Theresa May – 2018 Statement on Brexit

Below is the text of the statement made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, in the House of Commons, on 10 December 2018.

Mr Speaker, with permission I would like to make a statement on Exiting the European Union.

We have now had three days of debate on the Withdrawal Agreement setting out the terms of our departure from the EU and the Political Declaration setting out our future relationship after we have left.

I have listened very carefully to what has been said, in this chamber and out of it, by members from all sides.

From listening to those views it is clear that while there is broad support for many of the key aspects of the deal, on one issue – the Northern Ireland backstop – there remains widespread and deep concern.

As a result, if we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow the deal would be rejected by a significant margin.

We will therefore defer the vote scheduled for tomorrow and not proceed to divide the House at this time.

I set out in my speech opening the debate last week the reasons why the backstop is a necessary guarantee to the people of Northern Ireland and why – whatever future relationship you want – there is no deal available that does not include the backstop.

Behind all those arguments are some inescapable facts.

The fact that Northern Ireland shares a land border with another sovereign state.

The fact that the hard-won peace that has been built in Northern Ireland over the last two decades has been built around a seamless border.

And the fact that Brexit will create a wholly new situation: on 30 March the Northern Ireland/Ireland border will for the first time become the external frontier of the European Union’s single market and customs union.

The challenge this poses must be met not with rhetoric but with real and workable solutions.

Businesses operate across that border. People live their lives crossing and re-crossing it every day.

I have been there and spoken to some of those people. They do not want their everyday lives to change as a result of the decision we have taken. They do not want a return to a hard border.

And if this House cares about preserving our Union, it must listen to those people, because our Union will only endure with their consent.

We had hoped that the changes we have secured to the backstop would reassure Members that we could never be trapped in it indefinitely.

I hope the House will forgive me if I take a moment to remind it of those changes.

The customs element of the backstop is now UK-wide. It no longer splits our country into two customs territories. This also means that the backstop is now an uncomfortable arrangement for the EU, so they won’t want it to come into use, or persist for long if it does.

Both sides are now legally committed to using best endeavours to have our new relationship in place before the end of the implementation period, ensuring the backstop is never used.

If our new relationship isn’t ready, we can now choose to extend the implementation period, further reducing the likelihood of the backstop coming into use.

If the backstop ever does come into use, we now don’t have to get the new relationship in place to get out of it. Alternative arrangements that make use of technology could be put in place instead.

The treaty is now clear that the backstop can only ever be temporary.

And there is now a termination clause.

But I am clear from what I have heard in this place and from my own conversations that these elements do not offer a sufficient number of colleagues the reassurance that they need.

I spoke to a number of EU leaders over the weekend, and in advance of the European Council I will go to see my counterparts in other member states and the leadership of the Council and the Commission.

I will discuss with them the clear concerns that this House has expressed.

We are also looking closely at new ways of empowering the House of Commons to ensure that any provision for a backstop has democratic legitimacy and to enable the House to place its own obligations on the government to ensure that the backstop cannot be in place indefinitely.

Mr Speaker, having spent the best part of two years poring over the detail of Brexit, listening to the public’s ambitions, and yes, their fears too, and testing the limits of what the other side is prepared to accept, I am in absolutely no doubt that this deal is the right one.

It honours the result of the referendum. It protects jobs, security and our Union. But it also represents the very best deal that is actually negotiable with the EU.

I believe in it – as do many Members of this House. And I still believe there is a majority to be won in this House in support of it, if I can secure additional reassurance on the question of the backstop.

And that is what my focus will be in the days ahead.

But Mr Speaker, if you take a step back, it is clear that this House faces a much more fundamental question.

Does this House want to deliver Brexit? And if it does, does it want to do so through reaching an agreement with the EU?

If the answer is yes, and I believe that is the answer of the majority of this House, then we all have to ask ourselves whether we are prepared to make a compromise.

Because there will be no enduring and successful Brexit without some compromise on both sides of the debate.

Many of the most controversial aspects of this deal – including the backstop – are simply inescapable facts of having a negotiated Brexit.

