Chris Heaton-Harris: It is a huge pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, as ever, Sir Roger. Actually, I think this is the first time I have served under your chairmanship as a Minister. I hope I do not somehow incur the wrath that the hon. Member for Bath (Wera Hobhouse) faced. I will stay completely in order throughout the debate. I thank the hon. Member for Cambridge (Daniel Zeichner) for opening the...
Chris Heaton-Harris: We have made significant progress in negotiations and are confident that we will secure a deal with the European Union. However, as a responsible Government, we are continuing to prepare for all possible outcomes.
Chris Heaton-Harris: Departments’ plans are well developed and designed to respond to all scenarios, including the unlikely possibility that we leave the EU without a deal. Some contingency plans have already become evident and more will become public over the coming weeks.
Chris Heaton-Harris: Clacton, Mr Speaker, is never overlooked by its Member of Parliament. The Government are engaging with businesses and other stakeholders in every region of the United Kingdom in order to understand the challenges and opportunities that may have an impact on them. Later this year we will consult on the new UK shared prosperity fund, which will give us an opportunity to consider carefully how...
Chris Heaton-Harris: Obviously we would much rather have a very good deal with the European Union than not, and most of the work in my Department is focused on that, but we must prepare for every scenario. As for the gentleman whom the hon. Gentleman quoted, let me finish that quotation by saying that the financial consequences for the EU would be far greater.
Chris Heaton-Harris: I thank my hon. Friend for his question, and for leaving me an unbelievable quantity of reading to do because of the diligent way in which, as he rightly says, he prepared for every scenario.
Chris Heaton-Harris: I had not heard about that particular report, so I cannot comment on it. What I can say is that, in preparing for no deal, we have already recruited 300 extra staff to police our borders, and we have an ongoing programme to recruit a whole load more.
Chris Heaton-Harris: I am afraid that I do not recognise the basis for the hon. Gentleman’s question—I do not believe that in the slightest. I can only point out to him that a group of people called the “cybernats” were not particularly pleasant in the run-up to the Scottish referendum.
Chris Heaton-Harris: As my—right hon. Friend? [Interruption.] It is only a matter of time; everything comes to those who wait. As my hon. Friend knows, because she chairs the Liaison Committee, the Prime Minister said yesterday that a whole bunch of technical notices would be produced for exactly that purpose.
Chris Heaton-Harris: The Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, my hon. Friend the Member for Worcester (Mr Walker), has already met representatives from Holyhead. I look forward to travelling around the country, visiting such places and listening to what people have to say.
Chris Heaton-Harris: We are committed to securing a deal that works for the entire UK, including Scotland. We approach the negotiations anticipating success and neither want nor expect a no deal outcome. The Government are undertaking a wide range of ongoing analysis across a range of scenarios in support of our EU exit negotiations and preparations.
Chris Heaton-Harris: I thank the hon. Gentleman for welcoming me to my new role. If the Labour party had supported us, no deal would have been far away and a deal would have been on the table.
Chris Heaton-Harris: I thank the hon. Lady for her question. She comes from a wonderful city that I used to live in and which voted heavily for leave. People there will therefore be surprised that she is trying to undermine that referendum result. However, I can tell her that there is no intention on this side to undermine any of those workers’ rights.
Chris Heaton-Harris: I can confirm that I will build on the amazing quantity of diligent work that my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe (Mr Baker) has put in place. I only wish he was still on the Front Bench to finish it off.
Chris Heaton-Harris: indicated assent. The House forthwith resolved itself into the Legislative Grand Committee (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) ( Standing Order No. 83M).
Chris Heaton-Harris: Shame.
Chris Heaton-Harris: It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hollobone. The reason why the two Ministers responsible for this matter are not standing here is that one is on paternity leave after the birth of his second son, Aubrey Valentine Hamilton, and the other is on a ministerial visit outside London. I spoke to the hon. Member for Newport West (Paul Flynn) last week to express their sorrow...
Chris Heaton-Harris: I happily took the hon. Gentleman’s intervention, but he has intervened on me with 10 minutes to go in my prepared speech, and I have plenty to tell him about all that if he will please wait for that particular passage. I emphasise that this is behind-the-scenes work because it is so crucial, and by doing it we address a lot of problems before the issues might arise. The hon. Gentleman...
Chris Heaton-Harris: There has been absolutely no suggestion of any breach of the ministerial code in that particular case. There have been a number of investigations, including one by the Select Committee on Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs, of which the hon. Gentleman is a member, and one by the Public Accounts Committee. The latter recommended a number of outcomes and lessons to be learned,...
Chris Heaton-Harris: The hon. Gentleman has gone on a bit about how the standing of politics and how this place is viewed by the public has gone down. Those who look at his Twitter feed will see that he does not particularly like his voters and how they voted on Brexit. Maybe that is a disparity that he would like to examine slightly more closely than this issue. I hope my remarks today have made it clear how the...