Stephen Timms: rose—
Stephen Timms: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and many congratulations to you. The Committee Chair reminds us that if the Prime Minister is unable to respond within 10 days he is required to provide an explanation for that failure. He has not provided an explanation, which, we understand, is unprecedented. Why has the Prime Minister not complied with the requirement placed upon him?
Stephen Timms: The level playing field clause would not constrain any improvement in workers’ rights, but it would limit and stop the reduction of workers’ rights, so why did the Prime Minister want that clause to be removed from the legally binding withdrawal agreement?
Stephen Timms: Will the Secretary of State straightforwardly confirm that the deadline set out in her party’s 2017 manifesto will not now be achieved? Competition between mobile providers has been very fruitful for consumers over the past 20 years, particularly in reducing call charges. How will Ministers make sure that future fruitful competition will not be blunted by this collaboration?
Stephen Timms: rose—
Stephen Timms: I just want to emphasise the need for scrutiny. In an earlier intervention, the right hon. Gentleman said that this Bill is repealing the European Communities Act 1972. In fact, in clause 1, it reimposes it. Surely that should be scrutinised properly by the House.
Stephen Timms: I am grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend for focusing attention on manufacturing. Is it his assessment that this deal would lead to new rules of origin checks and other red tape on UK manufacturers exporting to the EU?
Stephen Timms: Does the Prime Minister understand the worries of manufacturers about new rules of origin checks and other red tape that his deal would impose on them, and the fears of Make UK that reassurances in the deal negotiated by his predecessor have been dropped from his deal?
Stephen Timms: Ministers recognise that the key to the level of chaos at Dover after a no-deal Brexit is the number of non-compliant trucks arriving without customs documents. In June, HMRC estimated that number to be at least 20%, or 2,000 a day. What is HMRC’s current estimate?
Stephen Timms: What has become of the Tory party? If the Minister really believes that a £15 billion additional burden on business is acceptable, can he tell us how large a burden would be unacceptable?
Stephen Timms: Child poverty is being driven up by the five-week delay during which people have to wait before they receive universal credit. Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that what Ministers refer to as an advance is in fact a loan that has to be repaid by claimants, and will he commit to scrapping the five-week delay?
Stephen Timms: In the referendum, the right hon. Gentleman held out the prospect of frictionless trade with the European Union. I think he has acknowledged that, whatever else one says about the proposals, they would not result in frictionless trade. For what reasons has it not been possible to deliver what was promised?
Stephen Timms: I congratulate the hon. Member for Glenrothes (Peter Grant) on securing the debate. I would like to say a little more about the case I referred to in an earlier intervention. By the time of the letter I wrote on behalf of my constituent, Mrs A, on 30 September 1999, the father, Mr A, had been assessed as being due to pay just over £100 per week towards child maintenance. He never paid. He...
Stephen Timms: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Stephen Timms: I was looking through my records this afternoon, and I saw that I wrote to the Child Support Agency on behalf of one of my constituents on 30 September 1999. She finally received a first, partial payment on 1 August 2018. It took 19 years. Is the hon. Gentleman as unsurprised as I am that people, as he says, just give up?
Stephen Timms: I think that the Minister is seeking to assure us that there will not be any customs posts, checks or controls anywhere at or near the border.
Stephen Timms: But the Prime Minister has said this morning that Irish customs checks will be the reality after Brexit. So where will the checks envisaged by the Prime Minister take place?
Stephen Timms: In June, HMRC said that at least 20% of the 10,000 trucks reaching Dover on day one of a no-deal Brexit will not comply with French customs, leading to very long delays and causing shortages of fresh food and medicines. How many non-compliant trucks does HMRC currently project at Dover on day one?
Stephen Timms: As the Minister knows, the Freight Transport Association says that long delays at Dover are inevitable after a no deal because hundreds of non-compliant trucks will continue to arrive. Those trucks will have lengthy inspections in a lorry park in Calais that has only 300 spaces. When the lorry park is full, the ferries will stop. On what grounds does he reject that assessment?
Stephen Timms: We are in the grip of a major housing crisis. You will not remember, Madam Deputy Speaker, but I can just remember “Cathy Come Home”, and the determination of our predecessors in the 1960s—this picks up on some of the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham and Morden (Siobhain McDonagh) in her excellent opening speech—that the lives of families should not be destroyed...