Martin Vickers: The patient transport service in northern Lincolnshire is contracted to Thames Ambulance Service Ltd, which is failing miserably to perform to an adequate standard. Will the Minister meet me, along with my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Goole (Andrew Percy) and other neighbouring Members, to discuss what influence the Department can bring to bear?
Martin Vickers: One reason 70% of my constituents voted to leave was their concern about the free movement of people. The Prime Minister referred to registering new arrivals from the EU. During the implementation period, will we be able to control those numbers? If that is not the case, will she be arguing that point during the negotiations?
Martin Vickers: What progress has been made on implementing the recommendations of his Department’s report, “Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families”, published in April 2017.
Martin Vickers: I thank the Minister for her reply. As she will know, working households in coastal communities such as Cleethorpes face particular difficulties. There is much low-paid work, but not much to encourage young people to stay there. What additional support can she offer to those sorts of communities?
Martin Vickers: Is the Minister aware of whether the EU Commission is assessing the economic effects on the remaining member states of not reaching a trade deal with the UK?
Martin Vickers: Last week I was pleased to welcome a delegation from Taiwan to my constituency to meet businesses in the offshore renewables sector, and the delegation regarded the way the sector has developed in the UK as a model. Will the Minister outline what support is available to small and medium-sized businesses involved in the supply chain in this country that want to extend to countries abroad?
Martin Vickers: May I intervene on that point?
Martin Vickers: I pointed out that the 1975 referendum was to deal with the running sore within the Labour party. The Labour party was split at that time, as the hon. Gentleman will know. The fact is that both parties have been divided on this issue, which is actually a reflection of the way that the country is divided on it.
Martin Vickers: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Martin Vickers: Since the referendum, we have heard repeatedly about the myth of the £350 million. “Where is the money?” is the question repeatedly asked. Does the hon. Gentleman accept that the £350 million will become available only after we leave?
Martin Vickers: Will the hon. Lady give way?
Martin Vickers: The hon. Gentleman is speaking passionately. He made the interesting, supposed revelation that the Treasury did no assessment prior to the referendum. He will accept, then, that “Project Fear” was based, as we thought at the time, on absolutely nothing other than figures plucked out of the air.
Martin Vickers: As always, it is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir David. We need to establish early in this debate that the majority of people who signed petitions for a second referendum want to change the decision of the first one. Let us not beat about the bush. All the talk of multi-options, this deal and that deal is irrelevant. What they are really after is changing it. Yes, we are a...
Martin Vickers: I recognise that the hon. Lady has held a fixed position on this and it is a perfectly honourable one. I strongly disagree with her. The fact is that people voted for independence; to use the hackneyed phrase, they wanted to “bring back control”. People are very dissatisfied. We have never been anything other than a semi-detached member of the European Union. It has been a running sore...
Martin Vickers: I entirely agree. It would be a breach of trust of the British people if we went back to them and held a second referendum. We would be saying, “Sorry, you got it wrong folks. We know better”.
Martin Vickers: The Conservatives took us into the Common Market—as it was then—but they did not do it with my blessing. In the 1975 referendum I voted to leave, so I have been pretty consistent. Unfortunately, the Labour Government took us into the then Common Market; it was Harold Wilson who tried to mend the wounds of the Labour party by holding the first referendum.
Martin Vickers: That is a matter of interpretation. The reality is that Parliament voted overwhelmingly to trigger article 50. Whatever colleagues might say now, the fact is that the vote triggered an irreversible process and was an acknowledgement of the original referendum decision.
Martin Vickers: The right hon. Gentleman might think that it is not in doubt but other opinions I have read and heard differ. Whatever the situation, Parliament would undermine the clear will of the British people if it attempted in any way to reverse that position. Suppose the Prime Minister had stood up this afternoon and, instead of saying that there will be no second referendum, as she did at 4.21 pm,...
Martin Vickers: It was made very clear by speakers on both sides of the argument—there was a little package illustrating this on “The Andrew Marr Show” yesterday—that a decision to leave would mean us leaving the single market and the customs union. I was in Brussels last month to take advantage of the opportunity to speak to MEPs, officials and so on to test the water. There is no doubt that there...
Martin Vickers: Does the Minister agree that we had a very effective legal system before we joined the EU, and we will have a very effective one for many years after we leave?