Prime Minister's Questions: 13 February 2019
Order, questions. To, the Prime Minister, Helen. Wheatley. Mr.. Speaker yeah. Thank. You mr. speaker mr. speaker later, today this house will have an opportunity to. Pay tribute to. The Clerk of the House Sir, David Knopfler. May, I take this opportunity to add my own so. David had served this house for over 40 years with dedication, and tireless, devotion his. Support and advice on parliamentary, procedure and business has been invaluable and I, know that members from all sides of the house want to join me in thanking. Him for his service and in, wishing him the very best for the future. Mr.. Speaker this morning I had meetings with ministerial, colleagues and others in addition to my duties in this house I shall have further such meetings later today. May. Also pay tribute to the work of the Clerk of the House. In. January, a mother. Of a three year old girl was convicted, of female, genital mutilation our, first FGM. Conviction. But, a chilling, reminder that, young girls are still being cut not, just in Africa and around the world but, also here. In the, UK. Well. My rideable friend the prime minister make, government time, to, progress my, honourable friend the members of Richmond parks, bill, to, protect more girls from this abhorrent practice. My. Honourable friend is absolutely, right to raise the, issue of this abhorrent, practice. To, recognize. The importance, of that first. Prosecution. That took place on female, genital mutilation here. In the UK it's, only right that we find time for this bill and the government will provide time, to deliver it we've. Strengthened, the law on FGM, that. Leading to that first conviction, we're helping communities around the world to, end this appalling crime but, it is important, that we give time to this bill and act, further to, ensure that we end what is an absolutely, abhorrent crime, that. Scars with, young, girls for. The rest of their lives both, physically, and mentally. Thank, You mr. speaker I'm sure the Prime Minister in the whole house will join me in sending, our deepest sympathies, to the friends and family of the cadet who died at Sandhurst last, week, I'm, sure the mo D is supporting, the family and fellow, cadets in the difficult time but. I also hope they will be reviewing the, mental health support, they give to all members, of the Armed Forces at, all times, Mr. Speaker we also mourn the loss of Gordon banks and send. Our condolences to, his friends and family and the entire football community he. Was one of the greatest goalkeepers. Of all time 73. Caps were England including playing, in every single game during, the victorious, 1966. World Cup campaign which, I remember with joy. Mr. Speaker I also want, to thank Sir David Napoli, for his work as Clarke to the house and wish him well in his retirement, he's been here even longer than I have and, has. Always been a source of a, source, of advice, to. All members. Irrespective. Of their party, and I, always admire his, dry, wit and humor whilst describing, the Proceedings of the house I think we owe him a big debt of gratitude. Mr.. Speaker the government's, handling, a brexit, has been costly. Shambolic. And deliberately. Evasive. Nothing. Symbolizes. That more. Than, the fiasco of, Seaborn, Freight a. Company. With no ships and no trading history on the, 8th of January the transport, secretary told the house we're confident, the firm will deliver the service what, went, wrong. First. Of all can I can. I join the right honourable gentleman in, the remarks he made about the cadet at.
Sandhurst, He, referenced, the issue of mental health this, is an important, issue overall. But obviously an important issue in our armed, forces as well and I'd. Like to pay a tribute to the work of my honourable friend the member for Plymouth more view for the work that he has done in relation to mental health in the Armed Forces I'd also like to send, my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Gordon banks like, the right honourable gentleman I'm old enough to remember the, 1966. World Cup. Now. Let's be honest in this house I think that's important. But. From from, being part of that team to do I think something, else that people remember the astonishing Pele save in 1970. He was regarded as one of the world's greatest goalkeepers. But I also know that he did a lot of community work in. His, local area as well, and I know members from all sides of the house would like to join me in paying tribute to him as. Regards, the freight capacity the, government collect three contracts, 90%. Of that was left to DFDS. And Brittany Ferries those. Contracts, remain in place and that capacity, has been has, been obtained and. Due. Diligence was covered due diligence was carried out on all of these contracts. And as the Secretary. Of State for Transport made, clear in, this house earlier, this week we, will continue to ensure that, we provide that, capacity. Which, is important, in a No Deal situation, and we will issue all the capacity, is there. Speaker. The transport, secretary told the house that this decision, to award a contract a seaborne Freight had, no cost to the taxpayer, this. Week the National Audit, Office found, that. 800,000. Pounds have been spent, on, external. Consultants. To assess the bid will, the Prime Minister use this opportunity to correct, the record. He's. A bit late to the late, to the party on this because I was asked this question yesterday in the, statement, I think from the SNP pensions, in the, labor, following the SNP. Come. On. To, the right honourable gentleman but, of course as I've just said when these contracts, were all let proper, due diligence was, carried out that, included. That. Included. That included. Third-party. Assessment. Of the, companies that were bidding for the contracts, that.
