Mike Wood: It is a pleasure and privilege to take part in this debate on what could hardly be a more important subject, one literally of life and death, as has been said. I join hon. Members in congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Totnes (Dr Wollaston) on bringing the Bill to this point. Stalking is an horrific and devastating crime, which causes unthinkable suffering to its victims. It is also...
Mike Wood: I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way and for treating us to the shorter version of his speech. Does he welcome the communiqué signed by the Government and the territories, which said that the UK acknowledged “the importance of EU funding for sustainable economic development in some Overseas Territories and committed to ensuring that these interests were fully reflected in the...
Mike Wood: The Leader of the House is attending to Privy Council business in Sandringham, but the residents of Sandringham Place in Wordsley have had to put up with derelict shops falling into rack and ruin over many years. Can we have a debate in Government time on the power of local authorities to deal with derelict buildings and to bring them back into use, whether as shops, commercial or housing?
Mike Wood: I welcome my right hon. Friend’s assurances of opposition to this terrible death penalty. What assessment have the Government made of the effects of the death of Ali Abdullah Saleh on the horrific crisis in Yemen and on the chances of a positive resolution?
Mike Wood: I declare an interest as my wife volunteers at a refuge. Will my hon. Friend assure the House that Ministers have met organisations such as Women’s Aid to ensure that their views on the new funding model are properly listened to and considered?
Mike Wood: Since May, at least 21 Christians have been given long prison sentences in Iran for practising their faith. Did the Foreign Secretary raise the issue of human rights with his Iranian counterpart, particularly that of freedom of religion?
Mike Wood: Does the Minister agree that a police cell or a police station is not a suitable place for an innocent person suffering from mental health problems, and will she support initiatives such as the mental health triage projects in the West Midlands to make sure that people with mental health problems get the medical support they need when they need it?
Mike Wood: While we recognise that Britain will respect any liabilities that are properly owed, will the Prime Minister reassure my constituents that the United Kingdom will not be making payments that are not paid by countries remaining in the European Union, so that there can be no question of punishment payments?
Mike Wood: My right hon. Friend’s Department will have received a letter from west midlands mayor Andy Street on our police funding, which I hope she will consider appropriately. Will she also ensure that local police forces, including mine in the west midlands, have all the resources they need to do their important counter-terrorism work?
Mike Wood: Will the Secretary of State confirm that, in the negotiations, the Government still aim to conclude an agreement on an implementation phase as early as possible in the new year and that that agreement would similarly benefit the European Union?
Mike Wood: What assessment he has made of the effect of prisoners participating in sporting activities on improving rehabilitation rates.
Mike Wood: Team sports promote the values of hard work, accountability and team work. Does the Minister agree that these are exactly the values we should seek to instil in offenders, particularly young offenders, to cut the risk of reoffending and give them a better chance in life after release?
Mike Wood: Over the past two and a half years I have met many constituents who have been directly affected by the various changes to the state pension age. Listening to them, it is impossible not to feel every sympathy, given the circumstances in which many find themselves. If I suddenly found out that I would not be able to retire at the age I had expected, I am not sure that I could say how I...
Mike Wood: Dudley South has one of the biggest shopping centres in the country, a new enterprise zone and one of the largest secure industrial parks in Europe, but it has no railway station and on a good day it is probably half an hour from the nearest motorway junction. Infrastructure is absolutely vital, therefore, if the potential of local people and businesses is to be realised, which is why, before...
Mike Wood: My hon. Friend hits the nail on the head. This has been a great Budget for the west midlands, but not only for the west midlands; it also builds on the Government’s commitment to rebalance the economy and deliver for every part of the country and every sector of the economy. The £200 million being invested in the tramline to my constituency will have the transformative effect we...
Mike Wood: What steps the Government are taking to support women back into work when they have had time out of the workplace to look after children or other relatives.
Mike Wood: Will my right hon. Friend tell the House what measures the Government are taking to help employers to support women who have taken career breaks to care for children or other relatives?
Mike Wood: The UN has made it clear that Muslims in Rakhine state should receive a legal status that allows them to lead a normal life and, in time, be granted full nationality, with freedom of movement and access to labour markets, education and health services. Will my right hon. Friend continue to press those demands through the United Nations and directly with the Burmese authorities?
Mike Wood: May I congratulate the Foreign Secretary on the fact that 46 countries co-sponsored his UN resolution on bringing Daesh to justice, which was then unanimously supported in the Security Council? Does not this show that Britain is both leading diplomatic efforts against Daesh and rallying the international community around this important cause?
Mike Wood: Is my right hon. Friend aware that the UN appeal for Yemen raised only just over half its target? Does he agree it is now time for other countries to follow the UK’s lead by making pledges or by honouring the pledges already made?