Iain Stewart: May I urge my hon. Friend to look at the evidence received by the Select Committee on Transport? We heard that the new bi-mode class 800 trains will run to the same timetable, whether they operate on diesel power or on electric, so there will be no loss of service by not having the lines electrified.
Iain Stewart: My right hon. Friend has rightly mentioned that many of the UK’s exports are very high value and specialised and that many of the supplies go to the United States military. Does he have an opinion at this stage whether the product exemption or the country exemption route offers the best hope for gaining an advantage for the United Kingdom?
Iain Stewart: It is wonderful that so many new technologically superior trains are being introduced on Britain’s railways, but many passengers are complaining that some of them have cramped and uncomfortable seats. We do not want to have Ryanair on the tracks. Will the Minister do all he can to ensure that the specifications for those new trains have passenger comfort at their heart?
Iain Stewart: May I start by thanking you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for your kindness in allowing me not to wear my jacket while I nurse my broken arm? I must confess that it is a transport-related injury. I tripped and fell while running to catch a tram, which is rather embarrassing given that I chair the all-party parliamentary light rail group. In the short time available, I will make some general points...
Iain Stewart: Revenues go up and down; it is very difficult to forward-plan the income from a railway. The Virgin Trains East Coast situation is not a problem of a line losing money or failing on passenger satisfaction. It is making money—just not as much as was forecast. That is one of the reforms of the franchising system that I wish to see. Look at Network Rail—a public body. It has problems...
Iain Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, which prisons provide prisoners with their possessions in a holdall on release.
Iain Stewart: The west coast main line is a vital railway service for my constituency. Virgin has indeed transformed that service over the duration of its franchise. Will my right hon. Friend say a little bit more about the duration of this direct award? What additional features can my constituents expect during that time?
Iain Stewart: I warmly welcome my hon. Friend to the Dispatch Box. May I urge him, in looking at the administrative changes to universal credit, not to lose sight of the overarching goal, which is to have a simpler welfare system that actually encourages people into work—a far cry from the old system that it is replacing?
Iain Stewart: To secure our future prosperity and to meet the employment challenge posed by artificial intelligence, this country has an urgent need to improve its digital skills base. Will my right hon. Friend therefore congratulate the Open University in my constituency on securing a leading role in the Government’s Institute of Coding?
Iain Stewart: The hon. Lady refers to TTIP and new trade deals; I am sorry for pressing this point, but they are not the point of this Bill. I agree with her on all the standards that she wishes to see in place, and I do not want Britain to race to the bottom, but that is not the point of the Bill; it is for future Bills. Please could we stick to the roll-over agreements that we are talking about in this Bill?
Iain Stewart: It is not.
Iain Stewart: It has been a pleasure to serve on the Bill Committee and the predecessor Bill Committee and I agree with the comments made: this is an exemplar of how Committees should work. I thank the shadow Front-Bench team and all my colleagues on the Committee for what was a very constructive session. As we prepare to send the Bill to the other place, I would like to say that the Government approach on...
Iain Stewart: I absolutely agree that we need to look at the technology for charging buses and other vehicles en route. May I invite the hon. Gentleman to look at the pilot scheme that has been running in Milton Keynes with an induction charging system for a bus route that is wholly electric? That could represent the technology for recharging, rather than expensive overhead line equipment.
Iain Stewart: I am happy to support Government new clause 1 and the consequential amendments. I rise to make one point only on a matter that was discussed in Committee, particularly when we took evidence from witnesses before line-by-line consideration commenced. It follows on from the point the shadow Minister, the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull East (Karl Turner), made about the need for the...
Iain Stewart: Figures out today show a worrying rise in the number of hate crimes being committed in schools. Does that not underline the vital role that organisations such as the Holocaust Educational Trust have to play in stamping out these abhorrent attitudes?
Iain Stewart: Before I ask my question, can I just point out an important error in some of the official documents? Whisky is spelled with an “e” on some of the documents, and that is a very different product from Scotch whisky. On Burns night, I thought it was appropriate to point that out.
Iain Stewart: Q I would like to get a sense from the witnesses of what the impact would be on the food and drinks sector, particularly in Scotland, if this Bill did not happen and we left the EU without the carry-over of the existing EU free trade agreements. Have you quantified the value of transferring over what we already have into our domestic legislation?
Iain Stewart: Primary school pupils at Oxley Park Academy in my constituency have launched a campaign to replace plastic straws with environmentally friendly alternatives. Will the Secretary of State commend their initiative and, if I send him the details, will he take on board their suggestions?
Iain Stewart: Q I would like to put to the panel the same question I asked the previous panel about part 3 of the Bill, which relates to trade information and the collection of exporter information by HMRC in particular. Are you content with the content of the Bill in this part? Is there anything missing or do you foresee any practical difficulties in HMRC collating this information?
Iain Stewart: I would like to ask Professor Winters a question about part 3 of the Bill, which concerns trade information. Would you agree that the information that this Bill enables will help the Government to shape their export support programme? Are there any additional powers that you would like to see this part of the Bill containQ ?