Would Have being a cost attached, to this process, regardless. Of who the contracts, were entered into with. I'm. Really impressed that the Prime Minister can keep a straight face while, she said due diligence, was carried out the. Transport, secretary said it's business, and operational, plans were assessed for, the department, by external, advisors, on the, basis, of that advice to his own Department. Seaborn. Was a startup, company with no ships and the contract, was high risk is what he was told why, then if he, was told it was high risk did he proceed, with, the contract. Appears. To be suggesting is that the government should never look at startup, companies, should never look at the opportunities. Is to be undertaking, this room but, it is entirely right, it is entirely right, that the government is insured the majority, of these contracts, when, the majority of these contracts, went to, established. Companies, and. I think it's entirely right that a company, of. Which of which due diligence, had been carried out is no containing it wasn't because it was and. We. Will be ensure that the very capacity, is there what, we're doing, of course what we're doing in these contracts, is ensuring. That we are able to deal with the situation, were we to enter into no, deal now the right honourable gentleman has said in the past that he didn't actually want any money being spent on No Deal preparations. He's. Also said in the past that he doesn't want us to go into a no deal situation, that's, fine, but if he doesn't want us to be in a no deal situation, he's going to have to vote for the deal. It. Appears. That. We. Have to be fair to those advisers because they were instructed, to restrict, their due diligence to the face value of the presentation. Put to them by Seaborn, Freight a company. That had no trading history and, look. Into the directors, of Seaborn, some, of whom it appears would not have passed a due, diligence test, however. The. Transport, secretary told the house this. Procurement was done properly in a way that conforms. With government, rules, but. What, a Freedom, of Information request, reveals. Is the Secretary of State bypassed. Those rules as the, procurement Assurance, board a senior. Panel of experts, and lawyers were denied, the chance to. Scrutinize, the deal so. What action. Is the Prime Minister going, to take over, what appears to be a very, clear breach, of those, rules. Following. Commercial. Technical and financial assurance. At a level in line with the company's status, as a new entrant to the market carried. Out not only by senior DFT officials, but by third party organizations. With experience, and expertise, in this area that, includes. Deloitte's. Matt Matt Mott MacDonald, and slaughter and May it, was designed in recognition, of the risks posed no. Money has been quiz paid to, the to, the contractor, no, money would be paid until the. Until. Services, were delivered and, therefore, the money has been paid to that contractor, but, I say to the, right honourable gentleman he, has stood, here time. And time again. Said actually that we shouldn't be doing anything, to prepare for No Deal it is entirely right and proper that, this government is taking the action necessary to. Ensure that should we sit it's, not our policy to have a No Deal it is our policy to get a deal but, should we be in that No Deal situation, we need to ensure we have the capacity we need and that's exactly what we're doing.
Could. I bring the Prime Minister back to the question, of Seaborn. Ferries, Eurotunnel. The. Eurotunnel, has, called this ferry contract, procurement, secretive. And flawed, of secretive. And flawed exercise, and, taxpayers. Now, face a legal bill of nearly 1, million pounds contesting. That the money goes up and up the. Secretary, of State's decision, to award the contract to Seaborn, has, increased, the budget deficit, of sanik, Council the owners, of Ramsgate, port by nearly two million, pounds when. Questioned, on this, by the member, for South SONET the transport, secretary refused. To. Give a guarantee can. The Prime Minister, today, give, a cast-iron, commitment, to the people of Thanet that. And confirm, they won't be picking up the bill for this, failure of this, contract. Transport. And other, parts of government are in discussion, with fanuc council about, the the, issue of this contract and the impact of this and the impact of this contract but, can I also just again remind, the right honourable gentlemen of why, it is that the Department of Transport, has taken these actions in relation to ferry capacity. It is in order to be able to ensure that in a No Deal situation. We are able to. Guarantee. That medicines, will be medicines, will be brought into this country primarily. We're prioritizing medicines. Being, brought into this country again, that was the question I seem to remember being asked, on the one occasion yesterday, by members of the SNP, who. Had an interest in that the right honourable gentleman doesn't seem to be interested in ensuring. That we can in a no deal situation, provide the medicines that people in this country need that's what we're doing that's a sensible approach of a government that is taking this matter seriously. Enemy Gorby may, be the Prime Minister should follow the advice of the house and take no deal off the table and negotiate seriously. And. It cannot be right mr. speaker it cannot be right that, a hard-pressed, local, council and local taxpayers, are footing the bill for the incompetence. Of the Secretary of State for Transport and, this government the. Spectacular. Failure, of this contract, is a symptom, mr. speaker of the utter shambles, of, this government, and it's no deal preparations. The transport, secretary ignored. Warnings about, drones, and airport security gave. Up 1.4. Billion contract, Karelian, despite. Warnings, over their finances, he oversaw, the disastrous, new rail timetables. Last year, rail, punctuality, at, a 13-year, low and fares, at a record high that, is some achievement, and now, the, transport, secretary is in charge of a major and vital, aspect, of brexit planning, how, on earth, on.
