Jeff Smith: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for calling me to make my maiden speech. It is a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol South (Karin Smyth), who made an excellent speech. Many Members in all parts of the Chamber have made excellent maiden speeches today and raised the bar very high. I begin by paying tribute to my predecessor, John Leech. John and I have had many political...
Jeff Smith: What steps he is taking to alleviate road congestion.
Jeff Smith: Wilmslow road, which runs through my constituency, is one of the most congested roads in the area, as a result of the large numbers of unregulated buses that pass down it. When does the Secretary of State expect progress to be made to allow the London-style bus franchising powers that Manchester needs?
Jeff Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment she has made of whether schools and students are adequately prepared for forthcoming changes to A-levels.
Jeff Smith: Will the Secretary of State tell me what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport to ensure that business and growth do not suffer as a result of the delay to the electrification of the trans- Pennine line?
Jeff Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of jobs in the economy which are low-skilled.
Jeff Smith: If the Prime Minister really is committed to the northern powerhouse, he will know that an essential element of that is improved transport connectivity between the key cities of Manchester and Leeds, and that is now under threat. Given the vague and evasive answer that he gave earlier, will he now join me in welcoming the Manchester Evening News campaign to get the electrification of the...
Jeff Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to address the root causes of attempted migration to Europe across the Mediterranean.
Jeff Smith: What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of EU sanctions on the Russian Federation.
Jeff Smith: The BRIC countries—Brazil, Russia, India and China—announced at the summit last week that they will not join in imposing sanctions on Russia. How much of a blow does the Minister consider that to be, and what diplomatic efforts will the UK Government make, if any, to remedy the situation?
Jeff Smith: What assessment he has made of the potential effect of the cessation of work on the electrification of the trans-Pennine route and the midland main line on the northern powerhouse initiative.
Jeff Smith: In February, the Secretary of State wrote: “A transformation in transport connectivity between the cities of the north is vital to realising their potential to become a ‘northern powerhouse’ for the UK’s economy.”—[ Official Report, 27 February 2015; Vol. 593, c. 33WS.] Now that the project has been postponed indefinitely, will he tell the House how we can build a northern house...
Jeff Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking (a) to ensure that children who have migrated across the Mediterranean are adequately protected when they arrive in Europe and (b) in relocating highly vulnerable, unaccompanied children to the UK.
Jeff Smith: Thank you, Mr Hollobone, for the opportunity to take part in today’s debate. It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship for the first time. I echo other hon. Members’ congratulations to my hon. Friend the Member for Wythenshawe and Sale East (Mike Kane) on securing the debate. I will be brief because I do not want to repeat other hon. Members’ comments about Healthier Together,...