Mike Gapes: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Minister has given a number of answers to me and other colleagues whereby there is some lack of clarity and some uncertainty. How can we best ensure that the House gets the full facts about the timing and the role of the two Departments in the periods up to, during and at the end of this ministerial private visit to Israel?
Mike Gapes: Listening to the Minister and his slippery evasions makes me question why the Department and he as a Minister exist at all. What is the point of the Department if it is not doing its job?
Mike Gapes: I am happy to withdraw, Mr Speaker.
Mike Gapes: The hon. Gentleman initially said that he voted the way he did because he wanted parliamentary control. Why, then, is he so reluctant to allow this House to make a decision about whether we should leave the EU or leave the EEA?
Mike Gapes: It is a real pleasure to follow the hon. Member for South Suffolk (James Cartlidge). He has made an excellent speech, and I want to hear more from him in the future. I begin by taking on the claim that was made by some on the Government Benches that, somehow, a decision was taken in June 2016 to leave the European economic area. If that is the case, I have to ask why, in their submission in...
Mike Gapes: EEA-plus would relate to issues such as having an agreement on a common foreign and security policy, and an agreement on those matters that do not affect some of the EFTA or EEA countries because the UK is not Liechtenstein, Norway, or Iceland. We must have the closest possible relationships with our EU neighbours and partners on many issues to do with policing, security and defence. Having...
Mike Gapes: Services.
Mike Gapes: My right hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr Bradshaw) referred to the vote two years ago. Unfortunately, I was unable to take part in that vote, but I welcome the liberation of Raqqa. As the Minister said, it proves that conflicts of this kind cannot be won simply from the air. Ground forces have to be used. Will he reiterate our praise for the Syrian Democratic Forces, particularly...
Mike Gapes: The Prime Minister used her new mantra of a “deep and special partnership” three times in the statement, even though the lack of progress, the business uncertainty and the splits in her Government mean that in reality, the phrase “deep and special” is the new “strong and stable”—an empty slogan from an empty-vessel caretaker Prime Minister. [Interruption.]
Mike Gapes: The Secretary of State claimed that progress has been made on the questions of EU citizens here and British citizens living in other EU countries. Will he confirm that British citizens living in other EU countries will maintain the protections of the European Court of Justice for the foreseeable future, whether or not we are inside the EU?
Mike Gapes: UK citizens there.
Mike Gapes: Does the Minister agree that President Trump is a proliferator, that he is encouraging the undermining of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and that by his action he will make it almost impossible to get any agreement on North Korea?
Mike Gapes: Before I call the Minister—I hope she will leave the mover of the motion a minute or two to have the final word—I remind her that we need to conclude the debate by 5.3 pm.
Mike Gapes: Order. We have another Division. If there are two or three, I am afraid we will have to come back later, but I hope that there will be just one, in which case we will return in 15 minutes. If the Front Benchers are here before then, I will start the closing speeches straight away. Sitting suspended for a Division in the House. On resuming—
Mike Gapes: Order. Before I call the next speaker, I inform Members that this debate will conclude at 4.48 pm, because we have injury time. There are three Front-Bench speeches and two Back-Bench speeches, so we have until about 4.18 pm before we have to start the Front-Bench speeches.
Mike Gapes: Order. There is a Division in the Commons. We did not hear the bell here, but there is a green light flashing, so we suspend for 15 minutes; obviously, if there are two Divisions we suspend for 30 minutes. Sitting suspended for Divisions in the House. On resuming—
Mike Gapes: We have limited time for the debate. I would be grateful if any speeches could be relatively brief, so that everybody gets in.
Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress has been made to conclude entry clearance application GWF 043559042 lodged at post in New Delhi on 4 May 2017 and received by her Department on 9 May 2017.
Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance her Department provides to the visa processing centre, Sheffield on the handling of visa entry clearance applications for a (a) spouse and (b) fiancé which have not been processed within 12 weeks; and if she will make a statement.
Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance her Department provides to the visa processing centre, Sheffield on the recording of (a) courier receipts and (b) tracking data for documents relating to applications for visas for entry clearance.