Earth Mr., speaker can the Prime Minister say that, she has confidence in the transport, secretary. Is. Delivering, the biggest rail investment program, since the Victorian, era. Spending. Spending nearly 48, billion on improving, our railways to deliver better journeys. 20%. Higher on average, every year, than under, labor government. That's what the transport, secretary is delivering, commitment. To transport, in this country, and commitment to car transport, across, the whole of this country, but, I notice I noticed that the right honourable gentleman wanted, to focus his questions, in that way rosin answer asking, Joe, more general questions, relation, to practice it because of course there, is still a number of issues still. A number of issues on brexit. Where, we don't know is answers. To the big questions, we, don't know if Eve. Good it's, no good labour members burying, their heads in their hands, we, don't know whether their leader that we don't know whether their leader back to the second referendum, we. Don't know whether their leader back the deal we don't even know whether he backs brakes it, he. Prefers. Ambiguity. And playing, politics. To, acting, in the national interest. People, people. Used to say he, was a conviction, politician. Not, anymore. Thank. You thank you very much, mr., speaker, on Friday, I visited, tipple in high school a great local school rated good by Ofsted but, tipping in high school is fading many challenges, the buildings are old and stressed there's. Not enough capacity for, all local children to attentive it in high school because, of a growing town and a great Tang but also poverty. Is higher, than both the county and England. National average, the skill but school buildings, are located, in a flood zone that, means that when the X versus. Bank there is a significant, risk of life that, means we really do, need, a new school. Fortunately, our site planning. Mission and Devon candy Council, has, completed. A plan will the will my brave old bull friend the prime minister facilitate, meetings between me the school ministers so that we can together deliver. A new school that Tim Burton deserves. Can. I thank, my humble friend for raising, this issue with me and obviously, the quality of school buildings is an important, issue in our education, system that's, why we are putting more money into it and we're investing, 23 billion on school buildings through to 2021. But he's raised the specific, issue of Tiverton high school and I'm sure and I will make sure that a minister from the Department of Education would be happy to meet him and with, the head teacher and the council if that is appropriate to discuss this issue, Liam. Blackburn. Thank, You mr., speaker can I congratulate so many of my colleagues your sporting, yellow today as, a marker solidarity, with those from Catalonia, that, on trial for the political principle. Self-determination. Mr.. Speaker while. The Prime Minister, rule out bringing. The meaningful, brought to this house less. Than two weeks before, the. 29th, of March. Was. President yesterday when, I made my statement to the house and she heard the process, that we will be following though of course is a debate that is taking place tomorrow and then, we have made clear that, we, would bring, back if the meaningful vote hasn't been brought, back and passed by this house we'll make a statement on the 26th of February and a debate on a lamentable motion on the 27th.
