Business of the House

– in the House of Commons at 10:34 am on 9 May 2024.

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Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

The business for next week will include:

Monday 13 May—Motion to approve the draft Procurement Regulations 2024, followed by motion to approve the draft Agriculture (Delinked Payments) (Reductions) (England) Regulations 2024, followed by debate on a motion on the risk-based exclusion of Members of Parliament.

Tuesday 14 May—Motion to approve the draft Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (Amendment of Schedule A2) Order 2024, followed by motion to approve the draft code of practice on fair and transparent distribution of tips, followed by general debate on War Graves Week.

Wednesday 15 May—Remaining stages of the Criminal Justice Bill (day one).

Thursday 16 May—Debate on a motion on the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman report on women’s state pension age. The subject for this debate was determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

Friday 17 May—Private Members’ Bills.

The provisional business for the week commencing 20 May includes:

Monday 20 May—General debate. Subject to be confirmed.

Tuesday 21 May—If necessary, consideration of Lords message to the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, followed by consideration in Committee and remaining stages of the Holocaust Memorial Bill, followed by motion relating to the High Speed Rail (Crewe- Manchester) Bill.

Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

I was pleased to join the Leader of the House this week to launch a guide for Members and candidates, co-ordinated by the Antisemitism Policy Trust, on tackling conspiracy theories. Although the existence of conspiracy theories is nothing new, their reach, risk and repercussions are ever increasing. I encourage colleagues to read this important guide.

I welcome my new hon. Friend Chris Webb. He is the first person from Blackpool to represent Blackpool in over 60 years. Having campaigned with him for years, I am now proud to call him my hon. Friend. I know that his former boss, and our good friend, Tony Lloyd would be thrilled and proud, too.

I also welcome two more Members to Labour, my hon. Friends the Members for Dover (Mrs Elphicke) and for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich (Dr Poulter). Our reach into previously undiscovered support is much broader and deeper than I ever imagined.

Talking of which, we understand that Conservative Members were all trooped over to No. 10 yesterday for a presentation and briefing on how they did not really lose the local elections after all. Perhaps we could have a debate on what the local election results tell us. It might help to inject a little bit of reality into their thinking, because they cannot cure something if they are in complete denial about it.

Which part of the message that voters expressed did their tin ears not hear this time? The third biggest swing since the second world war in a parliamentary by-election? Losing the York and North Yorkshire mayoral election in the Prime Minister’s own backyard? Labour taking Rushmoor, the home of the British Army? Or losing one of their more successful elected representatives, Andy Street, in the west midlands? If they cannot hear the message now, they will have a stark awakening at the general election.

We might have all had a small laugh when the former Prime Minister forgot his voter ID, yet another of his own rules that he thought did not apply to him, but there is a more serious point. We also saw veterans turned away from the polls because they could not use their veteran ID card. The Government have promised to add the card to the list of acceptable IDs. When will they do so?

I notice that there is nothing in the upcoming business on the Sentencing Bill, which is quite a surprise given that we learned this week, from a leaked email to probation and prison staff, that some prisoners will be freed up to 70 days early. Why are the Government consistently failing to bring back the Sentencing Bill so that these issues can be properly debated? And why are they failing to publish the figures on the number and nature of prisoners who will be released early? It is another part of their plan that is not working, is it not?

Despite serious and fast-moving developments in Israel and Gaza, the Government, again, did not come to the House to make a statement this week. It was only through your granting an urgent question, Mr Speaker, that Members could raise issues. We want an urgent ceasefire and the assault on Rafah stopped. After much delay, the Government rejected the Procedure Committee report on holding Lords Secretaries of State accountable, yet there is clearly widespread support across the House for its recommendations. Rather than the Government simply rejecting them, should the Leader of the House not seek the view of this House and table a motion on the accountability of the Foreign Secretary to this House as soon as possible? Whether on the middle east, China or Ukraine, there are hugely important matters to be raised.

I am pleased that the Leader of the House has finally brought forward the House of Commons Commission’s proposals on risk-based exclusions next week. Staff and those working in this place will be looking carefully at what we say on Monday in the interests of their safeguarding. As we heard last night, Members want proper time to debate these proposals and amendments. Has she considered those calls to extend the debate on the motion beyond two hours?

Despite the Prime Minister’s latest set of disastrous election results, he continues to insist that his plan is working. He has his fingers in his ears and is ploughing on as if everything is fine. It is as if there is no cost of living crisis or waiting lists are not sky high, and that voters just need to see more of the “real Rishi” and listen to him better. The reality is very different: people are crying out for change. But the only thing that does not seem ever to change is that every time he faces the electorate, he loses. That is not going to change, is it?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

First, let me mark the fact that yesterday was VE Day; I know there will be many events going on across our constituencies during the week, giving us a chance to remember the debt we owe our forebears and also to think of those facing conflict today.

May I, too, welcome the hon. Lady’s new colleague, Chris Webb, to his place and pay tribute to all candidates who took part in the important elections last week? I also thank her for helping me to launch the publication to which she referred. We commissioned it and I thank all the organisations that worked on it. It is important that we combat the rise of conspiracy theories, as that is part of restoring trust in what we do here and keeping trust in democracy. This publication will be a useful product, not just for Members, but for those who wish to come here too. I shall certainly make sure that the Lord Chancellor has heard what she says about the Sentencing Bill, although he will find her concern odd, given Labour’s voting record on our measures to introduce tougher sentences.

