Prorogation of Parliament — [Joan Ryan in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:53 pm on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Jeremy Lefroy Jeremy Lefroy Conservative, Stafford 5:53 pm, 9th September 2019

The hon. Gentleman and I were together at the HS2 panel and I listened carefully to the important points he made about Old Oak Common and the surrounding area that is affected by HS2. I am in a quandary about an election. On the one hand, it would be decisive. I suspect it would be run on the lines of remain, leave or leave with a deal, and it would be a chance for the people to decide, in a manner of speaking. On the other hand, I see what he says: if we have an election, we will not be able to make these points. Prorogation leaves us in a halfway house where we cannot raise points in Parliament and we do not have the decisiveness of an election; it is neither fish nor fowl.

There are two main reasons why I do not want to see Parliament prorogued for as long as proposed—and the Government could still request for Prorogation to be for less time. First, we need more time to consider really important matters such as the prospective deal, which I very much hope the Prime Minister is committed to bringing before this House, and which, in some form or other, will be passed by this House so that we can fulfil the referendum result and leave in an orderly fashion.

It is also extremely important to bring up constituency matters. With your permission, Mrs Main, I will give a few examples, because I will not be able to do so at business questions or other times. First, a constituent of mine, Staff Sergeant Proverbs, who has just left the Army after 20 years of active service to this country in a number of theatres, was injured on duty at NATO headquarters in this country, yet because of the intricacies of the rules around pensions and disability, he is being deprived of a proper disability payment and disability pension. I have taken up his case with the Minister for the Armed Forces, my right hon. Friend Mark Lancaster and the Minister for Defence People and Veterans, my hon. Friend Johnny Mercer and had a sympathetic hearing, but the Ministry of Defence is not dealing with my constituent in a proper manner. As a result, he faces a much lower level of income, despite his disability, which was incurred in the course of serving our country.

I also raise the case again—I have done so before in the House of Commons—of my constituent, Mr Gray, on whose behalf on a serious matter I have written to Barclays a number of times to request a meeting, but Barclays has still not replied to me.

I also want to raise the fact that not long ago I had a debate on the manipulation of precious metal prices, which is a serious matter that is fundamental to the financial system of this country and the whole world. We had a good response from the Minister but there are serious outstanding matters that need to be raised in Parliament and discussed here.

I could go on, and I am sure other Members could do the same, but it is clear to me that we need the time in Parliament. Clearly, the Government need time to prepare the Queen’s Speech. I understand that, but a couple of weeks is more than enough. It is not as if they are starting on it ab initio or that as from tomorrow they will start thinking about the Queen’s Speech. They have been thinking about it for a long time, and rightly so. Two or three weeks maximum is more than enough time. I urge my hon. Friend the Minister to communicate to his colleagues in Government and to the Prime Minister that if we could resume on 3 October or, at the very latest, 7 October, it would be welcomed across the House.