Those members who continue to disagree need to shoulder the responsibility of advocating an alternative solution that can be delivered.

And do so without ducking its implications.

So if you want a second referendum to overturn the result of the first, be honest that this risks dividing the country again, when as a House we should be striving to bring it back together.

If you want to remain part of the Single Market and the Customs Union, be open that this would require free movement, rule-taking across the economy, and ongoing financial contributions – none of which are in my view compatible with the result of the referendum.

If you want to leave without a deal, be upfront that in the short term, this would cause significant economic damage to parts of our country who can least afford to bear the burden.

I do not believe that any of those courses of action command a majority in this House.

But notwithstanding that fact, for as long as we fail to agree a deal, the risk of an accidental no deal increases.

So the government will step up its work in preparation for that potential outcome and the Cabinet will hold further discussions on it this week.

The vast majority of us, Mr Speaker, accept the result of the referendum, and want to leave with a deal. We have a responsibility to discharge.

If we will the ends, we must also will the means.

I know that members across the House appreciate how important that responsibility is.

And I am very grateful to all members – on this side of the House and a few on the other side too – who have backed this deal and spoken up for it.

Many others, I know, have been wrestling with their consciences, particularly over the question of the backstop: seized of the need to face-up to the challenge posed by the Irish border, but genuinely concerned about the consequences.

I have listened. I have heard those concerns and I will now do everything I possibly can to secure further assurances.

If I may conclude on a personal note, Mr Speaker.

On the morning after the referendum two and a half years ago, I knew that we had witnessed a defining moment for our democracy.

Places that didn’t get a lot of attention at elections and which did not get much coverage on the news were making their voices heard and saying that they wanted things to change.

I knew in that moment that Parliament had to deliver for them.

But of course that does not just mean delivering Brexit. It means working across all areas – building a stronger economy, improving public services, tackling social injustices – to make this a country that truly works for everyone, a country where nowhere and nobody is left behind.

And these matters are too important to be afterthoughts in our politics – they deserve to be at the centre of our thinking.

But that can only happen if we get Brexit done and get it done right.

And even though I voted Remain, from the moment I took up the responsibility of being Prime Minister of this great country I have known that my duty is to honour the result of that vote.

And I have been just as determined to protect the jobs that put food on the tables of working families and the security partnerships that keep each one of us safe.

And that is what this deal does. It gives us control of our borders, our money and our laws. It protects jobs, security and our Union. It is the right deal for Britain.

I am determined to do all I can to secure the reassurances this House requires, to get this deal over the line and deliver for the British people.

And I commend this statement to the House.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2018 Letter to Prime Minister on Poverty

Below is the text of the letter sent by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, to the Prime Minister on 28 November 2018.

Dear Prime Minister,

While Brexit is understandably dominating the political agenda, I am writing to express my disappointment at the Government’s response to the report into poverty in the UK by the UN Special Rapporteur, Professor Philip Alston.

Professor Alston deserves our immense thanks for his work and for highlighting the shocking reality of modern Britain – the fifth largest economy in the world.

However, despite receiving the report more than one week ago, the only formal response from the Government has been supplied by the Work and Pensions Secretary, who expressed disappointment at the language used in the report. Is the Government’s position that it is more disappointed by the language used to describe the poverty in Britain than the alarming facts of poverty in Britain?

It is no surprise that the rapporteur concluded that, “there is a striking and almost complete disconnect between what I heard from the Government and what I consistently heard from many people directly, across the country”. His conclusion comes just two years after another UN rapporteur found the Government’s welfare reforms and austerity policies had led to “grave and systematic violations” of disabled people’s rights.

Child poverty has increased by half a million since 2010. We now have over 4.1 million children living in poverty. Professor Alston concluded that levels of child poverty were “not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster”.

It is imperative that the Government ends the two-child policy in Universal Credit (and the accompanying and shameful ‘rape clause’). In government, Labour would also invest once again in the Sure Start programme and in providing free school meals to all primary school children.