The hon. Lady mentioned her new colleagues, and I do hope Mrs Elphicke is being made to feel very welcome in her new party. I am buoyed at the news that our odds of retaining Dover have slightly improved since yesterday lunch time—[Laughter.] It is true. But I think this is a personal tragedy for the hon. Member for Dover, as was what happened last week for Dr Poulter. It has exposed a pattern of behaviour from the Leader of the Opposition, and it is a shame that we are not due an update to Peter Brookes’ “Nature Notes”, for the decorator crab is a species that covers its surface area with materials to disguise its true form, usually selecting sedentary creatures and seaweed. The Leader of the Opposition is the decorator crab of these Benches, desperate to show that he is not really leading the Labour party at all. He has channelled Margaret Thatcher; his deputy has praised Boris; he has expelled Jeremy Corbyn with great fanfare, a man he was campaigning for to be Prime Minister only moments before; and his exterior shell is stuck over with St George’s flags, his Gunners season ticket and several programmes from the “Last Night of the Proms”. What next? Will it be a photo op with a bulldog? Will it be a lecture on how misunderstood Enoch Powell was? Should I ask the Whip on duty on the Front Bench if he has checked in recently with my right hon. Friend Mr Francois?

This is Operation Radish: the concerted effort to convince the British public that while the Labour party might look red on the outside, at its heart it really is not at all.

Even the defection from the Government Benches of one of Labour’s sternest critics cannot disguise the fact that Operation Radish is not going well. Not everyone has got the memo. The shadow Leader of the House talks about the important election results last week. Has she noticed that the first act of the new Mayor of the West Midlands was to turn his attention not to investment or infrastructure, but to Israel and Gaza? Ditto for the Mayors of West Yorkshire and London, with the latter also stating “equivalence” between the Head of State of Israel and a terrorist organisation.

The anti-nuke shadow Foreign Secretary is currently trying to walk back from calling a candidate for the presidency of the United States a neo-Nazi-sympathising KKK sociopath. Wes Streeting sought to smear a decent candidate for Mayor of London as a white supremacist. Object to ULEZ and you are a child killer. If you are a woman advocating for your rights and dignity, you are a bigot. Want to strengthen our borders? You are a racist. If you have made money through hard work, you can’t possibly get Britain. That is today’s Labour party—just as it has always been.

The politics of the PLP is more the politics of the PLO and the JCR: more comfortable in university tented encampments and on picket lines than on the international stage; more interested in thought policing than actual policing. Labour has not changed—not its behaviour or its record. It is still high crime rates, high waiting lists, higher taxes, higher levels of poverty, less pay, less opportunity, less money for the NHS and less freedom. The British people can see what is going on. They like their radishes in salads, not in No. 10.

Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Father of the House of Commons

My right hon. Friend indicates in provisional business for the week after next the remaining stages of the Holocaust Memorial Bill. She is familiar with early-day motion 711.

[That this House notes the First Special Report of the Holocaust Memorial Bill Select Committee, HC121, on the problems with the current proposal and the restrictions faced by the Committee considering the hybrid Bill; respects the conclusions and recommendations on page 20; agrees with the list of matters related to the current proposals for a Holocaust Memorial and believes these need updated attention on deliverability from the Infrastructure Commission, from the National Audit Office on likely capital costs and recurrent annual costs, from the Chancellor on future funding control, and from the police and security services on maintaining unfettered public access for use of Victoria Tower Gardens while protecting the Memorial; asks His Majesty’s Government and the Holocaust Memorial Foundation agency to commission the views of the property consultants on a comparison of the current proposal by Sir David Adjaye in Victoria Tower Gardens with viable alternatives, to commission the full appraisal and to hold a public consultation on the selection of site; and further asks His Majesty’s Government to commit to having this or an amended proposal considered first by the local planning authority before considering whether to call in the application, noting that an open-minded observer could doubt another minister in the Levelling Up department should be asked to make an independent decision on an application by the Secretary of State.]

Will she arrange, at least seven days before the House returns to the Holocaust Memorial Bill, for there to be answers to the questions on recurrent costs, the total capital costs, the amount of money going to education and how much the cost of the project has risen in the last year?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. As I always do, I shall ensure that the Ministers in charge of the Bill have heard his specific requests and that the business managers take his asks into account.

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

First, may I say on behalf of my party and in the spirit of congenial politics, led by our new First Minister and all our independence-minded Ministers, how delighted I am to see the Leader of the House still in her place after her party’s catastrophic results in England? They were not catastrophic enough to mobilise her PM for PM rebels, apparently. With her weekly ill-informed comments about Scotland, she is an extraordinary recruiting sergeant for independence and I am sure she will not disappoint today.

May I warmly welcome the launch by the Leader of the House this week of the guide to recognising conspiracy theories, such as those around 5G masts and 15-minute cities? It will be useful reading for some of the Members on her own Benches, and perhaps those on Labour’s increasingly busy right wing.

Given the Leader of the House’s personal interest, and what is supposed to be a central role of this House in protecting democracy and protecting us, will she be pressing for a wider debate on disinformation and the malign influence of secretive social media groups that perpetuate these damaging myths? I am thinking, for example, of the 36 so-called grassroots Facebook groups that I raised with the Prime Minister last week. They are forums full of vile racism, conspiracy theories and Islamophobic abuse of Sadiq Khan, all with links to Conservative party HQ staff, activists and even politicians. There is reason to suspect similar groups are quietly spreading their poison across the UK, including in Scotland. Does the Leader of the House agree that this needs to be investigated and brought to light, not laughed off as the Prime Minister did?

Last week, I asked the Leader of the House about the chaos of the Tory trade tax—the border checks that Brexit now requires—or, as former Tory Ministers have called it, “that act of self-harm on the UK”.