Ian, Blackburn I'm. Afraid mr. speaker that was no answer from a prime minister that continues, to run. The clock donors, this, is the height, of arrogance, from a government set, on running the clock down just. 44. Days from. Me No Deal scenario, the, Prime Minister, is hung strung by her own party, and rejected. By European, leaders the Prime Minister must, stop, playing, fast, and loose, businesses. Are begging, for certainty. The. Economy, is already, suffering, Prime. Minister you've come to the end of the road rumbled, by your own loose, let, senior. Brexit, advisor while. The Prime Minister, no, feasts tyranny, extremists. In our own party, and. In article. 58. Right. Honourable gentleman he talks about certainty, for business he, can get business certainty, by voting for the deal that's, what gives business certainty, he, complains, he. Complains, about no deal but, of course it was the SNP, who, wanted to leave the UK without a plan. Perhaps, we. Should. Perhaps. We should remind the SNP, that. Independence. Would have meant leaving the EU with, No Deal. As. The speaker I'll be carrying a delegated, legislation while. The tributes to David Nasser are paid so could I publicly. Wish, him well on his retirement and thank you for all the support he gave to, me particularly, when I was Deputy Speaker thank you David good luck. Slade, Bern health, center, serves. 1,100. People in. The village and surrounding, rural areas. It's, well used and well-loved by an aging population with, no bus service and the, contracts, up for renewal and people really do fear the salami, slicing, of services, are even worse the closure so will the Prime Minister, publicly. Give her support to. Health services like, Slade Byrne today and to, say that, either, reduction. Of services, or indeed, even worse closure would, be totally, unacceptable. I'm. Aware of issues with. Sleep and country, practice, and of. Course we're aware of pressures facing GPS, that's why there's. Going to be a major new investment, in primary and community health care this is an invariant. Element of our national health service and that, has been set out in the long term plan in the, event of a practice closure of course what NS NHS. England does is assesses, the need for a replacement provider, before dispersing. The list of. Patients. Who are on at that GP surgery, I understand. In relation to labor and health center that discussions, are ongoing in, relation to the future of the practice and the local CCG are currently exploring options. Sure. The Prime Minister welcomes the news that Instagram has pledged to crack down on images. Of suicide, and self-harm, however. There are growing online communities, which, glamorize.
Encourage. A normalized, eating, disorders, preying, on vulnerable people who were going through extremely, personal, and private, battles. Will, she agree to meet with me other, organizations. And charities discuss, ways in which we can combat this. I'm. Grateful, to the honorable gentleman for raising the, action that the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport is taking, in relation to to, this issue of social media sites, and indeed the action, that the Home Office is taking in conjunction, with the DCMS, on this issue we, do want to see social media companies, doing more to, ensure. That they're not promoting harmful, content to vulnerable people the Honorable gentleman has raised the specific, issue of I think eating disorders, was in his question and the impact that that can have we. Do want to ensure that we're doing, this in a way that that does help to keep people safe in terms of what the sort of images that they're looking at and I'm really sure that a minister from the Department meets with him to discuss this issue in, Richmond, Thank, You mr., speaker, notwithstanding Brussels. Barroom, chatter will. The prime minister. Rule. Out a delay, of brexit. Beyond, March, to 29th, and will she also, rule. Out a future, Customs Union arrangement. Which, would prevent, us doing those global, trade deals which, the Bank of England governor says. Is a potential, golden age Oh Drake. Be. Very clear and the government's been clearing the proposals, that we've put forward for customs. That we want to in a we, want to have that independent, trade policy, it's specifically, referenced, in the political declaration, and we believe it is important, and I'm pleased to hear what the governor, of the Bank of England is said today on the importance, of free trade around, the around, the world on the first point that my humble friend raised is I'm grateful that he has asked me that, question rather. Than relying on what someone said to someone else has overheard, by someone else in in, a bar it's. Very clear the, government the government the. Government's, position is the same we, triggered an article 50 in fact this houseboat each trigger article 50 that. Had a two-year timeline that, ends on the 29th, of March we want to leave with the deal and that's what we're working for. Thank, You mr. speaker two weeks ago I asked the prime minister to unblock, the funding for Dawlish to give us the investment, to improve that train line two. Weeks later we still have no funding, I worry, mr. speaker that brexit, is causing the government to sit on announcements that need to be made both, on rail funding, and the long term basing of the war Marines for Plymouth so can the Prime Minister tell the transport, secretary to get on with it and announce the funding for Dawlish this week without any further delay. I, said, to him then the department's been reviewing the proposals, the network rail have put forward for an effective and resilient, solution, in relation, to the Dawlish line, and. There'll be an update on funding, in due course there, is of course already the first phase of work to protect the seawall at Dawlish began in November, that's part of the 15 million wider investment, to make the railway at Dawlish and Tynemouth more resilient to extreme weather first. Glove Thank, You mr., speaker I know from the doorstep in Corby and East Northamptonshire, that local people want to see more, police officers out on the beat catching, criminals and deterring. Crime with. The additional money that she's rightly announced, for policing will she join me in calling for that to be invested in front iron presence. My. Honorable friend and I recognize the comments he's made obviously from the the doorstep I know he's an assiduous member. Who listens to his constituents, and takes their views and brings them into this into, this chamber it, is of course important, that we have made more money available to police forces I'm pleased to say that what we are now seeing is the. The number of people joining police officers. Joining police forces is at its highest level for ten years but, we did make more money available to police forces, nine, hundred and seventy million pounds, over that the over, the next year all I think is a sadness in this chamber is that the Labor Party voted against it. What. Has the Prime Minister, got against, towns in North Wales in, the. Week following, the, loss, of a 20 billion pound, Hitachi, contract. In the, region, the. Government, she leads. Announced. The moving, of 380. Wrexham. Tax office, jobs, to. Liverpool, and to, Cardiff, City Centre, is. It her view the, towns across the UK should, not have public, sector jobs. No. It is not and I have to say to the, Honourable gentleman I have to say to the Honourable gentleman on the issue that he raised about the Hitachi, site at a.