Rough sleeping has more than doubled and the scale of rough sleepers dying on our streets shames any nation that claims to be civilised. This Christmas, over 120,000 children will be languishing in temporary accommodation, without a home to call their own. We have set out how this crisis can be tackled: we will make 8,000 homes available for those with a history of rough sleeping, we will build council housing on a scale not seen for more than three decades, and we will regulate the private rented sector to control rents – which have risen more than £1800 a year compared to 2010.

With over one-fifth of the population (14 million people) living in poverty and 1.5 million destitute, this crisis cannot be ignored and neither can the Government delay taking action. Yesterday, a report by the Trussell Trust found that more people than ever will be reliant on food banks this Christmas, including nearly 600,000 children. Poverty has a debilitating effect on people’s life chances – it is shameful that life expectancy has stagnated and is now actually falling in some of Britain’s poorest communities.

Most children living in poverty live in a working household. In-work poverty is at record levels due to low pay and insecure contracts. Labour believes we must tackle the scourge of low pay by increasing the minimum wage to the level of the real living wage (at least £10 per hour by 2020) and eliminating discriminatory youth rates. The only way to secure and sustain decent pay levels is through strong trade union and employment rights, which is why we would repeal the Trade Union Act and ban zero-hour contracts.

The UN report should be a wake-up call about the rising levels of poverty and destitution that exist in Britain today – this is a national emergency.

Austerity was a political choice and the UN Special Rapporteur has laid out the consequences of your Government’s policies. These policies have hit disabled people, women and BAME communities particularly hard.

Many councils – the democratic local institutions there to support their communities – have seen their budgets slashed by 49% on average since 2010. These cuts have seen libraries, youth centres, and Sure Start centres close in their hundreds. Social services have been slashed and our dedicated public servants, from social workers to youth workers and police, are having to tackle more acute social problems with fewer resources.

The Labour Party stands committed to tackling injustice and to reversing the shocking trends of rising poverty, rising homelessness and rising destitution. If the Government brings forward any or all of the following measures in legislation, we will expedite these through the House of Commons:

• Ending the benefit freeze
• Scrapping the bedroom tax
• Stopping the roll-out of Universal Credit
• Ending the five-week wait for a first benefit payment
• Ending the two child cap and scrapping the rape clause
• Ending the punitive sanctions regime

We cannot stand by while our nation – the fifth richest in the world – is condemned by the United Nations for failing the most vulnerable in our society. The Government is failing to tackle the burning injustices faced by the poorest people in our country, but you can change that – and we are willing to help.

I would also be grateful if you could give the commitment of a date by which the Government will be responding in full to the recommendations in the report.

Given the public interest in this issue, I will be making this letter public. While this Government shames our nation by being condemned for its neglect of its poorest citizens, the next Labour government will be judged by how we reduce poverty, inequality and homelessness – as any government should be.

Yours sincerely,

Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP
Leader of the Opposition

Liam Fox – 2018 Speech on Brexit

Below is the text of the speech made by Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, at Royal Portbury Dock on 30 November 2018.

It’s a pleasure to be here this morning at the Royal Portbury Dock.

As MP for North Somerset, as well as Secretary of State for International Trade, it’s fair to say I have a significant interest in the success of a venture that supports more than 500 jobs in my constituency.

And I can’t help but notice that business is booming.

At the time of the referendum, we were told that just voting to leave the EU would cause such an economic shock that we’d lose half a million jobs, our investors would desert us, and we would require an emergency budget to deal with the ensuing fiscal imbalance.

What’s happened since? We’ve added over 700,000 jobs to the economy, with more people finding work than at any time in the past 40 years.

This upward trajectory shows no signs of slowing. Indeed, the OBR has calculated that we can add another 800,000 jobs without creating inflationary pressure, because there’s still slack in the economy.

In 2017 we saw total UK exports rise by 10.9% compared with 2016.

And what did we sell? We sold almost £50 billion worth of mechanical machinery, £41 billion worth of motor vehicles, £16 billion worth of aircraft and £14 billion worth of medical equipment.