She swerved that with a boast about Brexit boosting UK financial services. Brexit is doing its damage to Edinburgh’s trade and talent in that sector, too, but services is a sector not affected by the serious issues that I raised of rotting food, crippling import charges, biosecurity risks, and delays and chaos at the ports. The Leader of the House and the shadow Leader of the House might be content to ignore the exporters and importers, the farmers and the fishers, whose businesses have suffered while she pretends that all is well on the Brexit front, but my party and I are not. So I ask again: when can we put the record straight—after last week’s twaddle—and have a debate in Government time on the ruinous impact of Brexit all across the economy?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

First, may I rejoice at the news that the Scottish Government no longer have a Minister for Independence? I was waiting this morning, Mr Speaker, to discover why that would be my fault, but the hon. Lady did not raise it. I wish to place on record my thanks to the former First Minister for his service. I know that there are many who would kick a man when he is down, but I am not one of them; he has done his best. Some say that he has been the worst SNP leader of all time. I say, no. Not only has he managed not to be arrested, but other SNP leaders make his record look pretty stellar —the new First Minister, for example. I also welcome him to his post.

In all seriousness, I welcome the hon. Lady’s support for the education pamphlet on conspiracy theories. That is very important, as such theories are a real threat not just to democracy, but to the wellbeing of our constituents. They are a form of radicalisation, they are spreading and we must do everything we can to combat them.

The hon. Lady returns to the issue of the border operating model. As she would expect, I have paid great attention to what is actually going on. There remains little sign of disruption to border flows as a result of the changes, and volumes of trade appear to be at the levels expected. The IT systems are working as they should, and although, as I said last week, there have been some minor issues to resolve, there is nothing fundamental. I would be very happy to facilitate a deeper briefing for her or any of her colleagues on that matter if it would be of interest.

Our exports are now at record levels. We have become, as I have said, the fourth largest exporter overall, and we are the largest net exporter of financial and insurance services in the world. I am sorry that the hon. Lady still does not seem to recognise the importance of that to her own constituency. I think that is something to celebrate, so I ask her to focus on the realities of what is going on and the opportunities that sit there for her constituents.

Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

Today, we have had the excellent news that Harrow has been allocated Government funding for a new special educational needs school—something that has been campaigned for by the Conservative-run council, the officials and the teachers and parents of Harrow for a considerable length of time. I am sure that my right hon. Friend will join me in congratulating all those responsible on obtaining this. Can we have a debate in Government time on the brilliant work that our teachers and support staff do in special educational needs environments, in very challenging circumstances, with a lot of very challenging children?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I congratulate my hon. Friend on all the work that he is doing to ensure that his constituents have the provision that they need. We have had a huge uplift in the general teaching staff; there are now 30,000 more teachers than when we came to office. Obviously, we have also been expanding special educational needs provision, but the need is growing and we are determined to keep pace with that. I think that a debate on the subject would be welcomed by many in the House, and I encourage him to apply for it in the usual way.

Photo of Ian Mearns Ian Mearns Chair, Backbench Business Committee, Chair, Backbench Business Committee

I thank the Leader of the House for the business statement and for announcing the Backbench Business debate for Thursday 16 May. If awarded time on 23 May, we would propose debates on UK arms exports to Israel and on potholes and highway maintenance. Those would be the two debates immediately before the Whitsun recess. Although all Chamber slots until the Whitsun recess are now pre-allocated, we would still welcome applications for Thursday debates in Westminster Hall, where the new time seems to be working quite well.

Can we have a debate in Government time on the vexed question of leasehold reform? In my constituency, developers are selling, or proposing to sell, packages of property freeholds to third-party companies and denying leaseholders themselves the chance to buy the freeholds of the properties that they live in. This is a really complex legal question, but an awful lot of leaseholders do not have the wherewithal to fight the property development companies and third-party companies buying such investment portfolios. Taylor Wimpey is a company with an interest in development in my constituency that is currently doing this. Can we have a debate in Government time to try to sort out this vexed question?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his helpful advert for the Backbench Business Committee. He raises the very important matter of a particular aspect of leasehold. He will know that the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is very focused on these issues. If the hon. Gentleman wants to give me specific examples, I will ensure that the Secretary of State has heard the detail of his case.

Photo of Sally-Ann Hart Sally-Ann Hart Conservative, Hastings and Rye

The Leader of the House may be aware that Hastings, St Leonards and some surrounding villages suffered the consequences of a burst water main over the bank holiday weekend, depriving tens of thousands of residents and businesses of running water, and impacting Hastings’ famous and amazing Jack in the Green weekend and May day celebrations. While Southern Water acted promptly in finding and fixing the leak—and I thank the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my hon. Friend Robbie Moore for their huge support—can we have a debate about investing in water infrastructure, including building new reservoirs and maintaining existing infrastructure, and the impact of ageing infrastructure on water supply reliability?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I am very sorry to hear about the situation that affected my hon. Friend’s constituents so adversely. She will know that the infrastructure plan that is under way to modernise our waste water system and other water systems is the largest infrastructure project of its type in the world. She can follow the progress of that infrastructure plan on Water UK’s website. In particular, the plan on combating storm overflows is there for the general public to see. I will ensure that the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has heard the particular case that she raises. She will know how to apply for a debate in the usual way.

Photo of Neil Coyle Neil Coyle Labour, Bermondsey and Old Southwark

Yesterday was the 79th anniversary of VE Day, but the RAF’s photographic reconnaissance unit has never been recognised for its contribution to allied success. The Spitfire AA810 project is seeking a commemoration of the unit’s covert operations, and I am working with Southwark News to try to trace the four Southwark crew: Frederick James, William Fisher, Frederick Legon and Lesley Baker. Can we please have time to debate the ongoing need for formal recognition of the PRU and its courageous crews, especially given that half of them paid the ultimate sacrifice for our victory in world war two?

Hon. Members::

Hear, hear!

