my hon. Friend’s campaign.

Photo of Deidre Brock Deidre Brock Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (COP26), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (House of Commons Business)

NHS England has awarded £330 million to Palantir, a controversial technology firm, to help it recover from its pandemic backlog despite deep concerns among many healthcare professionals about privacy, ethics and the safety of patient data. In light of the Government’s recently commissioned report on unifying health data in the UK, can the Prime Minister confirm that no attempts will be made to force the Scottish Government to release the personal data of Scottish residents to any centralised system?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

As the hon. Lady knows, healthcare is devolved, but we will look for every opportunity to improve patient care and reduce waiting lists in England. That is what we are doing in developing new technology that has a proven track record of bringing down waiting lists and improving the optimisation and efficiency of how theatres are scheduled. That is the type of thing we need to do to ensure that patients get the care they need, and that we can get efficiency in the NHS.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee

The increasing proliferation of AI-generated disinformation and deepfakes poses a clear and present danger not only to our democratic process, but to the administration of justice itself. What further steps will my right hon. Friend take, following the Bletchley summit, to strengthen our domestic law when it comes to this threat to democracy, and to take international action to provide the guardrails that I believe are essential if we are to maintain integrity in the administration of justice?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for all the work he has done in this incredibly important area. He is right that we need to have guardrails around the successful exploitation of this technology, which is why the Online Safety Act 2023 gives the regulator significant new powers to regulate the content on social media companies, including some of the ones that he mentioned. We are also working internationally, following on from the summit, to ensure that we can all get the benefits of this technology, but in the process safeguard our democracy, which is so crucial to the functioning of our country.