And, as I have to mention on St Andrew’s Day, some £4.3 billion of Scotch Whisky.

So much for Britain not making anything anymore. And that’s before we even consider our world-leading services sector.

Clearly, the vote to leave the European Union has not had the catastrophic effect on our economy that was predicted. Quite the reverse.

Now is the time to raise our sights, and acknowledge that there is a world beyond Europe, and a time Beyond Brexit.

My Department for International Trade exists to look to this world, and plan for that time. Perhaps more than any other part of government, we are mandated to look beyond the process of leaving the EU and to prepare for the open, global future that lies ahead.

The referendum settled the question of our departure from the European Union and our manifesto made clear that we will leave the Customs Union and the Single Market as we do so.

The IMF has predicted that 90% of global growth in the next 5 years will originate outside the EU. So the question is, where do we, as a nation, position ourselves to take advantage of the opportunities that this growth will produce.

Future relationship with the EU

The government has made clear that we want to take a balanced approach to the question of our future trading prospects. We need to maximise our access to the EU market but without damaging our potential to benefit from emerging trade opportunities in other parts of the world.

The 27 nations of the European Union constitute some of our largest trading partners. As a whole, some 44% of this country’s exports of goods and services still go to the EU, although that proportion has been declining over the past decade or so.

The withdrawal agreement, and the political declaration on the future relationship, have put us on the verge of securing a deal with the European Union.

It is a deal that delivers on the result of the referendum, ending vast payments to Brussels, and giving the UK control over our own borders for the first time in a generation.

Of course, the end of free movement does not mean the end of immigration. The UK is always open to those who want to work hard and build a life here. But now, we can offer a level playing field, ensuring that we can admit the people we need to meet business demand, wherever they come from – so it won’t matter if you were born in Marseilles, Memphis or Mumbai. The key difference is that we will set the rules according to what we believe is best for our own country.

Above all else, the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration provide the stability and certainty that businesses crave, as well as a firm foundation on which to continue to operate across the EU.

The political declaration proposes the creation of a free trade area for goods, combining deep regulatory and customs co-operation with no tariffs, no fees, charges or quantitative restrictions across all goods sectors.

This would be the first such agreement between an advanced economy and the EU, a recognition of the unique position of the UK and our economy to those of our European partners.

Ambitious arrangements have been made in the political declaration for services and investment, arrangements that go well beyond WTO commitments and build on recent EU FTAs.

And an arrangement on financial services, grounded in the economic partnership, provides greater cooperation and consultation than is possible under existing third country frameworks.

But we have also been clear that our future relationship with the EU would recognise the development of an independent UK trade policy and not tie our hands when it comes to global opportunities.

We have set out an approach which means the UK would be able to set its own trade policy with the rest of the world, including setting our own tariffs, implementing our own trade remedies, and taking up our independent seat at the World Trade Organization.

FTA Consultations

Perhaps most importantly, during the implementation period, my department will have the freedom to negotiate, sign and ratify new trade agreements. . The Withdrawal Agreement means that, from the 29th of March next year, we can begun to build closer commercial relationships with our closest allies, such as the US, New Zealand and Australia, as well as laying the groundwork for improved market access for UK companies to key global growth economies.

As some of you may know, we recently carried out extensive public consultations on our future FTAs with those three nations, as well as on the UK’s potential accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership – known as CPTPP.

Leaders across these nations have been clear in their endorsement of future trade agreements with the UK.

As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan put it, we would “be welcomed with open arms”. Far from being isolated, Britain will be an ‘in-demand’ trading partner.

Over 14 weeks, we asked businesses, organisations and individuals to tell us what they needed from these FTAs, and how the Department for International Trade can help them to thrive internationally.

The response rate was phenomenal, far exceeding all expectations.

Above all, the exercise demonstrated the interest that exists in the shape of the UK’s future trade policy, right across the country.

How do we take advantage of this groundswell of interest and engagement from businesses and individuals?

