Results 1–20 of 700 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Cat Smith

Housing, Communities and Local Government: Topical Questions (20 Jul 2020)

Cat Smith: On 20 November, two days after meeting Richard Desmond at a Conservative party fundraising dinner, the Secretary of State’s office instructed departmental officials to speed through the Westferry decision before the date when the new community infrastructure levy came into force. The Secretary of State was informing his officials of that date, so it cannot have been them who told him about...

Cabinet Office: Covid-19: Regional Economic Growth (16 Jul 2020)

Cat Smith: During the pandemic, certain sectors and regions have been disproportionately hit by this economic downturn. In many cases, this is falling on the shoulders of those who are least able to carry it. In Lancashire, 82 businesses have collapsed in May alone and almost 19,000 jobs in the county have been lost during the pandemic. A failure to provide sector-specific, regionally focused support...

Parliamentary Constituencies Bill: New Clause 2 - Allocation of constituencies (14 Jul 2020)

Cat Smith: I will keep my comments brief, as I covered the Labour party’s stance in my speech on Report. I put on the record that I am disappointed that the Government rejected the new clause and amendment that would have improved the Bill. The process of requiring MPs to vote on the final report from the commission is an important safety net, without which we would have just 600 MPs today. We do not...

Parliamentary Constituencies Bill: New Clause 1 - Electorate per constituency (14 Jul 2020)

Cat Smith: I did not think it was possible to have as much fun as we had in Committee, but this afternoon has perhaps run it quite close. Of course, there is no comparison between three hours and four days. I put on record my thanks to the members of the Committee who have also made contributions to today’s debate. The Labour party supports the democratic principles of the boundary review. We...

Parliamentary Constituencies Bill: New Clause 1 - Electorate per constituency (14 Jul 2020)

Cat Smith: Quite the opposite: I am arguing that under the status quo the only blockage to the passing of a boundary review has been the Government, and they would, under this Bill, still have the power to put up the same block as they have the past two times that a boundary review has failed to go through this House. It is worth noting that if it was not for parliamentary oversight, we would have a...

Parliamentary Constituencies Bill: New Clause 1 - Electorate per constituency (14 Jul 2020)

Cat Smith: My right hon. Friend made some thoughtful and interesting contributions in Committee and continues to do so on Report. The points he raised are entirely correct. The Government would do away with Parliament’s role in the process—a role that Parliament has always had. In short, the Bill removes the power from Parliament and hands it to the Executive. The Government’s justification for...

Parliamentary Constituencies Bill: New Clause 1 - Electorate per constituency (14 Jul 2020)

Cat Smith: I thank the right hon. Lady for her intervention, but I am afraid that I quite simply disagree. This Bill takes power away from the whole of Parliament and hands it to the Executive. After all, they are the ones who can table primary legislation and choose to bring forward or not to bring forward the report for a vote. The power has been in their hands, which is why we are in the mess that we...

Parliamentary Constituencies Bill: New Clause 1 - Electorate per constituency (14 Jul 2020)

Cat Smith: My hon. Friend makes a very good point about the particular geography in the Welsh valleys where the mountains prevent communities being drawn across those mountain ranges when there are issues with the transport links.

Parliamentary Constituencies Bill: New Clause 1 - Electorate per constituency (14 Jul 2020)

Cat Smith: I would argue that the wards, which are obviously drawn by the Local Government Boundary Commission, do actually reflect communities to a great extent. If we are to go down the path of splitting wards, we will end up with the ridiculous situation, like we did at the previous review, where constituencies such as Port Talbot had a shopping centre in one constituency and the high street in...

Parliamentary Constituencies Bill: New Clause 1 - Electorate per constituency (14 Jul 2020)

Cat Smith: I think in the case of Port Talbot it was the 5% quota that meant that that decision had to be reached. When we are talking about quotas, we know that internationally a larger quota is used and promoted as best practice for securing fair representation. Indeed, the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission’s code of good practice in electoral matters recommends allowing a standard...

Parliamentary Constituencies Bill: New Clause 1 - Electorate per constituency (14 Jul 2020)

Cat Smith: My hon. Friend makes an important point about the legal standing of polling districts. Wards that are drawn up by the local government boundary commission have that independence in terms of the boundaries that they represent, whereas polling districts are for administration of elections done by local councils and, as he says, can be decided basically on their proximity to a church hall. My...

Parliamentary Constituencies Bill: New Clause 1 - Electorate per constituency (14 Jul 2020)

Cat Smith: I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Parliamentary Constituencies Bill: New Clause 1 - Electorate per constituency (14 Jul 2020)

Cat Smith: It is a pleasure to speak again on the Bill, as it gives me the opportunity to put on the record the Labour party’s support for the boundary review in time for the next general election. I would like to start by thanking all the right hon. and hon. Members who served on the Bill Committee—in particular my hon. Friend the Member for City of Chester (Christian Matheson), who regrets that...

Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review (9 Jul 2020)

Cat Smith: As chair of the all-party parliamentary group on valproate and other anti-epileptic drugs in pregnancy, I would like to put on the record my and the group’s thanks to Baroness Cumberlege for her work on this. We welcome the report. I believe that its recommendations should be implemented in full as quickly as possible, because it is 268 pages about four decades of women being let down and...

Business of the House (2 Jul 2020)

Cat Smith: As chair of the all-party parliamentary group for valproate and other anti-epileptic drugs in pregnancy, I take a huge interest in the Cumberlege review, which will be published on Wednesday. Members on both sides of the House have campaigned on sodium valproate, surgical mesh and Primodos for many years. Can the Leader of the House reassure us that, on Wednesday, we will receive an oral...

Education: Topical Questions (22 Jun 2020)

Cat Smith: My question was to the Minister for Universities, the hon. Member for Chippenham (Michelle Donelan), but in her absence perhaps I could ask the Secretary of State whether he shares my concern about the recent spate of redundancies in the sector. I have been contacted by many constituents over the past week who are being asked by their employer, Lancaster University, to donate part of their...

International Trade: Free Trade Agreements: Environmental Protection Standards (18 Jun 2020)

Cat Smith: What discussions she has had with UK trade partners on maintaining environmental protection standards in future free trade agreements.

International Trade: Free Trade Agreements: Environmental Protection Standards (18 Jun 2020)

Cat Smith: Last year’s free trade agreement between Mexico, the US and Canada ran to 250 pages but failed to mention climate change or global emissions. What assurances can the Minister give the House that the free trade agreement being negotiated by his Government between the UK and the US will not make the same mistake and will put climate change at the heart of it?

Cabinet Office: Boundary Review (11 Jun 2020)

Cat Smith: As a result of the Bill, England looks set to increase its number of constituencies at the expense of Scotland and Wales. What action are the Government taking to prevent the weakening of Scottish and Welsh voices in this place and to both strengthen and defend the Union?

Cabinet Office: Boundary Review (11 Jun 2020)

Cat Smith: It is interesting that the Minister talks about the importance of equality and ensuring that every vote counts equally when her Government is pushing a policy that could see some votes count more equally than others. In the light of the Windrush scandal, where we discovered that some communities find it harder to access proof of identification than others, in the days following the Black...


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