Results 1–20 of 2000 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Claire Curtis-Thomas

Points of Order (15 Mar 2010)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Last Thursday, the right hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. MacShane) came to the House and informed all Members of "alarming stories" of the diversion of aid from the Department for International Development into the pockets of Ministers in Sierra Leone. That hugely damaging statement was totally inaccurate and, moreover, the DFID office has just been subjected...

International Women's Day (11 Mar 2010)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: I, too, regret the fact that we have such a short time today for this very important discussion. I wonder whether my colleagues have been to Prague. I went there last year, and it really is a beautiful city. I visited the Jewish sector and was immediately struck by the written legacy of the survivors of the Prague scouring of Jews, which took place during the war. Women had written about...

Business of the House (11 Mar 2010)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: Will my right hon. and learned Friend consider holding a general debate on the Floor of the House about the training opportunities that have been presented to young people? Under this Administration we have seen a fantastic rise in the number of apprenticeship programmes, in stark contrast to the Opposition's days in government, so I really would like the opportunity for a general debate to...

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day-First Part]: Defence (1 Mar 2010)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: The hon. Gentleman will recall that the mandate to go into Iraq was secured in this House. Prior to that, no activity could take place at ministerial level, or within Government Departments, that would suggest that we were going to go into Iraq, for fear of presuming on the House. He will also know that some 23,000 items were required to be deployed as part of personnel security. Does he not...

Bills Presented: Education and Health (19 Nov 2009)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: rose-

Bills Presented: Education and Health (19 Nov 2009)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: I thank the Secretary of State for his speech. Does he agree that the 1,600 failing schools in 1997 were directly attributable to significant areas of deprivation throughout this country? Would he like to say a few words about how this Government have tackled that deprivation, which has led to our having improved education in areas that the Conservative party regarded as "no-go" zones?

Defence Procurement (20 Apr 2009)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: Is the hon. Gentleman advocating that we match some of the budget increases in developing nations that, compared with us, have very small armies in proportion to their population? Or is he talking about expanding our budget so that we can expand our armed forces accordingly? If that is the basis of his argument, what does he believe that such expansion would be for?

Defence Procurement (20 Apr 2009)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Defence Procurement (20 Apr 2009)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: I shall confine my remarks to my experience as a member of the European Security and Defence Assembly, which meets regularly and brings together representatives of all European countries, including the accession states, and visitors from Russia, Canada and Australia. We discuss a number of security and defence issues that pertain to the European context, and some of our discussions have been...

Defence Procurement (20 Apr 2009)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: The hon. Gentleman talks about the right kit, and that is what gives companies a great opportunity. Who defines what is the right kit at any moment? There is no ubiquitous environment in which that kit operates. A field commander in one area will say, "I want this specifically," and a field commander in another area will say, "I want that specifically." It is then a question of creating...

Defence Procurement (20 Apr 2009)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: That is precisely what OCCAR has set out to do.

Defence Procurement (20 Apr 2009)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: Yes, but against what criteria? The hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife (Willie Rennie) alluded to OCCAR's role and its importance. Its role is to get consensus between countries on procuring specific pieces of kit. I hope that colleagues understand why that is such an attractive option. It means that one gets kit for less cost per unit because the cost of developing the unit is...

Defence Procurement (20 Apr 2009)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: I do not disagree with the hon. Gentleman's arguments—I fully understand them. However, today I have heard a debate about costs, timely procurement and meeting forces' expectations quickly, and the arguments that he has advanced militate against achieving those objectives. If we allow decisions about kit specifications to rest entirely with the armed forces, we will experience the problems...

Defence Procurement (20 Apr 2009)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: It certainly does, but we heard again today the need to be able to plan for some eventualities. In EU/NATO-led peacekeeping operations, in which military capacity is fundamental to a successful intervention, and for which we could plan over a long period, procurement of common assets on a common platform is a genuine option. Indeed, it supports the greater benefits of European collaboration...

Defence Procurement (20 Apr 2009)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: I was very fortunate to visit a forces logistics centre not so many months ago, and I talked to the staff about precisely the problems that the hon. Gentleman presents. I was told very clearly that as the decision to go to war was pending a vote in the House, until the vote was taken, the forces took no action to prepare for the engagement or for anything that happened afterwards, because had...

Defence Procurement (20 Apr 2009)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: May I offer my hon. Friend some encouragement? Declassified destroyers that were being broken up in China have been moved to Liverpool dock, and the reason given for that is better environmental standards, as well as our ability to ensure that the workers are treated well and are not exposed to any risk. I hope that my hon. Friend will take that as encouragement that similar decisions may be...

Defence Procurement (20 Apr 2009)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: I am listening with great interest to what the hon. Gentleman is saying. Let me take up two of his points. First, we have placed contracts for 12 destroyers and we are picking up six of them, but anyone who visits Govan and asks about the impact that those orders have had will learn that it is substantial. Moreover, we have sought to manufacture the destroyers in the United Kingdom, and we...

Defence Procurement (20 Apr 2009)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: From where does the hon. Gentleman think we are going to obtain significant competence in procurement, if such a capability is not developed as a consequence of the type of projects we have now? Does he think that the absence of procurement competence is unique to the Government sector, or does he believe that it is shared by the private sector?

Defence Procurement (20 Apr 2009)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: rose—

Africa (30 Mar 2009)

Claire Curtis-Thomas: Will my hon. Friend say a few words about the benefit of the twinning to citizenship, and about the growing understanding of faiths between the two communities?

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