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I thank the hon. Gentleman—I am sure I do so on behalf of the whole House, given the response to his question. It is a very important thing that he is doing, and I will certainly use all the communication channels available to me to get the names of the people from the particular crew that he is trying to trace. It is right that we set the record straight on that. I was at the RAF Club earlier this week and got to meet some veterans from Bomber Command, particularly Colin Bell, the Mosquito pilot. We have to ensure that their legacy is understood for generations to come. I am sure that I speak for everyone in the House when I say that anything that we can do to assist the hon. Gentleman in this important campaign shall be done.

Photo of Tom Hunt Tom Hunt Conservative, Ipswich

I am aware that the Leader of the House has been celebrating Portsmouth’s elevation to the championship this season. Last year in Ipswich we celebrated our promotion to the championship, and right now we are celebrating our back-to-back promotion to the premier league. For the first time in over 20 years, the Tractor Boys will be in the premier league, in the big time—arguably the single biggest boost to the town for over 20 years. Will she join me in congratulating Kieran McKenna, our exceptional manager, Mark Ashton, the chief executive of the club, and the whole team at Ipswich Town, who are passionate about not just the club but the town? I wish them all the best for the premier league next season. Who knows? Maybe Portsmouth will be there the year after.

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

On behalf of us all, I congratulate Ipswich Town on this huge achievement. It is great for the fans, but it will also be great for the whole of Ipswich, because these achievements bring economic and social progress, and many other things. I think that both our clubs being promoted is an excuse for a pint —I will stand him one. Seriously, congratulations to everyone there. I hope that what he says about Portsmouth comes to pass.

Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Transport), Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)

Requiring voter ID is an additional burden that prevents people from voting and an unnecessary barrier to our democratic process, especially for those in poorer communities, ethnic minorities and young people. In last year’s local elections, 14,000 people were prevented from voting because they did not have the right ID at the time. Can we please have a ministerial statement on the impact of the requirement for voter ID in this year’s local and regional elections?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

The hon. Lady raises an important question. She knows that this issue is reviewed on a regular basis, and I will make sure the Cabinet Office has heard what she has had. Even people who were against bringing in this particular check to protect people’s votes recognise that, because progress had been made in cracking down on areas where fraud had been particularly prevalent, such as postal voting, it was anticipated that there would be more fraud in other areas. That was one reason why the check was introduced, but I will make sure the Cabinet Office has heard what she has asked.

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning Conservative, Hemel Hempstead

The Leader of the House will know that I have raised with her before the discrimination against people who are visually impaired, who have to pay VAT on audiobooks when all books are zero rated. That discrimination cannot continue. We have had debates in Westminster Hall, but can we have a debate on the Floor of the House in Government time on stopping this discrimination against visually impaired people?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

My right hon. Friend raises an important point and one that I have a great deal of sympathy for. I will make sure that the Chancellor has heard what he says, as the next questions to the Treasury team are not until much later on, and I think that he is doing a great deal of service by continuing his campaign.

Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Shadow Minister (Creative Industries and Digital)

Can we have a debate on ministerial transparency? As the Leader of the House knows, ordinary MPs have to register with the House any hospitality that they receive from other parties within 28 days and in considerable detail. However, under the scheme that she still favours, Ministers have an exemption and they do not have to publish anything for several months or provide details at all. She said repeatedly in this House that she would, by last summer, ensure that there was a parallel system for Ministers so that they were not being treated differently from MPs. That still has not happened, so when will it happen?

Can the Leader of the House also explain the retrograde step we seem to have taken now? For instance, in the past we learned that the then Home Secretary registered through the Department that she had gone to a Bond premiere because Bond exercises “executive function”— I note Sir Michael Ellis laughing, because he was the one who made that point—despite the fact that Bond is obviously a fictional character. Now, ministerial Departments are publishing the barest details. They do not even say what the tickets are for. Could the Leader of the House, for instance, explain to us what her lunch with Saints and Sinners was all about?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman, who is normally a stickler for detail, has not noticed that I have been reporting my returns monthly since the start of this year. They are not very exciting, but they are reported monthly, and I think other Departments are also able to do that. I did a speech at the Saints and Sinners Club for charity. Two charities benefited from it, and they are in my entry in the parliamentary Register of Members’ Financial Interests. I know he is keen on this issue and has campaigned on it for a long time. Of course, people do make mistakes—he himself was adrift two years in registering an overseas visit—but I am in favour of parity between ministerial reporting and Parliament—

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I am, and I have been doing that since the start of this year—[Interruption.] I have.

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers Conservative, Chipping Barnet

May we have a debate on potholes? [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear!”] In my Chipping Barnet constituency, they seem to be worse than ever. After representations from me and my hon. Friend Mike Freer, London has been included in the Government’s major boost for potholes funding, so we need a debate to ensure that Barnet Council uses the £736,000 that it is receiving over two years effectively to tackle potholes and get them filled in.

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

If there is consensus in this House on any issue, it is that we cannot talk enough about potholes. An additional £8.3 billion has been allocated to councils for road improvements, which are of importance to our constituents. Critically, local authorities must account for what they are spending that money on, and since 15 March, they have had to report against the last tranche of funding. I will ensure that the Secretary of State has heard my right hon. Friend’s keenness to have a debate on the matter, and she will know how to apply for one.

