Jeff Smith: The President of the EU Council has said that we should expect a concrete proposal in February. Given the timescale involved, can the Attorney General tell us what legal form the renegotiation of the deal will take?
Jeff Smith: What discussions she has had with her ministerial colleagues on the effect of the increase in the state pension age on women.
Jeff Smith: That is correct. Last week’s Back-Bench business debate resulted in a unanimous decision, with Members on both sides of the House calling on the Government to correct the unfairness in the rules. Is it not time for the Government to lay down a strategy for introducing transitional arrangements to help the women most affected by these rules?
Jeff Smith: As a children’s home visitor until my election here in May, I am very aware that, as my hon. Friend says, care homes are not the best environments for vulnerable young people, who often have mental health issues, to grow up in. I am sure she agrees that the best approach is to intervene before families go into crisis. Does she agree that unfair cuts to the most deprived local authorities,...
Jeff Smith: What steps her Department is taking to meet EU recycling targets.
Jeff Smith: It looks as though we are going to miss our household recycling targets, and there is a question mark over the municipal recycling target as well. Is it not time for a proper waste strategy for this country to enable us to meet our requirements?
Jeff Smith: I want to make some brief remarks in support of the motion and, just as importantly, to welcome the opportunity to talk about this issue. I do so as someone who, like many Members of this House, and many millions of people across the country, has had my life affected by mental ill health. I grew up in a home where a very close family member suffered from severe depression and had a number of...
Jeff Smith: That is a very important issue, and I thank the hon. Gentleman for bringing forward his private Member’s Bill. A person recently came to my surgery who had some very difficult personal circumstances that left them unable to work due to mental health issues. They were told by an official at the jobcentre that in order to maintain their benefits they were required to take part in telephone...
Jeff Smith: What discussions he has had with his ministerial colleagues on developing proposals for reform of the Human Rights Act 1998.
Jeff Smith: Does the Attorney General agree with his predecessor, the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve), who said that the European convention on human rights is “the single most important legal and political instrument for promoting human rights on our planet”?
Jeff Smith: What progress her Department has made on the resettlement of Syrian refugees.
Jeff Smith: My city of Manchester is very willing to take its fair and equitable share of refugees, but has not had a fair share of local government funding cuts in recent years. In the light of that, will the Home Secretary commit to funding the resettlement scheme fully, and extend local authority funding to support refugees beyond one year to a minimum of three years?
Jeff Smith: If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities.
Jeff Smith: May I endorse those comments? The Home Secretary referred earlier to the double lock process in the Investigatory Powers Bill, but the wording of the Bill appears not to deliver that safeguard. Will judges review the process undertaken by the Home Secretary, in the same way as applies in a judicial review, or the evidence itself?
Jeff Smith: Opposition Members recognise that the Tories have an ideological ambition to shrink the state. Attacks on the public sector have meant cuts in the workforce in almost all the areas where we try to serve our constituents, but I would never have thought that this Government’s ideological cuts would threaten to deliver the end of neighbourhood policing as we know it. That is potentially what...
Jeff Smith: Absolutely. We would all want to see front-line officers protected. They are the boots on the ground and the voices that connect with our communities.
Jeff Smith: If the hon. Gentleman does not mind, I am more interested in Greater Manchester and my own constituency, though I have nothing against Scotland. The Home Office is asking for modelling of cuts at 25% and 40%. I asked the Greater Manchester police and crime commissioner what that would mean for Greater Manchester police. A 25% cut would take police officer numbers below 5,000. A 40% cut would...
Jeff Smith: Rail commuter routes into Manchester are soon to lose trains to London Midland, raising memories of the TransPennine Express rolling stock debacle, which cost taxpayers £20 million and led to some services being downgraded. The Secretary of State had the opportunity to prevent the loss of TransPennine trains, but he chose not to use it. Did he have a similar option in the latest case? Is not...
Jeff Smith: The Government have made a number of attacks since the election in May on support for green energy. In light of reports this morning that our current emissions targets may be insufficient to meet the challenge on global warming, may we have a debate in Government time on support for sustainable energy?
Jeff Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what estimate he has made of how many students (a) from Manchester, Withington constituency and (b) studying at Manchester University and Manchester Metropolitan University will be affected by the removal of maintenance loans.