The answer is to harness that enthusiasm to boost exports and attract investment to this country. Clearly, businesses the length and breadth of Britain are eager to move into new markets overseas.

If we want Britain to become a global exporting superpower, all we have to do is unlock that potential.

Even before we get to new trade opportunities afforded by new trade agreements there are still considerable export opportunities for British businesses to exploit in existing markets. We still have ground to make up on our international competitors in many of these countries.

Export Strategy

Our new Export Strategy, published in August, is an important first step to doing just that.

I won’t exhaust you with the detail. But suffice to say that the Export Strategy represents one of the most comprehensive export packages offered to businesses anywhere in the world, designed to inform, connect, encourage and finance exporting opportunities for businesses of all sizes.

There are currently over 24,000 live export and investment opportunities on our website. Put simply, the world wants what Britain is selling. Businesses large and small can find these real-time opportunities at great.gov.uk.

Royal Portbury Dock

And the Royal Portbury Dock where we now stand is a perfect example of the dynamic, global outlook that hundreds of thousands of British businesses have already embraced.

In 1991 the dock was owned and managed by Bristol Council, and it was regarded as a ‘white elephant’.

Since the port was privatised almost 30 years ago and reborn as the Bristol Port Company, over £500 million has been invested to turn this into one of the most capable and advanced ports in the United Kingdom.

Each year, the Bristol Port Company handles some 750,000 motor vehicles, 27% of UK aviation fuel imports, 10% of coal imports, and more than 6 million tons of bulk dry goods.

In all, the work done here at Portbury, and at Avonmouth, contributes over £1 billion to the British economy. Now that is something to be proud of.

Integrated imports and exports

This port, and dozens like it across the UK, shows that the UK’s global commercial footprint is not just about what we sell overseas, but also what we import into this country.

It is crucial in ensuring that competition provides consumers with greater choice and at affordable prices.

But in a highly integrated economy it would also be wrong to ignore the huge and necessary role that imports play in the production of goods and services for export – some 23% of all UK exports have some added value or component that originated as an import.

Less than half of this value added originates in EU countries. And it shows how the United Kingdom is already closely linked to global value chains, that extend far beyond the boundaries of Europe.

In the long-term, a global future for an economy as large, diverse and interconnected as ours was inevitable. Our departure from the EU, combining an open, comprehensive trade relationship there, with the possibility of creating new trading relationships elsewhere is the next phase of that journey.

WTO/The changing world of trade

Internationally, of course, a wholesale revolution in the patterns of trade has already arrived. The tectonic plates of global commerce are shifting under our feet. Our future FTAs are hugely important – not least because they are strategic as well as economic tools – but in the long run, it is not what we do unilaterally, or even bilaterally, that will make the biggest difference.

Instead, it is working to update and improve the rules-based international system that governs global trade.

How the multilateral trading environment develops will almost certainly be the most crucial determinant of the degree of trade liberalisation that will occur and consequently the scale of future opportunities.

This is an area in which the UK will play a pivotal role. The world’s fifth-largest economy taking its seat at the WTO, as a powerful and unabashed defender of free trade, will be a key moment for the United Kingdom. It is one of the most important, if seldom mentioned, aspects of Brexit.

With 164 full members, the WTO is the home of the rules-based international system, and the crucible of free and fair global trade.

Yet even they will admit that their current rules are in need of updating.

The fundamental framework of the WTO’s rules has not changed substantially since 1995. A time before the widespread use of business email. A time before internet banking. A time before data became a valuable traded commodity, like cars and steel.

Consider this: back in 1995, if I asked you whether the digital code that I have sold you on the internet to make something on your 3D printer counts as a good or a service, you wouldn’t even begin to understand the question, let alone be able to answer it!

This is an example of how the real economy has moved and outgrown the rules and regulations that still attempt to govern it.

It’s not just the architecture of the WTO itself that needs reform, but also the regulatory framework, which must be flexible enough to move with the new realities of the global economy, updating itself in real time.

The Prime Minister acknowledged this recently in a speech at the Guildhall when she observed that goods as a proportion of UK and global commerce are declining.