Wilful. Site we, did offer a package of support we offered a package of support that no previous government, had been willing to consider of one-third. Equity, all debt financing, and a strike price of no more than 75 pounds per megawatt-hour. Ultimately. We couldn't reach an agreement between all parties at this stage and Hitachi decided. On a commercial basis, to cependant suspend, the project but they've made care they wish to continue discussions, with the government on bringing, forward new nuclear at Wilfer and will support those discussions, as Johnson Thank, You mr. speaker mr. speaker over the last four years the. Number of people who have been stopped and searched by the police has. Fallen by, two-thirds, at. The same time the, number of stabbings, has, increased, by, a third does. The Prime Minister therefore, agree, with me that carried, out in the right way stop and search he's, an effective part. Of the battle against, knife crime. And, I absolutely agree that carried, out in the right way stopping the search is an effective, tool for our, police forces we recognize the concern there is about the about, violent, crime and obviously he specifically. Raised the knife crime issue that's why the. Home Secretary has published a serious violence strategy, we've. Established a serious violence task force but, on the point about stopping search just to reiterate what, we wanted as a police to do is to, use stop and search properly, and lawfully. It is, a vital, and effective, policing tool what we expect them is when they use stop and search they do it lawfully. Steve. McCabe. Mr.. Speaker I'm here you recall the house Ian days when the prime minister, to, the ruptura story conference that. She put an end to ripoff, energy. Companies, once and for all, on. Thursday, of Jim, relax our energy car on Monday, Iran announced a ten percent price increase, and I we discover, the, number of houses, and official fuel, poverty, has, grown to over two and a half million how, did she think she's doing. The. Honourable gentleman that of course it is this government has introduced the energy price cap this. Is not something that was done by the previous, Labour government it has provided, protection to 11 million households. And I. And, energy. Suppliers will no longer be able to rip off customers, on poor value tariffs, it will save, cost, you consumers, a total of 1 billion pounds, on their, bills annually. And the Citizens Advice Bureau has previously, said the, cap means people are paying a fair price now and will continue to pay a fair price even, if the level of the cap rises, Robert Halfon. Thank. You mr. speaker, since. 2014. The number of children being excluded, from schools, has risen by 67, percent every.
