Robert Courts: My hon. Friend is leading a fascinating debate, and I congratulate him on having secured it. He has talked about the impact of some of his local theatres. In my constituency, in west Oxfordshire, we have Chipping Norton theatre. It belies the description of a local theatre, because people come from all over the country—not just west Oxfordshire—to attend this outstanding venue. I...
Robert Courts: To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of supporting heritage aviation organisations to acquire ex-military aircraft and associated equipment for (a) flying and (b) static displays when they are disposed of by the Ministry of Defence.
Robert Courts: What assessment he has made of the potential effect of the UK remaining in the customs union on its ability to negotiate new free trade agreements throughout the world.
Robert Courts: Any policy whereby Britain leaves the European Union but remains in the customs union would mean surrendering our trade policy to a third party, and would mean that we were required to open our markets to other countries without guaranteed reciprocal access to theirs. Does my hon. Friend agree that no independent, self-respecting nation could tolerate such a position?
Robert Courts: I want to return to the definitions under clauseQ 35 for a moment. We all share the desire to extend protection to as many species as possible. You can probably hear that there is some concern from Members about the speed with which we are doing that. Would it be right to say that your overriding concern today, in the context of the Bill, is to bring forward the protection for elephants as...
Robert Courts: Q Presumably, given the amount of work that has gone into preparing the Bill for this one species, if we have to go back and add more species to the Bill, we will therefore have to undertake all of that consultation work again with other bodies, which is going to delay the Bill. That is antithetical to what you are trying to achieve here, isn’t it?
Robert Courts: Yes, clause 35(2) would clearly allow the Secretary of State to bring forward delegated legislation. Can I focus on one other thing you said? That is to include ivory from an animal or species not, for the time being, covered by that subsection. You mentioned non-ivory-bearing species. Did you mean non-elephant?
Robert Courts: Q Some of the species we have talked about extending this to are covered by the CITES appendix. Are narwhal, sperm whale, walrus and killer whale all in the appendix?
Robert Courts: Q What about hippo?
Robert Courts: Q You also mentioned hornbill, Mr Travers.
Robert Courts: Q That is in the CITES list?
Robert Courts: Q That is CITES appendix 1?
Robert Courts: Q The hornbill is covered on that, and it is an ivory species, as opposed to something like rhino with an ivory-like feature, if that makes sense.
Robert Courts: Q I am sorry, I may be being obtuse here, which is why I need your expertise. You say it is an ivory surrogate. Is it ivory in the same sense that elephant tusk is ivory?
Robert Courts: Q Are you satisfied the Bill will cover that in any event?
Robert Courts: When I attended the very moving event held in Speaker’s House and spoke to survivors, one of the most striking and moving points made was residents telling me that repeated complaints and concerns had been raised but had not been listened to or acted on. Does my right hon. Friend agree that the point in the Hackitt report where she recommends a clear line of complaint, recognition and...
Robert Courts: We must leave our rivers and oceans in a better condition for the next generation. Will my right hon. Friend continue to work with international partners to ensure that the high domestic standards that we are developing are reflected internationally?
Robert Courts: When considering a replacement for the RAF’s airborne warning and control system fleet, will the Minister commit to holding an open competition so that bids from all defence partners—from the UK as well as abroad—can be considered? Will he also consider whether Sentry and Sentinel may in future be replaced by one aircraft type?
Robert Courts: Progress on the REEMA site in Carterton has stalled for far too long. Will the Minister commit to working with me to provide the housing the RAF in west Oxfordshire so badly needs?
Robert Courts: I recently organised the first meeting between the Oxfordshire clinical commissioning group and West Oxfordshire District Council to plan for our area’s future healthcare needs. Does this not highlight the need for proper, joined-up planning between councils and health bosses in the complicated area of health and social care, and may we please have a full debate to discuss this very...