Bim Afolami: What steps his Department is taking to respond to rail passenger concerns on the introduction of the new timetable for peak-time services in Hitchin and Harpenden.
Bim Afolami: On Monday, the first day of the timetable for commuters, 24% of Hitchin’s services were cancelled and more than 50% were delayed. Please will the Minister reassure me and my constituents that the Department will do everything it can to force Govia Thameslink to improve its performance drastically or be stripped of its franchise?
Bim Afolami: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether improvements to infrastructure and the capacity for East Midlands Trains will be completed in 2020; and what steps his Department is taking to prevent delays to services serving stations along that route post-2020.
Bim Afolami: I am aware that many others wish to speak, so I will be brief. Those who are still left in the Public Gallery have seen today the best of Parliament. This is the complete opposite of yah-boo politics. There has been cross-party discussion about a Bill that generally appears to have cross-party support. We should welcome that and welcome the exchange of ideas and views. That does not always...
Bim Afolami: On election manifestos, does the Minister not agree that this Bill is fulfilling a Conservative manifesto promise and that that should be welcomed by Members on both sides of the House?
Bim Afolami: The Minister will have heard from all parts of the House the shock at these revelations. Bearing that in mind, will she confirm that there have been substantial changes to the practices at Brook House since these revelations have come to light and set out what oversight the Government will have over G4S during the contract extension period?
Bim Afolami: Will the Minister explain how and when the community pharmacy sector will gain access to the pharmacy integration fund? Millions have been promised. When will it be delivered?
Bim Afolami: Will the hon. and learned Lady give way?
Bim Afolami: The hon. and learned Lady said that there was a tendency by Conservative Members to blame the problems of the NHS or housing on immigrants. Will she please set out precisely to which speech of which person on this side of the House she is referring?
Bim Afolami: I draw the House’s attention to the fact that, in the dark days before I came to this House, I spent several years in the City advising on mergers and acquisitions, and Melrose was one of the companies that I advised several times. Bearing that in mind, while there is of course a narrow range of scenarios in which the Government can intervene on a quasi-judicial basis, as the Secretary...
Bim Afolami: I thank the Minister for coming to the House to discuss this issue, and for meeting me to discuss it previously. I also thank the Secretary of State for the numerous conversations about it that we have had in recent weeks. I have been forced to initiate this debate to ensure that Harpenden commuters get the good service that they deserve and pay good money for, rather than facing years of...
Bim Afolami: The hon. Gentleman is well informed on these issues, and is generally well informed when he speaks in the House. The focus of my remarks is Harpenden, but I agree that this affects many colleagues on both sides of the House, and I urge the Minister to bear all these specific concerns in mind. It is a term of the franchise agreement between Thameslink and the Department for Transport that if...
Bim Afolami: I beg to move, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make provision about substance testing in prisons and similar institutions. Drugs in our prisons are a major problem, which we need to do more to tackle. A recent review by Her Majesty’s inspectorate of prisons in 2015 showed that 52% of prisoners had used drugs in the two months before they went to prison. A survey from 2016-17...
Bim Afolami: Does the Secretary of State agree that working with private sector partners on the west coast main line has delivered huge improvements to reliability and customer service? Will he reassure my constituents that any operational changes that have been outlined or envisaged today will not have a negative impact on their service?
Bim Afolami: What plans the Government have to strengthen links with the OECD after the UK leaves the EU.
Bim Afolami: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I shall take this back to the Stockbrokers Arms in Harpenden this evening. Will the Minister expand further on what the Government have been doing within the OECD to build up bilateral relationships within that multilateral organisation, to prove that this country is still at the forefront of international institutions?
Bim Afolami: In terms of the Commonwealth, will the Minister explain further how Global Britain will lead to furthering economic ties with our Commonwealth friends, and not just diplomatic ones?
Bim Afolami: I want to take the hon. Gentleman up on his point about personal debt levels. Does he agree that it is because this Government’s fiscal management has been so sensible—and recognised as such by the international markets—that interest rates have been kept low? This means that personal debt repayments are now lower on average than they were when the Labour party left office.