Charlie Elphicke: rose—
Charlie Elphicke: Does the Minister agree that threats from the European Union about having a hard border in Northern Ireland are simply unhelpful, and that what we need is co-operation in the use of technology so that things can continue to flow just as they do today?
Charlie Elphicke: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Charlie Elphicke: One thing that my constituents in Dover and Deal were absolutely clear about when they decided to vote by a large majority to leave the European Union was the need to take back control of our borders and to end uncontrolled EU immigration—to end free movement. It is not just in my constituency; it is regions across the country, including Labour leave areas, which I know feel the same...
Charlie Elphicke: That is exactly why I have been setting out the case for how we can use technology and these sorts of system, with a trusted traders scheme, and how we can build on the WTO’s trade facilitation agreement, to which the European Union has signed up. We should be making this investment—we should have been making this investment many years ago.
Charlie Elphicke: My hon. Friend makes the perfect case, and it is the case I have made in a report in which I set out how we can achieve that and manage it positively. We need to use technology and to engage with European member states across the water. After all, customs arrangements and the accounting of customs are not done by Brussels; they are bilateral. We can have bilateral discussions with the French...
Charlie Elphicke: The right hon. and learned Gentleman is being very generous in taking interventions. Will he just tell the House whether he believes that Britain should remain in the EEA—yes or no?
Charlie Elphicke: When I talk to people on Dover high street about the situation with Europe, they say to me, “Why haven’t we left already?” I tell them, “Well, we are now having debates on things like meaningful votes,” and they reply, “But we had a meaningful vote—we had a meaningful vote in a referendum two years ago, and you guys up in Westminster are just...
Charlie Elphicke: rose—
Charlie Elphicke: My right hon. Friend is making a powerful argument, but beyond the doctrine of collective responsibility and making sure that one can have conversations in government, in what world does it make sense that we should disclose our own Government papers—our own Government secrets—to the other side in a negotiation?
Charlie Elphicke: Does the Minister agree that the size of the House of Lords now makes it ungainly, that it is politically unbalanced and that it has become democratically very detached? Is not it time that we looked in more general terms at the future of the House of Lords?
Charlie Elphicke: Does the Secretary of State agree that with investment in technology, and investing now, we can be ready on day one for trade to continue on the island of Ireland as it has always done, and that there will never be any need for physical infrastructure or customs checks at the border?
Charlie Elphicke: In addition to asking the Minister whether he can confirm to the House that he has no objections to the Service Animals (Offences) Bill, may I ask what action he is taking to ensure that the justice system addresses new, dangerous and increasingly abundant drugs such as fentanyl?
Charlie Elphicke: The hon. Gentleman is making an impassioned, powerful and thoughtful speech. In October 2010, there were about 300,000 homes that had been empty for a long time. That number has come down to about 200,000. That is good progress, but does he agree that more needs to be done?
Charlie Elphicke: Does the Minister agree that modern slavery is not simply a national problem, but an international problem with international gangs? When we leave the European Union, will we continue to work very closely with our European colleagues and co-operate with them to deal with this evil trade?