Kwasi Kwarteng: Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.
Kwasi Kwarteng: I am honoured to be called to speak in this Adjournment debate. It is a great honour, as a Member of Parliament, to be able to make representations in this House on local cases, and this particular case is something I have been very much affected by. I have met the parents of the young boy concerned, and I would be grateful if the House would allow me to explain the nature of the case I am...
Kwasi Kwarteng: I am happy to give way to the hon. Gentleman.
Kwasi Kwarteng: I am delighted that the hon. Gentleman has made representations from his part of the country. People face this problem across the country. It is not widely known, because the absolute numbers are not great, but the suffering is severe. We absolutely have to try to think of a way to reach an accommodation on funding, because £600,000 is a huge amount to raise.
Kwasi Kwarteng: I am touched by the hon. Gentleman’s remarks. It is delightful to see cross-party agreement on this. It is a great honour to raise this issue—it goes to the heart of what one does as a constituency MP. I have met Alfie’s parents and have been incredibly impressed by the way they have conducted themselves, and by their bravery and courage. They are totally devoid of...
Kwasi Kwarteng: rose—
Kwasi Kwarteng: What assessment he has made of the potential merits of an implementation period after the UK leaves the EU.
Kwasi Kwarteng: I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that answer. Does he agree that the implementation period must be finite and that it will not preclude us from engaging in third-party discussions with other countries that would like to do free trade deals with us?
Kwasi Kwarteng: I hate to rain on my right hon. Friend’s parade, but if we had a proposal to abolish Parliament entirely, that would also be particularly popular, would it not?
Kwasi Kwarteng: Yes, you are.
Kwasi Kwarteng: Will the hon. Lady give way?
Kwasi Kwarteng: My only regret in speaking is that, given the constraints on our time, you have imposed a six-minute limit on our speeches, Madam Deputy Speaker, and I feel that I could speak for a long time on the important subject of our debate. The Bill is precisely the sort of responsible measure that a good, decent, forward-looking Government would introduce to avoid the cliff edge that we are told is a...
Kwasi Kwarteng: I know that the hon. Gentleman has been listening to the debate with rapt attention, and he will have noticed in the course of several hours of discussion that we are leaving Euratom because, if he remembers, we voted to leave the EU last year. It was not the British Government who said we had to leave Euratom, but the Commission. The EU itself said that, as a consequence of voting to leave...
Kwasi Kwarteng: Forgive me, but one of the hon. Gentleman’s colleagues mentioned—we can all look at Hansard tomorrow—that our diplomacy was being ridiculed and was somehow deficient. If someone says that diplomacy is deficient, they are criticising the diplomats who are conducting that diplomacy, and I am afraid that most of those diplomats are indeed civil servants, so that was criticism...
Kwasi Kwarteng: We’re all doomed!
Kwasi Kwarteng: My hon. Friend the Member for North West Hampshire (Kit Malthouse) was suggesting that he was precisely the only person in Britain who had gone to the polls in order to leave Euratom, so my hon. Friend the Member for North Dorset (Simon Hoare) is making his point for him.
Kwasi Kwarteng: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way once again. Is it not particularly significant that this is part of a contingency plan, in the light of the objections that we will somehow have a so-called hard Brexit?
Kwasi Kwarteng: The whole purpose of this Bill is to plan for the contingency where we leave Euratom, so how can the hon. Lady say that?
Kwasi Kwarteng: Is the hon. Lady seriously suggesting that there would be any circumstances in which well-qualified nuclear professionals would be prevented from coming into this country? Does she think, plausibly, that that is an outcome we might get to?
Kwasi Kwarteng: My hon. Friend’s precise point was that the Germans had retreated and left the field of civil nuclear energy. So the hon. Gentleman has drawn exactly the wrong conclusion.