Angela Eagle: I am more than happy to make an intervention, although I am rather sorry I gave way to the hon. Gentleman during my speech. What I see in my constituency is a benefits system—universal credit—in serious trouble and causing serious hardship, and listening to Conservative Members pretending nothing is wrong is not a good use of time.
Angela Eagle: Universal credit is causing undeniable and massive hardship in my constituency. I see it in my advice surgery, and we see it in the 34% increase in food bank usage in the Wirral since the full roll-out of universal credit. When we talked to the Trussell Trust, which provides the 15 food banks in the Wirral, it said that half of all the usage of food banks in the area is a direct result of the...
Angela Eagle: I am tempted to say the Secretary of State, who has just left the Chamber and so is not listening to the rest of the debate. There is enormous complacency already evident in this debate on the Conservative Benches, perhaps because they do not have people in tears in their advice surgeries trying to get by with absolutely no money and no prospect of getting any. The National Audit Office...
Angela Eagle: Does the hon. Gentleman share my puzzlement at the experience of those of us in our constituencies where we have had universal credit rolled out and we have seen increases in food bank usage—in my own area, of 34%, which is 30 tonnes of extra food—and does he share my worry that the Government do not seem to understand that this demonstrates there is a real problem with this benefit?
Angela Eagle: Will my hon. Friend give way?
Angela Eagle: Universal credit rolled out in Wirral at the beginning of the year, and in the first six months of this year there was a 34% increase in food bank use in the Wirral area. That is more than 30 tonnes of extra food needed, and the people who work in the food bank tell me that that is a direct result of the universal credit roll-out. If everything is so wonderful, why is this happening and why...
Angela Eagle: The DUP, which has sustained the Prime Minister in office, has made it clear that it thinks no deal is almost inevitable. What does she think?
Angela Eagle: Surely the Government should step out of their complacent attitude to regulation and strengthen enforcement, too. Instead of seeing regulation as something to be avoided and red tape as a dirty word, surely it is about time the Minister and his Department stepped up to the plate and did the things that need to be done to protect the consumer.
Angela Eagle: When?
Angela Eagle: I feel slightly sorry for the Minister, because she has been sent to defend the indefensible. Given her complacent demeanour today and her complete lack of acknowledgement about how serious this issue is, can she tell us quite how big a scandal would have to be before she actually reacted to it appropriately?
Angela Eagle: The American President seems to prefer unilateral action to multilateral action. He seems to want to be protectionist and inward-looking—to put America first, as he says—rather than to engage multilaterally. What implications does the Prime Minister think that approach has for the NATO alliance?
Angela Eagle: The White Paper says very little about the service industry, particularly financial services, except that we want to retain our access to integrated markets while not really sticking to the rules. Is that not more like having your cake and eating it, and is it not highly unlikely that the EU will ever agree to such an approach?
Angela Eagle: Does my hon. Friend agree that, while DWP staff are remarkably good at the job they do, they must have the tools they need to do that job, and many are frustrated that they do not have them?
Angela Eagle: It is hard to overstate the rolling catastrophe that is universal credit and the abject misery and hardship that it represents not only to my constituents but to those of many other right hon. and hon. Members. As page 19 of the NAO report demonstrates, the system is so beleaguered that, while the original plan was for more than 7 million households to be on universal credit by now, the...
Angela Eagle: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Angela Eagle: Does the hon. Gentleman see, as I do, a pattern of reluctance on the part of this Government to collect evidence and information precisely so that they can deny the effects of universal credit, and somehow pretend that the evidence that is accumulating is anecdotal?
Angela Eagle: The oddly named Chequers agreement fell apart after a weekend and is now the Chequers disagreement, as the Prime Minister’s Cabinet disintegrates before our eyes. Will she tell the House how on earth she is going to persuade the European Union to agree to her disagreement when her own Cabinet does not agree with it?