School Week there are four thousand, two hundred fifty, three children with special educational, needs who. Have been permanent, exclude Norfolk's, fixed. Exclusions, from school this is a burning, social, injustice will. My white honorable friend update the house on the progress, the tips and review in to exclude children a confirm whether or not the government will make schools accountable, but the outcomes, other people's they exclude as our Education Select Committee recommended, in the Secretary of State has suggested. A. Friend, and the Education Select Committee for their work on this important, issue obviously. We all recognize, that good discipline in schools is essential, but it's, also important, to ensure that any exclusion, is lawful, reasonable. And fair and, of course guidance, does set out that head teachers, should, as far as possible avoid permanently, excluding any pupil with an educational, health care plan and make, additional efforts to provide extra, support to avoid excluding, those with special educational, needs we. Do want to ensure. That schools play their part in supporting children, who've been excluded, working. In collaboration, with alternative, providers and local authorities, my Rajan rafin mentioned, the Timpson review that is still ongoing but, I can assure him that when it reports in due course we, will look very seriously, and very carefully. At the recommendations, it provides. Mr.. Speaker since 2013. 220. Farm Ontarians, and 450. Members of their staff have received, mindfulness, training here in Parliament, our. Cross-party, group has, produced this report mindful. Nation report into the uses of mindfulness. In, education, health, prisons, and the workplace and it's been well received by governments after. The brexit negotiations. Have been concluded, when she might need to be stress. Will. See bees. With representation. Representatives. Of our cross-party. Group and senior, scientists. To, look at what what more can be done with mindfulness to. Reduce. Human, suffering and to promote human, flourishing. Raising. This important. Issue and, also, thank not just him but the mindfulness, a PBG. For the work that they've done and. Their recent report, and obviously. He knows that mindfulness, based cognitive therapy, is, recommended, for use by nice. For. Adults, with depression for adults, with depression but, I noticed. The the recognize. The, training, that has gone into staff I recently. Well some weeks ago had, an individual of my constituency, come into my surgery to talk about mindfulness and the member of my parliamentary staff I had with me had actually undertaken, the training and was earth were able to speak about the, the impact that that had had so, the, commissioning, of psychological. Therapies is a matter for NHS England I'll ensure that they are aware at this report General, is obviously a beneficiary, of mindfulness, himself, he seems of any calm and phlegmatic fellow, these days it wasn't always the case in the past they're very grateful to the Honorable gentleman George Freeman. The. Honours system is designed to acknowledge and celebrate great public service into our nation does, mine right honorable friend agree that when a small minority of recipients, of honours like Philip, green bring, the system of honors and business, into disrepute by being found to have behaved disgracefully. Letting. Down the vast majority in business who set the highest standards then, it's right that this party and this government should be the first to stand up for decent standards and look, at beginning a process for seeing whether people. Who behave in that way should be stripped of their honor. Can. I say to my, humble friend that obviously as he has just said the honor system is there to recognize, exceptional. Service and achievement, in a wide range of spheres of public life and it's important, that if, the recipient of an honor brings that honor into, disrepute, steps.
Should Be taken to review, that honor now, that of course there, is a forfeiture process. For that purpose, that does include an independent, forfeiture, committee which, gives recommendations to, me for Her Majesty's, approval that. Is the that, is the process but it's important, I believe that we have that so that anybody who has been risk in receive an honor that, brings honor into, a disrepute. That steps can be taken to review that piggy box craft. Milk. Mill more lionesses, for my constituency. Claims and be Lewis FC, in the fourth round of the FA pub. Yeah the, winner. Let's. Receive, two thousand, pounds prize money the. Winners are the same round in the men's competition receipts. 118,000. Is. The prime minister willing to put pressure on the FA to equalize. What. Can I say to the, honorable lady that as, the, president. Of the Wargrave girls football club I'm very very, willing. To commend, all those, girls and females who play football and I. Think members across this house have been concerned to hear of the disparity, in the, in, the winning. That, were that she has raised, with this house obviously this is a matter for the football authorities. But I'm sure they would have heard the, concern. That's been expressed in, this house about the, current position. It, takes courage and leadership to, admit difficult things because. That's how we start to recognize the need for change so, I'd like to thank Secretary State for Work and Pensions for, acknowledging, there has been a link between, accessing, universal credit and food bank usage. It. Isn't okay it isn't the case that that has been a link there. Is a, link will. The Prime Minister please urge and they review the five-week way and the benefit freeze both, must, go because. The unpalatable truth, is, that our welfare safety net is no longer holding up those. Most vulnerable in society its, tangling, around their feet and dragging them under the water. My. Honourable friend Ron will friend live have discussed the, universal. Credit and the rollout of universal, credit in the past as, she will know we've taken a number of measures as we have been rolling this out slowly, and carefully, we've taken a number of measures to address issues that have arisen shortly.