This will be a priority as she attends the G20 in Argentina, where she will hold trade talks with world leaders including Argentinian President Macri. The leaders are expected to agree the first ever UK Trade Envoy for the country.

And as the proportion of trade in goods declines, the digital and knowledge economy are racing ahead, as new products and services emerge from the disruption that technology has left in its wake.

The future of world trade has already arrived, and the United Kingdom is ideally prepared to realise all the opportunities of the digital age and embrace the possibilities of communications technology as a commercial tool.

To take just one example, a higher proportion of retail spending takes place online in the UK than anywhere else on earth. More than China or the USA. More than South Korea. More than Japan.

Recent research by PayPal found that in the 12 months to July, 1 in 7 online shoppers globally had bought goods from the UK – more than any other European country.

In fact, overall, they found that the UK was the third most popular country in the world from which to buy goods online, behind only the US and China.

There are few countries that are as prepared for the coming digital economic revolution as the United Kingdom.

The world’s investors already know this – last year, the UK tech sector attracted more venture capital investment than Sweden, France and Germany combined.

The simple fact is that this country is already a genuine world-leader in fields from artificial intelligence, to digital and data trade, to e-commerce and FinTech.

In the knowledge economy, Britain’s shelves are already stacked with what the world wants to buy.

This is not to say that we are falling behind in goods. On the contrary, those same factors that have made us a global powerhouse of the digital economy have enabled us to retain the cutting-edge of advanced manufacturing.

For example, 17% of all the aerospace products sold in the entire world come from the United Kingdom.

Nearly half of the world’s planes are flying on wings that have been designed, engineered or assembled within just a few miles of where we are today, either in Filton or across the water in Wales.

And how do these wings reach their customers in every corner of the world? They are shipped on specialised ferries from right here in the Royal Portbury Dock.

The world beyond Europe, and the future beyond Brexit, starts right here.

And if you want to know if the world has confidence in this new Global Britain, then look at our investment record and see where global investors are choosing to put their money.

According to UNCTAD, in the first 6 months of 2018 the UK was second only to China in terms of FDI, ahead of the United States and data published by Ernst and Young showed that all parts of the UK and all England regions are benefiting with around 50,000 jobs created as a result.

In the 19th Century, Britain became the world’s first free-trading nation. In the 20th century, we helped to design and create the architecture of global trade.

And in the 21st, we will help reshape the rules-based international system through our independent trade policy.

Today I can announce that in April, when we become an independent trading nation once more, I will push for three key things:

Firstly, the UK will aim to revolutionise the rulebook on digital trade. The existing framework of international trade is vitally important to the functioning of the global economy. Yet, as we have seen, all too often its rules are outdated and unfit for purpose, acting as a brake on the digital economy.

There are too many innovative, rapidly growing companies who find it too difficult to operate overseas because of ridiculous barriers like unjustified server localisation requirements.

Our ambition is to negotiate agreements that go further on digital trade than ever before.

To join those agreements, such as the CPTPP, which take digital seriously.

And to work in coalition with other like-minded countries to drive reform on digital services at the WTO.

Secondly, we will put services at the heart of our trade policy.

The mass liberalisation that has reduced barriers on global goods trade, has never been mirrored for services. Yet the UK is an 80% services economy and has huge comparative advantage across the service sectors, from accountancy and legal, to science, research and development.

Services are a huge part of our present, and will be a larger part of our future, and we must play to our strengths, creating partnerships with countries around the world who want what we have to offer.

This is our commitment to the British SMEs of today, so that they can become the digital giants of the future.

And thirdly, we will continue to fight trade protectionism and improve international economic co-operation.

This is not something that Britain will be doing alone. As the political declaration with the EU says, our unique relationship with the EU 27 will ensure that we can work together to improve global trade, while continuing to develop and operate our own independent trade policy.

But our steadfast commitment to the philosophy and practice of free trade is an irreducible element of what we believe and who we are.

The withdrawal agreement and the political declaration will not please everyone, and we have had some tough choices to make. Choices which many in Parliament, on both sides of the House, are yet to face up to.