Photo of Colleen Fletcher Colleen Fletcher Opposition Whip (Commons)

Godiva Calling, a battle of the bands competition, is taking place at venues across Coventry in May and June. The competition will give some of Coventry and Warwickshire’s rising musical talents the opportunity to perform at the city’s now flagship music event, the Godiva Festival. Successful artists win the opportunity to perform their own music on the main stage over the festival weekend in July. Will the Leader of the House join me in encouraging local musicians to get involved in the competition, and will she arrange a debate on support for grassroots artists and on the importance of music and its ability to connect people and bring them together?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

The hon. Lady makes a number of points that are supported by many Members in the Chamber. I join her in wishing everyone taking part in the battle of the bands a very good time, and congratulate them on making a success of what now seems a landmark event in the Coventry calendar. She will know how to apply for a debate, and I encourage her to raise the matter with the Secretary of State on 23 May.

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis Conservative, Northampton North

While the Prime Minister is today rightly meeting university vice-chancellors to warn them of their duty of care towards Jewish students, the National Union of Students has passed a so-called non-binding motion seeking to expel the Union of Jewish Students. To ban Jews because they are Jewish is pure Nazi ideology, and it gives the lie, frankly, to those who claim that their anti-Zionism is not antisemitism. This issue is a national crisis and it goes to the future of the rule of law in this country, and it is one of the myriad examples of the grotesque antisemitism that we are seeing in national life. Will my right hon. Friend join me in calling for cross-party consensus in supporting the Prime Minister in the work that he is rightly doing with universities and others to stop antisemitism on campus?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for raising this very important matter. I am pleased that the meeting between the Prime Minister, the Education Secretary and university vice-chancellors is going on today. We know from recent research that there are universities that do this really well—that treasure all their students and want an environment on campus in which people can learn and live their best life. Sadly, that is not happening on all campuses. The conduct by the NUS, and by particular students in it, is nothing short of grotesque, and I am sure that Members in all parts of the House would agree on that point. It is absolutely vital that we push back against the growing trend of increased antisemitism. I think that I speak for most, if not all, hon. Members when I say that we are supportive of any measures that will do that.

Photo of George Galloway George Galloway Workers Party, Rochdale

I have always said that the Conservatives made a mistake in overlooking the right hon. Lady, and she has shown that again today. In that regard, can she help me with what I think is a narrow but important problem? Both Front-Bench teams support the continuation of arms sales to Israel, but the great majority of Back Benchers, even on the Conservative side, would like the opportunity to vote otherwise. That has been stopped—stymied—in the past. I hope that she can find a way for the House to freely express its attitude to this question. The Government, and the Labour Front Benchers, might get a rude awakening and a big surprise.

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his concern, but I have not been overlooked—I am Leader of the House of Commons.

The hon. Gentleman has found the answer to his own question: he has just been able to freely express his view on this matter. As he knows, there are strict rules regarding our arms exports, which are also scrutinised by a Select Committee of this House. That is the Government’s policy, and if those lines are breached and there is evidence of that, that policy will kick in.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood Conservative, Bournemouth East

Wessex Fields is a large chunk of council-owned land in north Bournemouth. Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council is rushing through the sale of that nine acres of real estate for £4 million less than its independent evaluation, claiming it is storage rather than employment land. This is the same council that is cutting our famous annual air festival and selling off car parks, public paddling pools and plant nurseries, all because—it claims—there is no money, yet here it is throwing away £4 million of local taxpayers’ money. I have written to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up and to the council’s scrutiny committee calling for that decision to be investigated, but Bournemouth deserves better, so can we please have a debate on poor council decision making?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I am extremely sorry to hear about those decisions in my right hon. Friend’s constituency, and I am sure many Members of the House who have visited the air show previously and are very fond of Bournemouth as a consequence will also be disappointed to hear about the choices his council is making. He has done the right thing in asking the Secretary of State and the council’s scrutiny committee to look at this issue; I will also make sure that the Secretary of State understands its urgency, and I hope we can get some common sense.

Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Labour/Co-operative, York Central

In February, after much waiting, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up announced that regulations would be put in place to curb the growth of short-term holiday lets. The summer season is already here; the Secretary of State said that those regulations would be in place before the summer, so when are we going to see the necessary regulation to stop the growth in short-term holiday lets, and to stop landlords coming in and purchasing properties that should be used for family housing in places such as York?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

The hon. Lady has raised this issue before. As she will know, a careful balance is needed between enabling economic regeneration and ensuring that people can have a good, secure home and get on the property ladder. I will make sure again that the Secretary of State has heard the her request, and will ask him to update her.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Chair, Education Committee, Chair, Education Committee

Can we have a debate about flood resilience and sport? I am fortunate to have in my constituency one of the most beautiful and iconic cricket grounds in England: New Road, the home of Worcestershire county cricket club. Previously, when that ground has been flooded, I have been able to reassure colleagues that it will reopen through the fantastic work of the ground staff. This year, however, it has been flooded eight times, and with the increasing risk of flooding as a result of climate change, the board of Worcestershire county cricket club has said that it is going to have to explore other locations and opportunities. Can the Leader of the House therefore support me in urging Ministers from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to work together, in order to look at all options to support the future of Worcestershire county cricket club and protect New Road?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

My hon. Friend is fighting for a very good cause indeed. I will, of course, do as he asks and write to Secretaries of State at both DCMS and DEFRA, asking them to co-operate and assist my hon. Friend in this very important campaign.

Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Shadow Minister (Victims and Sentencing)

This afternoon, I will be attending the Art Fund 2019 museum of the year, St Fagans in my constituency, to celebrate the opening of the newest building in its outdoor offer, the recreation of the Vulcan pub from Cardiff city centre. While I am uneasy about attending a pub in a museum when I used to drink in it many years ago—it makes me feel rather old—it is a fantastic addition to that wonderful museum’s offer. It will be set up like a pub from 1913, although unfortunately not with 1913 prices over the bar. Can we have a debate on the wonderful contribution that our museums make to our life in this country, and also to celebrate free entry to such museums—which was, of course, brought in by the Labour Government?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I am very jealous of the hon. Gentleman’s planned visit and congratulate the museum on winning museum of the year. I would encourage him to celebrate this with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on 23 May.

