Alex Burghart: I strongly welcome the Minister’s statement that, if Syria should use chemical weapons again, we are ready to act. Is he confident that our allies would stand with us in that endeavour?
Alex Burghart: My hon. Friend is being extremely generous with his time. I fully support his comments about extending the trespass law in the UK as it has been in Ireland. It is currently possible for travelling families to come to an agreement with private landlords so that they can settle on their land. Does my hon. Friend agree that by building those relationships, which is what decent travelling...
Alex Burghart: What assessment he has made of trends in the level of intimidation experienced by people in public life.
Alex Burghart: I thank the Minister for his reply. Does he agree that those who seek to interfere with the course of an election through criminal intimidation should face electoral sanction?
Alex Burghart: I thank the Minister very much for the speech he is giving. I am sure that the House will be aware of the remarks made by President Putin today in saying that these are not criminals but citizens. Does he agree that if the President is so assured of that statement, he might want to encourage those individuals to come to the UK for trial?
Alex Burghart: The Work and Pensions Committee, on which I sit, recently published a report calling on the Government to see whether universal credit can offer more help to victims of domestic abuse. Will the Minister consider our findings?
Alex Burghart: The House will have heard the Japanese Prime Minister say that Britain would be welcomed into the trans-Pacific partnership with open arms. Does the Prime Minister agree that post-Brexit it would be wonderful if our country could meet Japan’s embrace?
Alex Burghart: One of the great prizes of the electric vehicle revolution will be autonomous vehicles, but for them to bring all the great advantages they can bring to all of us, and particularly disabled people, we need to have public trust in that technology. What is the Department doing to establish that public trust?
Alex Burghart: One of the very best ways of helping disabled entrepreneurs, and indeed all disabled people who are looking for work, is to get them access to the best assistive technology that can help them when they are in the workplace and also give them confidence while they are looking for that work. What steps is the Secretary of State taking to ensure that disabled people have those opportunities?
Alex Burghart: I strongly welcome the Minister’s commitment to continuing “test and learn” as part of the roll-out of universal credit, as it has delivered several substantial improvements to UC over the past year and a half. As part of that process, will he consider extending the repayment time for advances?
Alex Burghart: I strongly welcome the Minister’s comments. There are a number of empty properties in my constituency that I would very much like to see come back on the market. Will the Minister tell us what effect the Government’s action has had in this policy area? By what proportion has the number of empty homes come down since the Government made those changes?
Alex Burghart: I sorry to ask the Minister this question; it is ignorance on my part. How do councils ascertain that properties are empty? Might we need to give councils additional powers so that they can identify which properties are truly empty?
Alex Burghart: Will the Minister explain to the House the consequences of agreeing the amendment?
Alex Burghart: Will the hon. Lady give way?
Alex Burghart: I just want to come back to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for North Thanet (Sir Roger Gale), because it is important, given that we are discussing the proposed amendment. Will the hon. Lady tell the House what is meant by “in any financial year prior to the financial year after the financial year in which a Minister of the Crown lays before the Commons a report”?
Alex Burghart: My hon. Friend raises a point that is close to my heart. A good friend of mine has been working in the charitable sector in Africa for 17 years and is now unentitled to vote. Does my hon. Friend find it outrageous that a British citizen who has gone abroad to work so hard has been excluded from voting here?
Alex Burghart: In a hypothetical future referendum on Scottish independence, does the hon. Gentleman think that a Scotsman living in, say, Pimlico should be able to vote on the question of Scottish independence?
Alex Burghart: I am grateful to speak in the debate. The real reason we are talking about universal credit and welfare reform is a desire to get more people into work. This is not because of some accountancy-driven exercise. It is because work is a fundamental social good that helps people to provide for themselves. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Wirral South (Alison McGovern) says that that is wrong....
Alex Burghart: My hon. Friend raises a very important point. I can say that universal credit was rolled out in my constituency a number of months ago, and it is working extremely well. We have had nothing but praise for it from the work coaches who administer it, and we have had very high satisfaction rates from people using it in Brentwood and Ongar. As I say, there is always something to do to improve any...
Alex Burghart: What recent discussions he has had with representatives of the water companies on their performance.