Charles Walker: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I understand that due to pressures of time, the Government have pulled the next debate on the principle of proxy voting in the House of Commons. That is of course a great shame, although I understand that there are pressing matters of state in play at the moment. On 1 February, we passed a motion in this House to look at proxy voting. The Procedure Committee,...
Charles Walker: I thank my right hon. Friend for the way in which he is approaching Second Reading; it demonstrates that Second Readings of Bills are extremely important and should happen with great regularity. May I commend to him the work in Hertfordshire and Broxbourne council to bring together agencies across the county and boroughs to deal with knife crime? There is a role for local politicians and...
Charles Walker: Does my right hon. Friend agree that Princess Alexandra Hospital has a great future if it is allowed to have that future?
Charles Walker: The hon. Lady will know that the Procedure Committee has come up with two excellent reports in the past four years on how to reform private Members’ Bills. These reports have been resisted by the Whips Offices on both sides of the House. Does she think we should have another go?
Charles Walker: Many important issues that came out of today’s exchanges will continue to cause interest and concern for Members of Parliament. Will the Leader of the House make sure that in the months ahead the Backbench Business Committee has plenty of days to allocate, to ensure that all Members of Parliament can continue to raise their concerns on the Floor of the House?
Charles Walker: I discussed this with my hon. Friend the Member for Meon Valley (George Hollingbery), who is in the Chamber. We decided that it is essential for Vertex and NHS England to be reasonable. There is common ground and a deal to be done. Both sides need to work towards that with the encouragement of the Minister and the Department of Health and Social Care.
Charles Walker: I think colleagues were almost heading for the door, but we have up to two minutes for the proposer of this great debate to wind up.
Charles Walker: I have let speeches go on longer than is conventional because we have had plenty of time. We have had two mammoth speeches from the SNP and Labour Front Benches. I know the Minister could speak for 55 minutes if she wanted to, but if she felt that she could just match them at 25 minutes, I am sure we would all appreciate it.
Charles Walker: We are all looking forward to the Minister’s closing remarks.
Charles Walker: Mr Graham is now going to make some progress.
Charles Walker: I thank colleagues for being here today. There are some terrible weather conditions across the country, which I think will suppress attendance at this debate. Some colleagues had to get back to their constituencies before they got cut off, or the rail links got cut off. I call Antoinette Sandbach to move the motion.
Charles Walker: As the hon. Gentleman knows, the current Erasmus programme is covered by the current multi-annual financial framework of the European Union, which ends in 2020. We need to look at what future frameworks would look like and how negotiations would approach the issue in future, but we have already set out a very positive UK position. We look forward to engaging with the EU on many issues, as...
Charles Walker: My right hon. Friend makes his point well. I think that the point on which we would all agree is that there have to be caveats to any form of modelling. As Members will see when they look at the analysis, it sets out the caveats very clearly.
Charles Walker: There are more Opposition Members than Government Members down to speak, so I am just trying to balance it out before the end.
Charles Walker: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his self-discipline. Others had been shorter, so he was not in danger of eating up anyone else’s time.
Charles Walker: Order. Colleagues, 12 of you want to speak. I have worked out that, if you each speak for eight and a half minutes, we should get everyone in and leave 10 minutes each for the three Front-Benchers to make their winding-up speeches. I call Jim Fitzpatrick.
Charles Walker: Sorry, I got that wrong. I call Bill Grant. I do apologise, Jim; you will be next.
Charles Walker: I thank the Minister for Security for his statement. It is much appreciated by my constituents that he and his team are working so hard to ensure their safety. This is an incredibly difficult challenge, because the threat keeps changing and it is always difficult for our security forces to identify the threat at each stage of its development. However, they are doing a fantastic job. It is...
Charles Walker: My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. The people who work in our security forces do not get a day, an hour or even a minute off. They are constantly vigilant. I imagine that, even when they are not on duty, they take home their concerns and their enormous sense of responsibility to society. We should congratulate them and respect them for that. We talked about the responsibility of the...
Charles Walker: It is wonderful to see so many former Ministers on the Conservative Benches discovering their love of parliamentary sovereignty when they are no longer on the ministerial merry-go-round. I have far greater respect in this place for those parliamentarians who have never held ministerial office and actually respect this place, even when things are not going their way.