Photo of Ian Liddell-Grainger Ian Liddell-Grainger Conservative, Bridgwater and West Somerset

I must say that I have some good news from Mid Devon District Council. My right hon. Friend will no doubt fall off her chair—so long as she does not defect. The main thing is that it has been forced to release the information on 3 Rivers Development—I have mentioned it in this place a couple of times—because it has been acting irresponsibly. If he had a shred of decency, the leader of the council would now resign. This is a scandal worth millions. The chairman of the scrutiny committee has done a runner—literally done a runner—and refused to take part. As my right hon. Friend Mr Ellwood said, local government is not getting it right. We need time in this place to debate incompetence, obfuscation and, in some cases, downright dishonesty by councillors using their position to bamboozle the people who put them there, who are the voters who vote for us and them.

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

First, I reassure my hon. Friend that I am not about to defect to the Opposition. They would not be interested in me—I am too left-wing. However, as I do every week, I will make sure that the Secretary of State for Levelling Up has heard about the ongoing saga in my hon. Friend’s constituency and his concern about the performance of the council.

Photo of Debbie Abrahams Debbie Abrahams Labour, Oldham East and Saddleworth

I am sure the Leader of the House, as a former Minister for disabled people, is as concerned as I am that it is now two years since the Equality and Human Rights Commission issued a section 23 notice against the Government with regard to their discrimination against disabled people. That was followed by the report from the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities investigating a second set of breaches of the convention by this Government, which was published a couple of weeks ago. Can we have a debate in Government time about why there has been this discrimination by the Government against disabled people and what the Government are going to do about it?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I will certainly make sure that both the Minister for Women and Equalities and the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work at the Department for Work and Pensions have heard that the hon. Lady is keen for an update on this matter. I have to say that, in my experience, the criticism of this country by many organisations, particularly international ones including people from nations that provide very little support for disabled people, is quite wrong. I could point to many aspects of the work that has been done in many Departments to support disabled people in every walk of life. This is a matter that should concern everyone because most disability is acquired, whether from the built environment or in relation to work. We have enabled 1 million people with a disability to get into work and have the dignity of a pay packet because of our change of approach on welfare and support. There are many other examples and I think we have a good record over many years. However, there is always more to do and I will make sure that both Ministers have heard the hon. Lady.

Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

Twelve months ago, the then Housing Minister, my hon. Friend Rachel Maclean, told the House that the Secretary of State was considering the recommendations of the final report of the regulation of property agents working group, published in July 2019. Can we have a Minister come to the Dispatch Box to advise what progress has been made on creating an independent body to regulate managing agents, so that leaseholders and indeed managing agents might have confidence in a single, fair and transparent system that will protect not only leaseholders, but managing agents alike?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I will make sure that my hon. Friend has an update from the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. He will know that we are committed to raising professionalism among property agents. They must already belong to a redress scheme, and both the Government’s Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill and Renters (Reform) Bill will help to drive up overall standards, but I shall make sure that the Department has heard what he said.

Photo of Andrew Bridgen Andrew Bridgen Reclaim, North West Leicestershire

Yesterday, only weeks after admitting to the serious side effects from its product, AstraZeneca withdrew its covid-19 vaccine worldwide. Like millions in the UK and over 700 million people worldwide, I took the AstraZeneca jab, based on the Government’s assurance that it was “safe and effective”, and I suffered side effects. I know there is very little appetite in this Chamber to discuss these matters, but I assure the House that there is huge and growing concern among the public about a medical intervention that this House encouraged, coerced and, in some cases, mandated people to inject into their bodies. So can we have a statement from the Health Minister on the withdrawal of the AstraZeneca vaccine and why the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency failed to act to protect the public interest, or is it that AstraZeneca withdrew its own product because it was far too safe and effective?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I am sorry to see the hon. Gentleman speak like that in this Chamber, especially as three speakers on the Front Bench have raised the issue of conspiracy theories and our combined efforts to push back on them. The vaccine he refers to saved, according to many independent estimates, over 6.5 million lives in the first year of use alone and over 3 billion doses of it were supplied globally. He will know that, as with many other medical products, we do not keep particular vaccines in use permanently. Disease and therapies change and vaccines need to be updated, and he knows it is very clear that this has been withdrawn for commercial reasons. It is no longer needed and there are two particular vaccines that are used now in our NHS with regard to covid.

The hon. Gentleman has had several debates on this matter and on excess deaths. Of course people suffering ill effects from taking vaccines is a serious issue that needs to be addressed and their needs must be served, but that is quite another thing from promoting false information about the effectiveness and safety of vaccines. That vaccine and the people behind it saved millions of lives. There is a chapter in the publication we have spoken about that covers this precise point. I encourage the hon. Gentleman to get a copy and read it, to think seriously when he comes to the House, as he does every week, and promotes conspiracy theories and to really think about the consequences of what he is doing.

Photo of Peter Gibson Peter Gibson Conservative, Darlington

I am delighted that Darlington has secured funding for a new 48-place special educational needs school but there is more to do, with excessively long waits for child and adolescent mental health service assessments putting stresses on families. Does my right hon. Friend agree that we need to see those waits reduced, and can we have a debate on the issue?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I thank my hon. Friend for all he is doing to campaign on this very important issue. He knows that we have made increasing special educational needs provision a priority. We have opened 108 special free schools and 51 new alternative provision free schools, but this is a growing need and we want to ensure that every child and young person can have access to the support they need to thrive. He knows how to apply for a debate, and I shall make sure the Secretary of State for Education has heard about his continuing campaign and his interest in doing more for his constituents.

