Results 421–440 of 1000 for speaker:Jeff Smith OR speaker:Jeff Smith OR speaker:Jeff Smith

Private Members’ Bills — [Valerie Vaz in the Chair] (13 Apr 2016)

Jeff Smith: I do not have much time, so I will be brief in thanking all the Members who have contributed to this debate. We have had a respectful, interesting and mature debate, which is more than we usually get on Fridays. There is a consensus that there is deep frustration with the system on both sides of the House. The system is broken and change is needed. We have had some good suggestions, and I...

Private Members’ Bills — [Valerie Vaz in the Chair] (13 Apr 2016)

Jeff Smith: I beg to move, That this House has considered the procedure for debating and voting on Private Members’ Bills. It is a great pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Ms Vaz. I thank the good number of MPs who are present and who have expressed an interest in speaking. I also thank the Deputy Leader of the House of Commons and my hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Melanie Onn), who...

Private Members’ Bills — [Valerie Vaz in the Chair] (13 Apr 2016)

Jeff Smith: I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend, and I will come to some of those issues shortly. He is right, which is why tackling the matter is important, as he says. I will try to be brief, because a lot of Members who want to have a say are present, some of them with extensive experience of this issue, and because my suggestion is quite simple: if we want to do something in this place, let us do...

Private Members’ Bills — [Valerie Vaz in the Chair] (13 Apr 2016)

Jeff Smith: My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. As a fellow Mancunian MP, I could not agree more. The system gives false hope to people who want to see action on issues that matter to them: people, for example, who think it is a good idea for children to be taught first aid at school or carers who have to pay high car-parking charges when they visit hospital—the subjects of two Bills that were...

Private Members’ Bills — [Valerie Vaz in the Chair] (13 Apr 2016)

Jeff Smith: How could I not give way to an hon. Gentleman with such experience of the subject?

Private Members’ Bills — [Valerie Vaz in the Chair] (13 Apr 2016)

Jeff Smith: Simply because the debates were on a Friday—I will come to that. If the hon. Gentleman is so convinced of the arguments against those Bills, we should have had a proper debate on a day in Parliament when lots of people are present. We could debate the issue and vote on it, rather than talking it out.

Private Members’ Bills — [Valerie Vaz in the Chair] (13 Apr 2016)

Jeff Smith: The hon. Gentleman has identified an important point, and I will come to sitting Fridays shortly. In some cases I have had hundreds of emails from constituents urging me to turn up on a Friday for a private Member’s Bill—sometimes because charities or other organisations have mobilised them—and we are doing a disservice to those organisations and constituents, and to ourselves, by...

Private Members’ Bills — [Valerie Vaz in the Chair] (13 Apr 2016)

Jeff Smith: I agree with that important point. Sometimes it is difficult to know whether it is due to lack of knowledge or wilful misreading of parliamentary procedure. I like to think it is the former, but that indicates that we need to be much more open and clear about not just private Members’ Bills but a whole range of other parliamentary procedures, as the hon. Gentleman rightly indicated.

Private Members’ Bills — [Valerie Vaz in the Chair] (13 Apr 2016)

Jeff Smith: That is a good point, and if the responsibility is with us, our responsibility is to change the system to make it understandable for the public. When people write to us about these Bills, they think they are something that will make a difference, but we know as parliamentarians, once we have learnt the rules—some of us are still learning them—that it is not going to happen. A case in...

Private Members’ Bills — [Valerie Vaz in the Chair] (13 Apr 2016)

Jeff Smith: Seventeen minutes at the end of the session. That was hardly enough time for the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) to introduce the Bill properly. There was no chance to vote on it and now it is lost in the parliamentary wilderness. There is a fundamental dishonesty in a system that allows people to believe that a private Member’s Bill will make a difference, when we...

Private Members’ Bills — [Valerie Vaz in the Chair] (13 Apr 2016)

Jeff Smith: That is absolutely right, and I will come to time limits shortly. We have two key problems. The first, which is widely acknowledged, is of Bills being talked out. Other hon. Members may want to speak about their experience of that. I have no doubt that Members who indulge in that practice will say in their defence, “We are working within the rules.” If that is the case, we must change the...

Private Members’ Bills — [Valerie Vaz in the Chair] (13 Apr 2016)

Jeff Smith: The hon. Gentleman makes an excellent point. It is quite correct that Members should be able to spend some time on a weekday in constituencies, visiting schools and businesses, doing advice surgeries and meeting residents, and it is sensible to allow one weekday a week for that. There should not necessarily be the need, therefore, to attend Parliament on a Friday. If we were to move...

Private Members’ Bills — [Valerie Vaz in the Chair] (13 Apr 2016)

Jeff Smith: The point is that that does not happen. My understanding is that under Standing Order No. 42 the Chair can direct a Member to discontinue their speech, but between 1945 and 1999 that was used on only 21 occasions, so that parliamentary procedure is used rarely. I also think there are better ways of organising our time. As I have said, if we moved the debates to a Tuesday or Wednesday, we...

Energy and Climate Change: Low-carbon Economy (24 Mar 2016)

Jeff Smith: What steps her Department is taking to increase investor confidence in the low-carbon economy.

Energy and Climate Change: Low-carbon Economy (24 Mar 2016)

Jeff Smith: As a result of changes in Government policy, Greater Manchester Community Renewables has had to scale back its solar PV project from 20 sites to four, meaning that 16 schools have missed out on solar panels and the local economy has missed out on more than £1 million of investment. It is estimated that there are 8 MW of stalled schemes in Greater Manchester, equating to about £10 million of...

Energy and Climate Change: Topical Questions (24 Mar 2016)

Jeff Smith: If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities.

Energy and Climate Change: Topical Questions (24 Mar 2016)

Jeff Smith: At the last Energy and Climate Change Question Time, my hon. Friend the Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Angela Rayner) asked the Minister about the planned rise in VAT on solar, and she told us that the Government had “no choice” but to implement the European Court’s decision. On Monday, when the Financial Secretary was filling in for the Chancellor, he told us that they had decided not...

[Sir David Amess in the Chair] — BMA (Contract Negotiations) (21 Mar 2016)

Jeff Smith: Will my hon. Friend give way?

[Sir David Amess in the Chair] — BMA (Contract Negotiations) (21 Mar 2016)

Jeff Smith: I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I met a group of junior doctors recently. For the first time, many of them are considering going abroad to work. None of them want to, but they are so demoralised by this Government’s actions that they are considering it. One of them told me how much she loved her job, but she said, “I would never let my daughter train as a junior doctor.” Does my hon....


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