After I became prime minister we cut the taper rate so people keep more of the money that they earned subsequently. We have of course ensured, that we scrapped. The seven-day waiting. We've, introduced. The two the two week overlap. In relation to those in receipt of Housing Benefit and, of, course we have also ensured, that 100. Percent of a full monthly payment is available. To people at the start for those who, for whom that is that, is necessary, so we have been taking steps and will continue to look at universal, credit but, Universal Credit is a system, that encourages people in to work and sure that work pays compared. To a legacy system from a labor party that, left 1.4, million people that, for nearly a decade trapped, on benefits. Thank. You mr. speaker, despite, a party's, manifesto promise. Nearly 7,000, pensioner, households, in my West Lancashire. Constituency. Could, lose their free TV licences, often. That's their only source of company, it's, the government, going to keep their manifesto. Promise by taking back the responsibility. They've outsourced, to the BBC, to, ensure that older people keep, their TV license easy. Honourable, lady obviously I recognize, the, value that people across the country place on having a television and. For many elderly people obviously the connection, that that brings with, the world and that's why the, free licenses, view over 75 are so important, we've, been clear that we want and expect the BBC to continue, free licenses, when they take over responsibility, for the concession in 2020. You know I just so I think taxpayers, rightly. Want to see the BBC, using. Its substantial. Licence fee income in, appropriate, way to ensure it delivers fully for UK audience. She'd Ram, this. To speak my. Constituent. Ben semen receives. Employment. And sport allowance benefits, and was awarded 20,000, pounds after the recent court ruling on esa under payments ben has to spend a lot of this within a year in order to avoid having more than 16 thousand pounds of assets and risk, losing eligibility. For esa clearly. This is an unintended anomaly. So, would my right honourable friend encourage, the, work and pension secretary, who I know is sympathetic, to the situation to. Resolve this as soon as possible through an exemption, both for Ben and for any other similarly, affected. This. Is a concerning case that my humble friend has raised with me I understand, the DWP, are, aware, and I'm assure they are looking into this, issue, but I will ensure that while and will fund receives a response as soon as possible. The. Prime Minister's determination. Has been widely acknowledged. But the truth is she can't get her deal through unless something fundamentally, changes, in that deal but there is a way she, can get it through which, would also lead to you, can get it through unchanged. We should also help with the reconciliation of our country on the other side it does, mean following the example, of the Good Friday Agreement and, having confirmation, of the people afterwards but. It does mean that there are fundamental benefits, to, that happening, would, I not asking her to pass judgment. On that at the despatch-box, right, now but, would she agree to meet with me am i right or my old girlfriend the member for Sedgefield just, to briefly talk it through and explore, the possible benefits.
The. Honorable gentleman I think he knows my view, in relation to a second referendum I expressed, that on many times in this. House and my view on that has not changed I believe it is important that we deliver on the first referendum, but of course we are I and colleagues, are meeting members, from across this house to discuss the issues that they wish to raise in relation, to the brexit matter and so, I will ensure that the honourable gentleman and his. Honorable friend the member for Sedgefield meet, if not with me then with an appropriate Minister. Mr.. Speaker with the return, of the Royal apples tornados, from operations. For the last time would, my right own girlfriend, join with me and paying tribute not just to, this remarkable jet which is given 40 years of operations, from the, Cold, War through the mountains of Afghanistan. But, through the remarkable, men and women who have flown and maintained. Her. Friend. I'm very happy to join with him in paying tribute to the, tornado and to the men and women who've flown and maintained. The fleet over the last 40 years he's, referenced. The cold water the mountains of Afghanistan, from the Gulf War through to operations, against daesh in, syria and, iraq the. Tornados been an integral, and vital part, of RAF operations. And I, think as my right honorable friend the defense secretary said last week it's with a heavy heart but, enormous pride that, we bid farewell to the tornado from operations, having played that vital, role in keeping Britain and the Allies safe, it will of course be replaced, with worthy successes, in the improved typhoon, and the new f-35s. Which, keepers is a world leader in air combat but I'm very happy to pay tribute from, this despatch box to. The plane and to all those men and women who have both flown and maintained, it over those 40 years. UK's. Democracy, mr., Fox its economy and society. Chronically. Unequal, Britain, is breaking. Mr. speaker let, us speak as others, find us this, plain truth has not gone unnoticed in, pubs clubs and. Homes on pavements at schools and workplaces in, a yes is more, gig in Cardiff, this Friday people. Talk about this place and, how, Westminster, is failing then, when. Will the Prime Minister lift her gaze above, party, interests above. Westminster. Interesting, when, will she work with others, to remake, this island remake, this island as three. Self-sufficient. Thriving. Nations, rather. Than perpetuates. The assumption, of privilege, for Wow. Can. I say to the odd m'lady that when, I became, Prime Minister I was very clear but, I wanted to work a country that worked for everyone that, was the entire United. Kingdom, I noticed. That in her in, her question she, failed to recognize that Northern Ireland. Northern. Ireland to remain part, of the United Kingdom and, can I also say to her that, democracy. Is not defunct, democracy. In this country democracy. In this country will, be shown by this house, recognizing. The vote that was taken took place in 2016, delivering. On the result of the referendum and, voting for a deal for us to levy a. Comparative. Size the UK has more government, departments, than even the USA, and we're here in this place all the time about the challenges of cross, departmental working. Wilma Ryan will friend commit to looking carefully in the spending review opportunities, to shrink the size of government and, instead focus our spending on public services. Can I say to you. I say to my horrible friends that I know the, question of the size of government is an issue that a number of colleagues raise from time to time but, I have to of course put my hand up and admit. The role that I played in of course increasing, the, size of government by creating, the Department for exiting the European Union and the Department for international. Trade and of, course we are employing more civil servants in order, to ensure that we deliver on brexit something I believe, is close.