Photo of Tonia Antoniazzi Tonia Antoniazzi Opposition Whip (Commons)

Today, we are hosting an event called the National Women in Agriculture Awards, celebrating women in farming. It is an absolutely fantastic opportunity for women across Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England to be celebrated. Will the Leader of the House join me in celebrating the hard work and the backbone of British farming—the women?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

On behalf of the whole House, I congratulate the hon. Lady on her involvement in that event, and of course send our thanks and good wishes to everyone attending, but also to everyone across the four nations of the UK who is providing this fundamental service—food production— to our population, and caring for the land and the environment. She is absolutely right: in this sector, as in most, it is women who deserve the greatest praise.

Photo of Steve Double Steve Double Conservative, St Austell and Newquay

The UK shared prosperity fund is an important part of this Government’s levelling-up agenda. It has been very important to us in Cornwall, where it has supported over 100 businesses and community projects, including around £1 million to improve flood resilience at Mevagissey harbour and £350,000 to promote all-year-round tourism in Newquay. The current round of funding expires next year and people in Cornwall are eager to know what the future holds. I know the precise details and the amount will be part of the spending review, but could we have a statement from the Government on how they see the future of the shared prosperity fund?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

The UK shared prosperity fund, which is worth £2.6 billion, has played a major part in restoring pride in places and helping people to access opportunity, particularly in places of need such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural coastal communities. I thank my hon. Friend for all the work he has been doing in his local area. I will make sure that the Secretary of State has heard that he is keen to have an update on this matter, and my hon. Friend will know how to apply for a debate.

Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Minister (Defence)

Derriford Hospital in Plymouth has declared five critical incidents already this year. Despite the heroic work of dedicated NHS staff, it has some of the worst performance on accident and emergency and ambulance handover delays in the country. With social care, primary care and NHS dentistry in a dire state in Plymouth, too, can we have a debate on health in Plymouth and what can be done to support those brilliant NHS staff in rescuing services at Derriford Hospital?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I am sorry to hear about the particular performance of the hon. Gentleman’s local trust. He will know that we are putting a huge amount of resource into ensuring that we can catch up, particularly since the pandemic. We have 2 million more operations, more than 160 diagnostic centres have been set up and we have the dental recovery plan. The funding is provided by the UK Government, but it will be up to local commissioners how they use those services. The next questions to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care are on 4 June, and I encourage the hon. Gentleman to raise any specific concerns he has with her then.

Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley

I very much welcome and support the Government ensuring that the UK is in the vanguard of global decarbonisation of aviation. I also welcome and support the sustainable aviation fuels mandate coming in early next year. However, the revenue support mechanism is not planned to be introduced until later in 2026. Can we have consideration of a statement on bringing that forward to ensure that there is certainty in the UK sustainable aviation market, so that domestic manufacture of the fuel ensures that we decarbonise our aviation and are at the forefront of green technology?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. We can be proud that the UK is world-leading in this regard—not just our incredible science and business community, but the RAF. That is its second mention in this business questions session. It has been a pioneer on sustainable aviation fuel. The next questions to the Secretary of State for Transport are on 16 May. I encourage my hon. Friend to raise this matter with him there.

Photo of Liz Twist Liz Twist Shadow Minister (Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Local Government)

This week marks World Asthma Day, and new analysis from Asthma + Lung UK shows that 12,000 people have died from the condition since the national review of asthma deaths was published in 2014. In fact, asthma deaths have increased by almost 25% in the past 10 years, despite there being major preventable factors in two thirds of those cases. Please can we have a statement from a Health Minister outlining how the Government plan to tackle this crisis and finally act on the recommendations of the national review of asthma deaths?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I thank the hon. Lady for raising that important issue, which will be of direct concern to many across the country. As I have said, the next questions to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care are on 4 June. The hon. Lady may wish to raise the issue directly with her then. In the meantime, I will make sure that the Secretary of State has heard her concerns.

Photo of Andy Carter Andy Carter Conservative, Warrington South

The Leader of the House will no doubt be aware of the ongoing speculation that Royal Mail and its parent company International Distributions Services are subject to a takeover by EP Group. I know she will agree that the Royal Mail plays an important economic, social and cultural role in this country. As well as delivering a universal service obligation to all parts of the UK, Royal Mail is an iconic British brand. It carries His Majesty’s insignia and plays a vital role in all UK elections.

I know how much my constituents value regular and timely postal services. May we have a debate in Government time on what legal safeguards are available to ensure that the important functions of Royal Mail are delivered for all our constituents, and that they continue beyond the obligations in the National Security and Investment Act 2021 in the event that the company is taken over and headquartered outside the UK?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

My hon. Friend raises an important matter. Those services are fundamental, not least because many healthcare services in particular rely on them—other hon. Members have raised concerns about that. Given that the next questions to the Secretary of State for Business and Trade are not until 13 June, I will ensure that she has heard his concerns.

Photo of Allan Dorans Allan Dorans Scottish National Party, Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock

On behalf of my constituent Glen Coleman, and the many other victims who were discriminated against and dishonourably discharged from the armed services for being gay, can the Leader of the House give any reassurance that the LGBT veterans independent review carried out by Lord Etherton will be brought forward for debate in the near future, or at least before the general election?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I thank the hon. Gentleman for raising that. The review and the apology given by the Prime Minister on behalf of the nation is an incredibly important landmark. There are still outstanding issues with regard to those in services that are not public facing —intelligence agencies and so forth. I will ensure that the relevant Minister has heard what he has said. I encourage him to apply for a debate in the usual way.