But the deal we’ve reached will give us a firm and stable base on which to leave the EU and build this country’s global future, a future that still encompasses Europe, of course, but also the wide fast-growing markets beyond, with all the opportunity that entails.

We will maximise our post-Brexit opportunities by helping British businesses take advantage of the considerable untapped potential of existing markets.

We will use our independent trade policy to negotiate new trade agreements and we will use our ability to act independently at the WTO to shape the global trade environment of the future, defending the open, free and fair trade that is crucial to the elimination of poverty, the nurturing of stability and the building block of our collective security.

We are well prepared for the future of world trade. We are embracing all the possibilities of the digital economy.

No other country has the same combination of fundamental strengths that will allow us to thrive in an age where knowledge and expertise are the instigators of success. Our recent export and investment performance show that sceptics have been wrong. Britain is flourishing.

The divisions of the referendum need to be consigned to the past. Now is the time to set aside our differences, and lead our country to a future of freedom, success, and prosperity.

In politics we cannot always have the luxury of doing what we want for ourselves, but we have an abiding duty to do what is right for our country.

Theresa May – 2018 Speech on G20 Summit

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, in the House of Commons on 3 December 2018.

With permission Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on the G20 Summit in Argentina.

But before I do so, I would like to put on record my thanks to President Macri for hosting such a successful Summit.

This was the first visit to Buenos Aires by a British Prime Minister, and only the second visit to Argentina since 2001. It came at a time of strengthening relations between our two countries, when we are seeking to work constructively with President Macri.

Mr Speaker, as we leave the European Union, I have always been clear that Britain will play a full and active role on the global stage, as a bold and outward-facing trading nation.

We will stand up for the rules-based international order.

Strive to resolve with others challenges and tensions in the global economy.

Work with old allies and new friends for the mutual benefit of all our citizens.

And remain steadfast in our determination to tackle the great challenges of our time.

At this Summit, we showed that the international community is capable of working through its differences constructively and the leading role the UK will continue to play in addressing shared global challenges.

We agreed – along with the other G20 leaders – on the need for important reforms to the World Trade Organisation to ensure it responds to changes in international trade.

We pursued our objective of making sure that the global economy works for everyone and the benefits are felt by all.

We called for greater action in the fight against modern slavery and tackling climate change.

And I held discussions with international partners on security and economic matters, including on the progress of our exit from the European Union and the good deal an orderly exit will be for the global economy.

Let me take each of these in turn.

At this year’s Summit I came with the clear message that Britain is open for business and that we are looking forward to future trade agreements.

Once we leave the EU, we can and we will strike ambitious trade deals.

For the first time in more than forty years we will have an independent trade policy, and we will continue to be a passionate advocate for the benefits open economies and free markets can bring.

We will forge new and ambitious economic partnerships, and open up new markets for our goods and services in the fastest growing economies around the world.

During the Summit I held meetings with leaders who are keen to reach ambitious free trade agreements with us as soon as possible. This includes Argentina, with whom I discussed boosting bilateral trade and investment, and I announced the appointment of a new UK Trade Envoy.

I also discussed future trade deals with Canada, Australia, Chile, and Japan – with whom we want to work quickly to establish a new economic partnership based on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.

On the global rules that govern trade, we discussed the importance of ensuring an equal playing field and the need for the rules to keep pace with the changing nature of trade and technology.

There is no doubt that the international trading system, to which the United Kingdom attaches such importance, is under significant strain.

That is why I have repeatedly called for urgent and ambitious reform of the World Trade Organisation – and at this Summit I did so again.

And in a significant breakthrough, we agreed on the need for important reforms to boost the effectiveness of the WTO, with a commitment to review progress at next year’s G20 Summit in Japan.

On the global economy, we recognised the progress made in the past ten years, with this year seeing the strongest global growth since 2011.

But risks to the global economy are re-emerging.

In particular, debt in lower income countries has reached an all-time high of 224 per cent of global GDP.

