Stephen Crabb: The Minister will be aware that over the past decade Qatar has become an increasingly important source of gas for the UK, not least from imports of liquefied natural gas through my constituency. What steps is he taking to ensure that the current diplomatic crisis in the Gulf affecting Qatar does not lead to any disruption of energy supply into the UK?
Stephen Crabb: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for calling me to speak so early in the debate. It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for North East Fife (Stephen Gethins); I enjoyed listening to his speech and appreciate the spirit in which he made it. I think that many Members on both sides of the House will wish to return to the theme of working together pragmatically. It will certainly inform some of...
Stephen Crabb: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that intervention, because I was about to say that I was also struck by how similar the strategic objectives of both Front Bench positions actually are. The outlines are emerging of what I hope will be a pragmatic, sensible Brexit deal that can command widespread support across the country. The Government and the Opposition are united in wanting to...
Stephen Crabb: I welcome my right hon. Friend’s statement and his personal commitment to ensuring that the imbalances and inequalities that exist in all parts of the United Kingdom are tackled effectively by this Government. Will he say a bit more about how the UK prosperity fund will be used to raise economic output in the poorest parts of the United Kingdom? I encourage him to keep an open mind to...
Stephen Crabb: I strongly welcome the offer to EU nationals that the Prime Minister is making today and the spirit of generosity and pragmatism with which she makes it. Does she agree that carrying forward that same spirit into the negotiations about the rights of future EU workers gives us the best chance of protecting our own economic interests and securing the comprehensive trade deal that we all want to see?
Stephen Crabb: Although, over the past seven years, we have given new powers and new money to the Welsh Labour Government precisely so that they can get on and improve transport in Wales, we have seen near zero progress on big projects such as improving the M4 around Newport. Who does my hon. Friend think is responsible for holding back Wales, and what should voters do about it on 8 June?
Stephen Crabb: The role of the machinery of government in helping to hold together the United Kingdom is an important issue. Does my right hon. Friend agree that a priority for the new Government should be to take a long, hard look at developing new ways of working between Ministers and civil servants across the devolved Administrations to strengthen our United Kingdom?
Stephen Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what representations and correspondence she has received from the Welsh Minister for Agriculture on agricultural policy after the UK has left the EU; and if she will publish that correspondence.
Stephen Crabb: Can my right hon. Friend name any other country that spends as much in direct cash payments to people living with as wide a range of physical, mental and psychological disabilities and illnesses as we do here in the UK? Is that not something we should be proud of?
Stephen Crabb: Will my right hon. Friend confirm the importance that we place on our defence co-operation with the Egyptian Government, and pledge further support to Egypt as it seeks to contain the Daesh threat in north Africa and Sinai?
Stephen Crabb: Despite Wales having world-leading companies that contribute to humanitarian efforts in some of the poorest nations on earth, no Welsh company has been able to secure a contract with the Department for International Development. Will my right hon. Friend look into that and work with the excellent International Development Secretary to make DFID not only more pro-business, but more pro-Welsh...
Stephen Crabb: I am enjoying my hon. Friend’s speech enormously, but I fear that he has made a slight omission. He has not yet referred to the fact that St David was, of course, from Pembrokeshire, the most beautiful part of our fabulous nation of Wales.
Stephen Crabb: My ears pricked up when the hon. Gentleman mentioned that the Welsh Government currently fund 14 overseas offices to assist with international trade. Given the extensive global network of embassies and high commissions that the UK Government fund from Westminster precisely to assist with international development, why should taxpayers fund these duplicate offices?
Stephen Crabb: I commend my hon. Friend for his investigation into this episode. What broader lessons does he think should be drawn from this about Welsh Government Ministers’ attitudes towards the use of public money in the name of economic development?
Stephen Crabb: Does my right hon. Friend agree that any welfare payment, especially one providing a tiered range of cash payments to people living with enormously diverse physical and mental conditions, requires clear assessment criteria and clarity in law? The new regulations will restore precision to the law, which will benefit all users of the system.
Stephen Crabb: Alongside concerns about the rearmament of Hamas and the rebuilding of its network of cross-border terror tunnels, does my right hon. Friend share the growing alarm at the new activities of Daesh in the Sinai desert, which, together with the activities of Hamas, point to the prospect of further violence in the region and a new wave of terror attacks on innocent Israeli citizens?
Stephen Crabb: One of the core objectives of the draft industrial strategy is to rebalance the UK economy, with engineering, construction and manufacturing making a larger contribution to economic growth. Does the Minister agree that if we are to achieve that objective, we will need to invest in major infrastructure projects such as the tidal lagoon?
Stephen Crabb: One of the things that really impressed me during my spell at the DWP was the quality of the work coaches and their capacity for supporting real, positive change in people’s lives. If there is an opportunity to spend less on near-empty bricks and mortar and to invest more in a greater number of work coaches, is that not exactly the right thing to do?
Stephen Crabb: Given that migration and visa issues will be close to the heart of negotiations for any future trade deals with India, America, New Zealand and Australia, as well as the EU, can my hon. Friend give an assurance that a new British immigration policy will be sufficiently well developed and can command public support in time for those negotiations to begin in a meaningful way?
Stephen Crabb: What assessment he has made of the adequacy of Wales’s international business links since the UK’s decision to leave the EU.