Photo of Anna Firth Anna Firth Conservative, Southend West

Leigh Lionesses are a newly founded football club aimed at providing a nurturing environment for girls to thrive in football, but according to leading member Gary Jacobs, whose daughter is a brilliant Leigh Lioness, their journey has been marred by a real struggle to find consistent playing venues and suitable facilities because so often they are already booked up by boys’ football clubs. May we have a debate in Government time on the number of pitches, all-weather pitches and facilities available for women’s football up and down the country?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I can feel a bid to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport coming up. My hon. Friend, who is a formidable campaigner, will know that the next questions to the Secretary of State are on 23 May, when I encourage her to raise that directly. The Secretary of State has taken a particular interest in community sport and has given considerable grant funding to local authorities to increase the number of pitches, and in particular those that can be used all year round. My office stands ready to assist my hon. Friend in ensuring that everyone in her constituency—especially the girls’ teams—has somewhere they can play this sport.

Photo of Ian Lavery Ian Lavery Labour, Wansbeck

Yesterday, TSB announced 36 bank closures, including the closure of the branch on Bedlington high street in my constituency. That will be the last bank closing its doors, making Bedlington basically a banking desert. I understand that lots of people now prefer telephone banking or internet banking, but many people—mainly vulnerable people—depend on high street banks. This closure will have a huge impact on Bedlington. Will the Leader of the House join me in demanding that TSB reviews its decision at Bedlington? Can we have a debate in the House to discuss the impact of these actions on towns such as Bedlington?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I am sorry to hear about the situation in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency. It is in everyone’s interests, including banks’ interests, that constituents can access those services. Even if a particular bricks and mortar building has to close down, there are ways of retaining those vital services, including cash banking for businesses. As he rightly said, access to banking services, particularly for vulnerable and older people, needs to be continued in our communities. I will ensure that the relevant Department gives him advice about what he can do to help facilitate that. Of course, the bank has an obligation to ensure that its customers can continue to use its services.

Photo of Marco Longhi Marco Longhi Conservative, Dudley North

I have stopped the large number of so-called asylum seekers from attending my surgeries, and I have instructed my office not to deal with asylum cases, for two reasons: as MPs we have zero authority, mandate or influence over Home Office decisions; and I want to dedicate my very limited resources to putting Dudley people first. Can we have a debate on the pressure that asylum seekers are putting on our nation’s resources and local services?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

The hon. Gentleman raises a specific point, which I could generalise on. Our approach to this issue has been to recognise that we have finite resources, and we want to direct them in the most efficient and effective way possible. That is why we must control our borders, which is what the British people want. They want the Government to control access for foreign nationals to the UK. As well as border control, we have been reforming processes at the Home Office. He will know that we have speeded up looking at cases by close to 300%, and we are cracking through that backlog. We will get on top of it. The public can see that progress is being made, including on getting people out of hotels. We are making good progress and we need to continue, to ensure that the systems we have in place are not piling pressure on local services, whether education, healthcare or the services that the hon. Gentleman offers in his office. That is very well understood, and I hope he understands that the Government are doing that.

Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Shadow Minister (Education)

Up and down the country, hundreds of thousands of young people are about to take their summer exams. Unfortunately, there will not be a level playing field, because thousands of pupils—including hundreds in my constituency—have been impacted significantly by reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete and asbestos, having lost several months of face-to-face teaching. The Department for Education and the exam boards do not seem interested in providing an uplift to those young people to ensure that they get fair examinations. May we have a debate in Government time on the impact of RAAC and asbestos on the learning and opportunity of young people, and on the need for fair and equal examinations this summer?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

The hon. Gentleman raises an important point. He will know that the Secretary of State for Education, in legendary fashion, has been doing something about this matter. If he will furnish me with the details of the schools that he is particularly concerned about, I will ensure that the Department gets that message and responds to his office, so that his constituents do not face disruption this summer when doing their exams.

Photo of Luke Evans Luke Evans Conservative, Bosworth

On behalf of Hinckley and Bosworth, I congratulate the returning Conservative police and crime commissioner for Leicestershire, Rupert Matthews. His re-election was in no small part thanks to his introduction of a rural crime team, which has recovered £1.3 million worth of stolen goods since its introduction and reduced rural crime by 24%, according to the latest newsletter. Will my right hon. Friend thank the returning PCC, the Leicestershire police force and, most importantly, the offices of the rural crime team for all they do to reduce crime in the likes of Market Bosworth and the surrounding villages?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I happily join my hon. Friend in congratulating Rupert Matthews on his return to office, and I thank him for the leadership he has shown in reducing crime in his local area, as well as the police force on the frontline. In certain parts of the country the police often get a hard time from us in this place, but they do tremendous work. On the same resource since 2010, crime has been halved in this country, leaving aside online fraud and particular hotspots in the west midlands and London. That is a tremendous achievement, and it is thanks to the accountability and direct democracy of police and crime commissioners but also, most of all, the hard work, efforts and effectiveness of our police officers.

Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

I remind Members that it is important to ask the Leader of the House about business connected with the House, as well as congratulating various people.

Photo of Andrew Western Andrew Western Opposition Whip (Commons)

My constituent Janice lost her brother in 2020 in a tragic incident caused by a dangerous driver. She has since campaigned tirelessly for those convicted of causing death by dangerous driving to receive lifetime driving bans. As things stand, I understand that the Government are looking at the issue, but they have been doing so for some time. May we have a statement from the relevant Minister setting out the Government’s intentions, and whether they will seek to ensure that those convicted of causing death by dangerous driving cannot again get behind the wheel?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I thank the hon. Gentleman for bringing Janice’s work on this important issue to the attention of the House, and I thank her for what she is doing in the wake of an appalling tragedy to ensure that no one else has to endure what she has been through. I will ensure that both the Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Transport have heard the request for an update on this important matter.