Angela Eagle: rose—
Angela Eagle: I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for giving way. Does he agree that the unprecedented nature of the meaningful vote that this House will have in the event of a withdrawal agreement being made makes it imperative for those of us who have to make that decision to have access to the Attorney General’s best view and his legal advice as to what the implications of that decision are?
Angela Eagle: Will the Minister give way?
Angela Eagle: Thank you for calling me to speak, Mr Hollobone. I would like to add to the congratulations to my sister, my hon. Friend the Member for Garston and Halewood (Maria Eagle), on securing this debate at such an important time. As she has pointed out, local authorities in general have seen a cut of nearly 50% to their budgets, but local authorities in Merseyside have suffered even greater cuts....
Angela Eagle: Does my hon. Friend recognise the experience in Wirral with the roll-out of universal credit? That has led to a need for 30 extra tonnes of food and created a 32% increase in the use of food banks because of the hardship that it has caused.
Angela Eagle: Does my right hon. Friend agree that the cuts to education that have left 22 out of 26 Wallasey schools facing cuts and that have seen £3 million cut from their budgets, while teachers are earning £4,000 a year less and having to do more, are an absolute disgrace, and that that demonstrates that this Government give no priority whatsoever to the future of our children?
Angela Eagle: We have an unusual Halloween Budget. Rarely have our country’s prospects been so fragile and in the balance. Rarely has any Budget come at a time of such domestic political uncertainty, with a weak and faltering Prime Minister who cannot even command her own Cabinet. Rarely has a Budget come at a time of such radical economic uncertainty, caused by the Conservative party’s flailing...
Angela Eagle: I think that the Minister has gone through the looking-glass and left his dictionary behind. He seems to think that “meaningful” actually means “meaningless”, and he seems to think, in his topsy-turvy world, that it is possible to amend motions after voting on them. Why does he not get a grip, get back to the real world, and give this Parliament the meaningful vote that his Government...
Angela Eagle: I am more than happy to make an intervention, although I am rather sorry I gave way to the hon. Gentleman during my speech. What I see in my constituency is a benefits system—universal credit—in serious trouble and causing serious hardship, and listening to Conservative Members pretending nothing is wrong is not a good use of time.
Angela Eagle: Universal credit is causing undeniable and massive hardship in my constituency. I see it in my advice surgery, and we see it in the 34% increase in food bank usage in the Wirral since the full roll-out of universal credit. When we talked to the Trussell Trust, which provides the 15 food banks in the Wirral, it said that half of all the usage of food banks in the area is a direct result of the...
Angela Eagle: I am tempted to say the Secretary of State, who has just left the Chamber and so is not listening to the rest of the debate. There is enormous complacency already evident in this debate on the Conservative Benches, perhaps because they do not have people in tears in their advice surgeries trying to get by with absolutely no money and no prospect of getting any. The National Audit Office...
Angela Eagle: Does the hon. Gentleman share my puzzlement at the experience of those of us in our constituencies where we have had universal credit rolled out and we have seen increases in food bank usage—in my own area, of 34%, which is 30 tonnes of extra food—and does he share my worry that the Government do not seem to understand that this demonstrates there is a real problem with this benefit?
Angela Eagle: Will my hon. Friend give way?
Angela Eagle: Universal credit rolled out in Wirral at the beginning of the year, and in the first six months of this year there was a 34% increase in food bank use in the Wirral area. That is more than 30 tonnes of extra food needed, and the people who work in the food bank tell me that that is a direct result of the universal credit roll-out. If everything is so wonderful, why is this happening and why...
Angela Eagle: The DUP, which has sustained the Prime Minister in office, has made it clear that it thinks no deal is almost inevitable. What does she think?
Angela Eagle: Surely the Government should step out of their complacent attitude to regulation and strengthen enforcement, too. Instead of seeing regulation as something to be avoided and red tape as a dirty word, surely it is about time the Minister and his Department stepped up to the plate and did the things that need to be done to protect the consumer.
Angela Eagle: When?
Angela Eagle: I feel slightly sorry for the Minister, because she has been sent to defend the indefensible. Given her complacent demeanour today and her complete lack of acknowledgement about how serious this issue is, can she tell us quite how big a scandal would have to be before she actually reacted to it appropriately?
Angela Eagle: The American President seems to prefer unilateral action to multilateral action. He seems to want to be protectionist and inward-looking—to put America first, as he says—rather than to engage multilaterally. What implications does the Prime Minister think that approach has for the NATO alliance?
Angela Eagle: The White Paper says very little about the service industry, particularly financial services, except that we want to retain our access to integrated markets while not really sticking to the rules. Is that not more like having your cake and eating it, and is it not highly unlikely that the EU will ever agree to such an approach?