Charles Walker: Colleagues, thank you for sharing out the time so well. Question put and agreed to. Resolved, That this House has considered social care funding.
Charles Walker: Thank you. Minister, if you could leave two minutes at the end for Sir Vincent Cable to wind up the debate, that would be hugely appreciated.
Charles Walker: I want to give Sir Vince Cable two minutes at the end, so if the other Front-Bench colleagues could maintain a 12-minute discipline, or just under, that would be great.
Charles Walker: Thank you, colleagues. We now move to the Front-Bench speeches.
Charles Walker: Speeches are now limited to three minutes.
Charles Walker: Everybody is being so disciplined about interventions, which is great. Faisal Rashid, you, too, can have four minutes, but nobody else will.
Charles Walker: Order. There are plenty of speakers, so we will have a time limit of four minutes, perhaps dropping to three as the debate develops.
Charles Walker: Order. We have lots of people. I am going to start with a time limit of four minutes, but do not be surprised when I drop it to three.
Charles Walker: You are in no doubt, Mr Speaker, that I think the Prime Minister is a thoroughly good egg, and it has been an absolute privilege to serve her on the Back Benches. This Prime Minister’s commitment to mental health has been simply fantastic; it was fantastic when she was the Home Secretary, and it has been fantastic in her time as Prime Minister. We have had the Stevenson/Farmer review of...
Charles Walker: The role of Ofwat has not been mentioned yet. It has no duty to have any environmental regard. Its only interest is in driving down bills, but it should take a great deal more interest in the environment. I think we have all had enough of Ofwat in this place. I hope the Minister will take that on board.
Charles Walker: It is really important for there to be people in Ofwat who share the Minister’s passion for the environment and the passion displayed by so many colleagues here, not only in this debate but in others.
Charles Walker: That was a great debate.
Charles Walker: The great sadness is that, to the uninitiated eye, the river looks beautiful—and it is beautiful—but as Paul Jennings would say, it is clinging on by its fingertips. Its flow is a fraction of what it should be; although it remains beautiful, its ability to support life is just draining away.
Charles Walker: I hear what my right hon. Friend says, and she is absolutely right. There is nothing more irritating than to hear weather forecasters on the BBC, ITV or radio programmes such as on Radio 4 going, “Good news, it’s going to be a dry week”, or “Good news, it’s going to be a dry weekend”. This country needs rainfall. We do not have it in abundance—and when we are not having it, we...
Charles Walker: I am sorry to cut my right hon. and learned Friend off as he is paying tribute to the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, but I want to pay tribute to it as well. Jeremy Paxman recently wrote that we no longer have to clean our windscreens, because there are now no insects splattered on them. There are so few insects because our rivers—and, in our part of our world, our chalk streams—have...
Charles Walker: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for calling me for my Adjournment debate this evening. I am delighted that I did not try your patience with a spurious point of order, as that really would have been naughty. If I had tried your patience with a spurious point of order, it would have been on an environmental matter, and I would have just wanted to know how I could bring to the attention of this...
Charles Walker: I will give way on that point, but I would like to get to the substantive part of my speech.
Charles Walker: Of course, and there was nothing spurious about my delight at Veolia failing to get its application through—it was just that I wanted to bring it to the attention of a wider audience.
Charles Walker: I thank my right hon. Friend for alerting the House to that very important point. HS2 does pose a risk to chalk stream and riverine environments. No doubt if time allows, my right hon. Friend will bring her concerns to the attention of the House.
Charles Walker: My right hon. and learned Friend is such an honest and decent man. He could have misled the House that there were seven chalk streams in his area, but he has corrected the record without being summoned back—in fact there are eight. Let us now get to the serious part of this debate, because this is a very serious matter that causes a great many colleagues on both sides of the House a huge...