Vicky Ford: I have a quick question about financial services legislation and deficiencies. I want to get it clear in my head, as a non-lawyer, that deficiencies would not cover material policy changes. For example, European banks, including British banks, currently do not have to hold any capital against sovereign debt issued by EU member states. Changing that could be considered to be dealing with a...
Vicky Ford: Will my hon. Friend give way?
Vicky Ford: May I ask my hon. Friend to give way on this point?
Vicky Ford: May I make a very brief observation about the sifting committee and the expertise? In my experience, the scrutiny of detailed European legislation is sometimes best performed by people with expertise in it. That is why the House of Lords EU Committee has sub-committees on financial affairs, external affairs, energy and environment, justice, home affairs and so forth. Would my hon. Friend at...
Vicky Ford: On quality of the committee and the scrutiny process, the committee will be scrutinising changes to detailed pieces of European legislation. In my experience, in other countries’ Parliaments, an expert committee often does the scrutiny. So financial experts would consider a piece of finance legislation; environmental legislation would be considered by environment experts; and a judicial...
Vicky Ford: My hon. Friend has made excellent points about share ownership, but I want to bring him back to property ownership. Does he agree that reducing stamp duty for first-time buyers will make it so much easier for people to get on the property ladder—it is worth more than £3,000 for the average first-time buyer in my constituency?
Vicky Ford: Looking back in history, the Conservative-led Government introduced the bank levy in 2011, but Labour voted against it. In 2015, we introduced the 8% surcharge so that banks would pay more. Again, the Conservatives voted for that, but Labour voted against it. Why is the hon. Gentleman now rewriting history?
Vicky Ford: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Vicky Ford: Does my right hon. Friend agree that since the bank levy was introduced, the risk of bank failure has decreased dramatically due to new capital requirements on banks, and the considerably reduced risk that British taxpayers will have to fund cross-border bail-outs, given that we have international agreements on such matters?
Vicky Ford: I congratulate the Prime Minister on a very detailed agreement. Paragraph 73 says that the UK “may wish to participate in some Union budgetary programmes…post-2020” as a third country. Is it likely that those programmes could include co-operation on the three S’s—security, scientific research and student exchanges?
Vicky Ford: What steps the Church of England is taking to support religious communities in Egypt as a result of the recent attacks against Coptic and Islamic communities in that country.
Vicky Ford: What steps is the Church taking to highlight the importance of a cross-Department approach to tackling the persecution of religious minorities, especially Christians abroad, not simply because that is the right thing to do, but because it is important for our security at home?
Vicky Ford: rose—
Vicky Ford: indicated assent.
Vicky Ford: Today, GlaxoSmithKline joined Merck, AstraZeneca and many other companies and charities investing in British bioscience genetics. Does my right hon. Friend agree that this investment in science and research underpins not only jobs but a revolution in medical treatment, which will save lives and give hope to many patients for new treatments?