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Brian Binley: Mr. Deputy Prime Minister, three weeks ago the Prime Minister was asked to meet a delegation about the underfunding of police in Northamptonshire, which has continued for a considerable number of years. He did not answer. My grandmother always said, "Never trust a man who doesn't give a straight answer." [Interruption.]
Brian Binley: Will the Deputy Prime Minister now answer on the Prime Minister's behalf?
Brian Binley: Thank you, Mr. Olner. I apologise for not letting you know earlier that I wanted to speak and am grateful to you for calling me. In my maiden speech in the House, I talked about a dear friend of mine who was the Labour agent in Kidderminster when I was the Conservative agent. I said that when we cast aside our political differences, we were surprised by how much we agreed on and how much work...
Brian Binley: I apologise, Mr. Olner. I shall do as you suggest. To conclude, I return to my opening remarks. I said that I hope we can work together. We have heard many creative ideas today. I believe that we should create a culture of change. We should start a crusade by working together. I hope that the Minister will take that on board.
Brian Binley: Is my hon. Friend aware that the rumour in local government circles, emanating from the Local Government Association, I think, is that this year an increase of 1.7 per cent. in the revenue support grant is being planned, with the exception of education, for which it is said that an increase of 4 per cent. is being planned? Does she consider that that will extend the concept of stealth tax?
Brian Binley: I am somewhat bemused by the hon. Gentleman's statement that the European budget has benefited the people of Europe. How does it benefit the people of Stuttgart, who have been so dependent on the Mercedes company over the last 10 years? I should be interested to hear the answer, and I am sure that they would as well.
Brian Binley: The hon. Gentleman will know that the number of people employed by the company in Stuttgart has fallen dramatically over the past 10 years. I wondered how he felt that the European Union and its budget had helped those people specifically. I think they would tell us that they have not been overly helped.
Brian Binley: I accept some of the things that the hon. Gentleman is saying about work permits. Does he agree that a proper system of work permits is entirely reliant upon a proper system of border controls?
Brian Binley: I congratulate the hon. Member for Blaydon (Mr. Anderson) on a fine and fighting maiden speech. I can tell him that I am a descendant of a long line of operatives working in the Northamptonshire shoe industry. I can convey some optimism to him, based on the fact that the shopmates of Raunds were the forerunners of the Jarrow marchers, but since then they have moved on a little. Now they...