John Stevenson: Does the Secretary of State agree that the borderlands initiative is a real opportunity to ensure that digital connectivity in that area is greatly improved, which will enhance the economy of the borderlands area?
John Stevenson: Will the Minister reassure me that when it comes to negotiations with the EU, the Government will pursue a flexible policy that includes the possibility of establishing a model similar to that of Norway or Switzerland, which would undoubtedly benefit the Irish issue?
John Stevenson: I very much welcome the announcement of the borderlands growth deal, which is positive news for the border area. Can the First Secretary assure me that this initiative will receive sufficient resource to ensure its success?
John Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, whether the Government has discussed with the EU negotiating team the possibility of the UK rejoining the European Free Trade Association after the UK leaves the EU.
John Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, whether the Government has discussed with the European Free Trade Association the UK rejoining that association.
John Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many primary school teaching assistants there were in (a) 2000, (b) 2005, (c) 2010 and (d) 2015.
John Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many secondary school teaching assistants there were in (a) 2000, (b) 2005, (c) 2010 and (d) 2015.
John Stevenson: As the Minister knows, the nuclear industry is extremely important to Cumbria. Does he agree that leaving the EU has its issues, but that it is far more important to ensure that we have a nuclear sector deal as part of the industrial strategy, which will mean real investment and growth in the sector?
John Stevenson: I congratulate the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Diana Johnson) on securing this debate on an incredibly important issue, not just for our region and the whole of the north but for the whole country. It is easy to look at London and the south-east, its economic success and its levels of infrastructure investment, and simply criticise, but that would be wrong. London and the south...
John Stevenson: First, I congratulate the hon. Member for Aberavon (Stephen Kinnock) on securing this important and much needed debate. It is important because it is very relevant to our relationship with the EU. We see a lot of discussion going on in the media about the remain and leave debate, and the vote we had. In my view, that is over: the referendum decided that we should leave the EU, and that...
John Stevenson: I am going on to talk about that very issue. I fully accept that my constituency voted to leave, and I totally respect that. I also understand that many of the reasons revolved around immigration. By rejoining EFTA, we would eliminate a huge amount of the uncertainty almost immediately and we could very well turbo-charge EFTA in the future; a country of 65 million people would be coming in to...
John Stevenson: Hindsight is always a wonderful thing, but I very much sympathise with the point my hon. Friend puts forward. Continued EFTA membership does mean access to the single market. Some people have commented that we would be a rule-taker. While we are going through the transition, that is likely to be true, but one can make the argument that we are already a rule-taker, because under the EU a lot...
John Stevenson: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that if the United Kingdom became part of EFTA, that could in many respects turbocharge EFTA and make it a far more appealing organisation in respect of trade deals?
John Stevenson: Can the Secretary of State confirm that those affected directly and indirectly by the tragedy are being properly listened to? Are Ministers in regular contact both with individuals and groups?
John Stevenson: There is a lot of discussion about the farming and agricultural sector but, as the Minister will know, the Department is also responsible for food and drink manufacturing, which is the largest manufacturing sector and also a very large employer. Will he assure me that that sector will not be overlooked?
John Stevenson: As the Minister knows, nuclear is an important industry in Cumbria. As well as being a security issue, energy is an industrial issue. Can the Minister confirm that a nuclear sector deal is one of the Government’s main priorities?
John Stevenson: I would like to present a petition on behalf of the residents of Warwick Road, Carlisle. Only a few houses are directly affected, but more than 5,000 people have supported the petition on behalf of the residents at the top end of Warwick Road. The petition states: The petition of residents of Warwick Road, Carlisle, Declares that they are against proposals from Cumbria County Council to...
John Stevenson: Our attention is currently on those countries affected by the hurricane, and it is right that the Government’s focus should be on them. However, back in 2015, Storm Desmond initially had a great impact on America before subsequently having a huge impact on this country, particularly affecting the lives of many people in Carlisle and Cumbria. Will the Minister confirm that, although his...
John Stevenson: The growth in the spirits market, particularly gin, whisky and other spirits, both here and in exports, is important to our economy. Indeed, there is a Lakes distillery now in Cumbria. Will the Leader of the House agree to a debate on the importance of this sector and of reaching a sector deal, and does she agree that such a deal must be UK-wide, not limited to any particular part of the country?
John Stevenson: What steps his Department is taking to ensure a flexible approach in the Government’s negotiations on the UK leaving the EU.