To My honourable friend's heart. Is. Just six months old she's, beautiful, she, was recently diagnosed, with a devastating form, of muscular dystrophy her, her brother had, the same condition. And died tragically. Young, Spinoza. Is a new highly, effective, drug produced, by Biogen, available. In 23, countries but. Not England, if Miriam, lived in the West of Scotland and, not West Ham she'd, get it but, negotiations between, nice and bad by gin haven't been successful leaving. Miriam and two other babies. I know of has. Tiny pawns, in an argument, between price, and profit. Will, the Prime Minister, please intervene. And tell. Others, and Miriam, from suffering, and early, and painful, death. Obviously. The Honourable lady has raised the, case with great passion in this house I will ensure that Minister. From the Department of Health looks at the issue in response to her. Thank. You mr. speaker, the. Speaker the consumption. Of dog and cat meat goes against, our British values they, are our companions. They, are not food does, my right honourable friend agree. That a ban on consumption, here we're astoundingly. It is still legal would, put us in a leading position sending. A clear message to the rest of the world that, the sickening, and horrific suffering, that these animals experience. During, slaughter, should be stopped if so will. She commit. To this change which, has cross-party, support as, demonstrated. By amendment, to the agriculture, bill. Can. I say to my own boyfriend honestly I'm aware of the amendment that he has put to the agriculture, bill and I, thank you for raising this issue welfare, of animals is a priority. For this government of course I am pleased it is illegal to sell dog and cat meat in the UK and there, are no abbatoirs to lice licensed. To slaughter dogs and thankfully. There is no evidence, of human consumption of dog or cat meat in the UK and I certainly hope that other countries, will join the UK and upholding, the, highest standards, of animal welfare order. In wishing the Honourable lady a very happy, birthday and hoping that the house will join, me in doing so I call Rachel Reed. Thank. You mr. speaker 21, again, my. Constituents. Harriet, recently. Gave birth to her baby three, months premature when. Harriet was due to return to work her baby had only recently come out of hospital and she had to make the choice between taking, additional time off work or struggling to pay the bills or, to, return to work but miss crucial bonding time with her baby. The government had committed, to reviewing this issue by the end, of January, we're now halfway through February. So will the Prime Minister, commit. To take action, and to extend parental, leave to, the parents, of children who. End up in neonatal. Wards. First. Of all happy birthday to, the Honourable lady we. Are we are reviewing this this, situation, and we're also looking at the circumstances, other circumstances, to example like miscarriage, and what, applies in those circumstances but, I'll ensure that a response a written response is given to the Honourable lady only.
Craig McKinley the, leader, opposition. Has shown today that a little little knowledge is a very dangerous thing he chose to speak about Seaborn, and Ramsgate. Port in my constituency, of South panet he does not speak for South Planet I do. Can. My right honourable friend assure, me that the. People of Thanet are ready and prepared to keep that port open for bricks it eventualities, could. She give a commitment to fellow District Council to indemnify, them. For costs here on in. How, can I say, can. I say to my, honourable, friend that. No, one can doubt the, passion and vigor with which he speaks up for the people of his south. He's, raised the issue of Ramsgate. Port I am aware of the. Interaction. That's been the discussion that has been between Planet Council, and the Department for Transport and IB that that continues. Obviously. I recognize, the. Significance. Of the possibility, of ensuring. That there is capacity suitable, capacity, available, to access. Ramsgate. Harbour, and I, will ensure that the Department of Transport looks at the specific issue that he is raised.