Alison McGovern: The Minister said earlier that the Government were standing by to help. She is correct: her predecessors in the job certainly stood by. When we asked for help with business rates and when colleagues across the House asked for help with energy costs, they stood by. For the good of all my constituents who work in the supply chain and directly for Vauxhall, will the Minister do a little better...
Alison McGovern: The Prime Minister’s statement has been confusing. Can I get to the heart of that confusion? She says she wants the benefits of exactly the same terms of trade with the EU as we have now, for which we need regulatory equivalence. She also says we want the benefits of not being bound by EU rules in perpetuity, for which we need regulatory divergence. It is a simple matter of logic that...
Alison McGovern: The Secretary of State is repeating words that the Tories have used to excuse their cuts for years but that have not dealt with the deficit, which is still with us. My constituents do not care about that; they care about Eastham walk-in centre, which is closed because of staff shortages. Will he answer this simple question? When will Eastham walk-in centre reopen?
Alison McGovern: rose—
Alison McGovern: I thank my hon. Friend for giving way, but I thank him even more for coming to Eastham in my constituency, where our precious walk-in centre is closing owing to staff shortages at our A&E, which is in crisis. The Tories says that we are talking down the NHS and lowering morale, but does he agree that it is not words that matter but action, and that is why we need action on pay?
Alison McGovern: It is almost comical; we would not even have a minimum wage if it were not for Labour Members. The Minister spoke about the Government’s industrial strategy, which she thinks will help to give people a pay rise, but that strategy is absolutely at odds with the current Brexit strategy. Will the Department have a word with the rest of the Government and commit to keeping our country in...
Alison McGovern: The Secretary of State made great play of the claim that the Bill was necessary for certainty. Given the legal situation that my right hon. and learned Friend has just excellently elucidated, does he agree that the powers that the Bill gives Secretaries of State to regulate every aspect of our lives mean that it is a charter for uncertainty for ordinary British people?
Alison McGovern: Will the Secretary of State give way?
Alison McGovern: Is it not clear from the contributions of my hon. Friends and from the experience of Busy Bees, a nursery chain that provides a service in Bromborough in my constituency, that these low rates for childcare mean that the market is now fundamentally broken? What will the Minister do if we find, after years of this Tory Government, that they have reintroduced the scourge of low pay into childcare?
Alison McGovern: Further to the questions asked by my hon. Friends the Members for Wakefield (Mary Creagh) and for Lewisham East (Heidi Alexander), will the Chancellor confirm, as he failed to do before, that the cost to us of Brexit will be as described by my hon. Friends some moments ago?
Alison McGovern: May I offer to help the Secretary of State to find efficiencies in the budget? No school on its own can take on the unfair and exponentially rising private finance initiative costs, but the Department could lead a challenge to this. Will she help schools in my constituency to do that?
Alison McGovern: I thank the Minister for the northern powerhouse, the hon. Member for Rossendale and Darwen (Jake Berry), for visiting New Ferry in my constituency, where the House will remember there was recently a terrible explosion. As a result of that meeting, the leader of the council in Wirral, Phil Davies, has written to the Minister. May I ask him to expedite a reply to that letter?
Alison McGovern: Further to the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Barrow and Furness (John Woodcock), before the Foreign Secretary meets the all-party friends of Syria group, will he discuss a comprehensive strategy to protect civilians with the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence so that we can have a proper joined-up strategy at last?
Alison McGovern: On Syria and the loss of civilian life, specifically as it relates to US operations against Daesh in Raqqa, it appears that the rules of engagement have changed. Has the Prime Minister, or any of her Ministers, raised that with the United States of America?
Alison McGovern: The Prime Minister herself commissioned Bishop James Jones to report on the experience of the Hillsborough families. Given the painful evidence before us that parts of the state still do not know how to treat bereaved families or the survivors of catastrophe, will she now give me the date when she will publish Bishop Jones’s report?
Alison McGovern: I will be brief, but before I make my very short points, I want to pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow (Stella Creasy). She was appropriately named by her parents—she is a star. I want to make two points about how the Queen’s Speech relates to the economy. First, we have significant challenges ahead, particularly in relation to productivity, so on that I...
Alison McGovern: With all due respect to my right hon. Friend the shadow Chancellor, does the Chancellor think it is more likely that the trouble we have in the British economy is due to the shadow Chancellor’s words or to the mess the Conservative party has made so far of the Brexit negotiations?
Alison McGovern: In response to the intervention from the hon. Member for Solihull (Julian Knight), does the shadow Chancellor think that the Tory Brexit mess has been good for confidence in the UK economy, or less good for confidence in the UK economy?
Alison McGovern: Like me, the Minister is passionate about helping young women to participate in sport. As part of her work, will she do something entirely cost free and tell headteachers to stop making young women wear ridiculous school uniforms for school sports? Let them wear something comfortable, and they will want to do sports.
Alison McGovern: The Prime Minister, in concluding her statement, said that we should “resolve never to forget these people”. I would like to ask her who she thinks forgot these people. Was it the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer, who defunded local authorities, including my own, which is still struggling with the consequences of the New Ferry explosion? Was it former Ministers who ignored...