Grahame Morris: It is an honour to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Pritchard. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Aberavon (Stephen Kinnock) on securing this important and timely debate. It is a debate that is close to my heart as the chair of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East. I want to concentrate on one issue: the importance of upholding international law. We have covered many of...
Grahame Morris: I congratulate the Scottish National party on selecting this topic for its Opposition day debate. It is one on which I and many other Members—too many to mention them all—have been working. However, I do wish to mention the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) for the sterling work that he has done, the hon. Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire South (Mhairi...
Grahame Morris: Absolutely. It is something that affects every Member. Often we bring up issues that affect only the north, only Scotland or only Wales. This time, people in every constituency are affected.
Grahame Morris: I really should not give way, because of the time. I do apologise to the hon. Gentleman, but you will admonish me if I give way, Madam Deputy Speaker. I recently tabled early-day motion 63, which has been signed by 197 Members. A petition was signed by 107,000 people, which led to the granting of a debate. It will take place next week, if it is necessary—if the Minister does not concede...
Grahame Morris: My hon. Friend is making powerful points. Does he agree that the Government have an opportunity to act while the ball is in their court and before the collective action for maladministration compels them to act?
Grahame Morris: Will the Minister give way?
Grahame Morris: I give the Transport Secretary credit for acknowledging the failure on at least two occasions of the private franchise running the east coast main line. My recollection is that when it was operated by the UK state-owned Directly Operated Railways it generated more than £100 million in profit for the Treasury, which could be used for vital public services. What assessment has he made of...
Grahame Morris: Does my right hon. Friend believe that the Government are doing enough, as set out in the Budget, to tackle tax avoiders and tax evaders, some of whom are resident in British overseas territories and dependencies, to ensure that the Treasury has enough resource to pay nurses and others?
Grahame Morris: Is my hon. Friend aware that the state-owned operator puts guards on its trains in Holland, but proposes to run a service without them on its Mersey franchise?
Grahame Morris: What steps the Government are taking to ensure the accessibility of voter registration.
Grahame Morris: Millions of people are missing from the electoral registers, but there are high levels of support for reforming our electoral registration system—in particular, for automatic voter registration when a person receives their national insurance number. When will the Government implement the necessary reforms to ensure that our democracy works for the many, not just the few?
Grahame Morris: The A19 in my constituency is at a standstill following an accident. Will the Leader of the House join me in supporting the campaign in the local press for a review of safety on the A19, and will she support a specific debate on the A19 and investment in road infrastructure in the north-east?
Grahame Morris: What steps the Crown Prosecution Service is taking to increase prosecution rates for internet trolling and other forms of online abuse.
Grahame Morris: Latest figures show that the CPS successfully prosecuted 15,000 cases of hate crime in 2015-16. However, in the same year the number of cases referred to prosecutors by the police dropped by 10%. Can the Solicitor General explain why that should be?
Grahame Morris: Is it not the case that the problem lies in our tactics of applying these complicated rules and regulations and in the fact that expensive minds—the accountants—can devise a way around them? Should we not be looking at a general principle, because people cannot get around a principle?
Grahame Morris: Will the Minister please explain to the House why only 420 HMRC staff are engaged in chasing tax avoiders and evaders, yet 10 times that number of civil servants are engaged in addressing benefit fraud in the Department for Work and Pensions?
Grahame Morris: Will the Secretary of State assure the House of his Department’s commitment to enforce the national minimum wage in the maritime sector? Why have officials from his Department been unable to attend meetings of the cross-departmental legal working group on seafarers?
Grahame Morris: I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Diana Johnson) on securing this debate, which is really important and timely, and thank the Backbench Business Committee for granting it. The A19 is one of the principal economic drivers—no pun intended—in my constituency. It is vital for the export-focused manufacturing businesses in my region, particularly...
Grahame Morris: rose—
Grahame Morris: I sincerely thank the Secretary of State for his statement, and the shadow Minister for his response. I also thank the taskforce for its recommendations, which the Secretary of State now wishes to press ahead with and implement as speedily as possible. Will he clarify one particular point? It has been reported that Michael Lockwood is due to leave his position as site recovery manager to join...