Results 1–20 of 191 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Conor Burns

Higher Education (England) Regulations (13 Sep 2017)

Conor Burns: It is a genuine pleasure to follow the maiden speech of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Preet Kaur Gill). Many Members in this House will have incredibly fond memories of her predecessor, who was not only a lady of incredible principle, but a lady with an irrepressible and irreverent sense of fun. She will be greatly missed on both sides of the House. The hon. Lady said her...

Higher Education (England) Regulations (13 Sep 2017)

Conor Burns: My hon. Friend has pre-empted what I was about to come on to. There was a lot of shouting going on when the students heard that the Labour party was going to get rid of their debts, abolish their fees, and deal with historical debt. Let me quote what a Labour candidate—a Member in the current and previous Parliaments—said to camera. The hon. Member for Bradford East (Imran...

Higher Education (England) Regulations (13 Sep 2017)

Conor Burns: My hon. Friend and neighbour is absolutely correct. Some of the people who in previous generations, when I was at university, could not have dreamed about getting into university are getting in and getting these life chances under this Government, and, in fairness, the Labour Government before this lot took over as the Opposition. In 1990, only 77,163 people completed their first degree. That...

Higher Education (England) Regulations (13 Sep 2017)

Conor Burns: The £9,000 limit was introduced more than five years ago, but given inflation over that period, in real terms it is £8,500 today, and by 2020 it will be £8,000. Is it not the case that the direct consequence of the perfectly honourable position that the hon. Lady advocates is that less money will go into higher education?

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: 2nd Day (11 Sep 2017)

Conor Burns: We are here today debating this Bill as a direct consequence of the free vote of the British people in the referendum last year, when they gave us their explicit instruction that we were to withdraw the United Kingdom from the European Union. There was an extraordinary article in The Mail on Sunday yesterday by a Member of the other place, who said the Government were rushing this decision...

European Council (14 Mar 2017)

Conor Burns: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has been very clear that the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe. A strong and prosperous EU remains in the interests of the United Kingdom. Does my right hon. Friend agree that a strong, stable united United Kingdom is also in the interests of the EU, and will she vigorously resist anyone who uses this moment to...

Benefit Claimants Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill (2 Dec 2016)

Conor Burns: I join my Conservative colleagues in congratulating the hon. Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire South (Mhairi Black) on securing this private Member’s Bill. There is surely a consensus on both sides of the House that unemployment is a tragedy when it befalls anyone. There can be few things in life worse than wanting to work and failing to find it. However, I begin by bringing a group...

Benefit Claimants Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill (2 Dec 2016)

Conor Burns: The hon. Gentleman is approaching this from exactly the wrong angle. The point is that the Government have an obligation to ensure that every person who is in receipt of a benefit is entitled to it. That is part of the social contract that underpins our society. It was at the very core of the Beveridge report, whereby people paid in in times of good, in times of work, and drew down in times...

Benefit Claimants Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill (2 Dec 2016)

Conor Burns: I understood the hon. Gentleman’s point absolutely; the reason I referred to him was because he was the only Member on the Opposition Benches who mentioned the word “taxpayer” at all. I was making a more fundamental point that we need to approach these debates from the perspective that the Government have an obligation to ensure that those who receive benefits are entitled...

Benefit Claimants Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill (2 Dec 2016)

Conor Burns: I hear the hon. Lady and I take her point absolutely, but I am afraid she did rather give the game away early in her speech when she said that in her view we should not have a sanctions regime at all—[Interruption.] That is the perspective from which I will give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Bury North (Mr Nuttall).

Benefit Claimants Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill (2 Dec 2016)

Conor Burns: I entirely agree. I do not think we can put a cost on the opportunity for work. Of course, it is this Government—through the policies of those on these Benches, both in coalition and now in majority Government—who have ensured the economic conditions that have led to our having more people in work than ever before in history.

Benefit Claimants Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill (2 Dec 2016)

Conor Burns: I will make a little progress, if I may, and then I will give way to the hon. Member for Glasgow South West (Chris Stephens). We should also understand that this system of sanctions is not new; it has operated and existed for decades. It underlies a fundamental principle of ensuring that those who are being supported are not abusing the support that is being offered. There is a very real...

Benefit Claimants Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill (2 Dec 2016)

Conor Burns: First, I say to the hon. Gentleman that I did not say that benefits are not a right; benefits are a right, and a right that I fully respect and uphold. Secondly, on the point that we have heard many times—we had Opposition day debates on it when I was a bag carrier in the Treasury—as he knows, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, when he was Financial Secretary to the Treasury,...

Benefit Claimants Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill (2 Dec 2016)

Conor Burns: My hon. Friend and neighbour is absolutely correct. It is the reciprocal arrangement between the benefit claimant and the taxpayer, who is supporting that person in distress, that underpins the social contract that is at the core of our society. The scope of behavioural forms of conditionality and the severity of the sanctions applied for failure to comply with the required...

Benefit Claimants Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill (2 Dec 2016)

Conor Burns: As was acknowledged in earlier interventions, there are procedures for emergency payments, so the idea that the hon. Gentleman is perpetrating—that somehow it is these cruel, callous Tories— Proceedings interrupted ( Standing Order No. 11(4)).

Benefit Claimants Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill (2 Dec 2016)

Conor Burns: rose—

Benefit Claimants Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill (2 Dec 2016)

Conor Burns: There are very good reasons not to support the Bill that do not relate to the comments that the hon. Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire South (Mhairi Black) made about her approach to sanctions in general. Much of the Bill duplicates what already happens, and it would increase bureaucracy. I have also made the point that the Government have listened consistently, and they have improved and...

Benefit Claimants Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill (2 Dec 2016)

Conor Burns: May I say that I can think of no one I am happier to be interrupted by than my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for International Development, on one of his rare visits to the United Kingdom? Before the interruption, we were hearing from the Opposition a perception that the Government were not listening to what was being said about issues such as this. Let me point out that, in 2013,...

Benefit Claimants Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill (2 Dec 2016)

Conor Burns: I agree, and I have known the Minister for over 20 years and I know him to be one of the most moderate, reflective and compassionate people in our party. I know he will be open to ideas on how we can further improve the system to deliver the best support to those who legitimately need it most.


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