So I called on members to implement the G20 guidelines on sustainable finance that we agreed last year, and which increase transparency and encourage cooperation.

At this year’s Summit, I continued to pursue our mission to make the global economy work for everyone, and the need to take action in our own countries and collectively to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are felt by all.

Around the world we are on the brink of a new era in technology which will transform lives and change the way we live. This has the potential to bring us huge benefits – but many are anxious about what it will mean for jobs.

That is why in the UK, alongside creating the right environment for tech companies to flourish through our modern Industrial Strategy – we are investing in the education and skills needed so that people can make the most of the jobs and opportunities that will be created.

We made strong commitments to improving women’s economic empowerment, and alongside this I called on G20 leaders to take practical action to ensure that by 2030 all girls – not just in our own countries but around the world – get 12 years of quality education.

To build fair economies and inclusive societies we must tackle injustice wherever we find it. Around the world we must all do more to end the horrific practice of modern slavery, and protect vulnerable men, women and children from being abused and exploited in the name of profit.

Two years ago I put modern slavery on the G20 agenda at my first Summit, and this year I was pleased to give my full support to the G20’s Strategy to eradicate modern slavery from the world of work.

I announced that next year the government will publish the steps we are taking to identify and prevent slavery in the UK Government’s supply chains in our own transparency statement.

This is a huge challenge. Last financial year the UK Government spent £47 billion on public procurement – demonstrating just how important this task is. I urged the other leaders around the G20 table to work with us and ensure that their supply chains are free from slavery, as we work to bring an end to this appalling crime.

On climate change, I made clear the UK’s determination to lead the way on the serious threat this poses to our planet. We need a step change in preparing for temperature rises, to cut the cost and impact of climate-related disasters, and to secure food, water and jobs for the future. As a UN Champion on Climate Resilience, the UK will continue to pursue this agenda at next year’s UN Climate Summit.

Nineteen of us at the G20 reaffirmed our commitment to the Paris Agreement, but it remains a disappointment that the United States continues to opt out.

I also announced that the UK will be committing £100 million pounds to the Renewable Energy Performance Platform, which will directly support the private sector in leveraging private finance to fund renewable energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mr Speaker, this Summit also gave me the opportunity to discuss important matters directly with other leaders and raise concerns openly and frankly.

In that context I met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, first to stress the importance of a full, transparent and credible investigation into the terrible murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and for those responsible to be held to account – a matter which I also discussed with President Erdogan.

And second, to urge an end to the conflict in Yemen and relief for those suffering from starvation – and to press for progress at the upcoming talks in Stockholm.

Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is important to this country, but that does not prevent us from putting forward robust views on these matters of grave concern.

I also discussed the situation in Ukraine with a number of G20 leaders. The UK condemns Russian aggression in the Black Sea and calls for the release of the 24 Ukrainian service personnel detained, and their three vessels.

Mr Speaker, at this year’s Summit we reached important agreements, demonstrating the continued importance of the G20 and international cooperation.

It also demonstrated the role that a global Britain will play on the world’s stage as we work with our friends and partners around the world to address shared challenges and bolster global prosperity.

And I commend this Statement to the House.

Kate Osamor – 2015 Maiden Speech to the House of Commons

Below is the text of the maiden speech made by Kate Osamor, the Labour MP for Edmonton, in the House of Commons on 2 June 2015.

I am most grateful to you, Mr Speaker, for calling me during today’s debate to deliver my maiden speech.

I have dedicated 15 years of my life to the NHS, working as a practice manager in a GP surgery—so I have seen at first hand how hard it is to get an appointment—and as an administrator in an out-of-hours GP co-operative. I will be proud to apply the same principles and values as an MP. I stood for election as a Labour and Co-operative candidate, and now I have the privilege of representing the Co-operative movement in the House. With my colleagues, I hope to bring its principles, values and experience to bear on Members’ deliberations.

Among the distinguished list of my Labour predecessors, I pay tribute to Lord Graham of Edmonton, but my immediate predecessor was Andy Love. He was the eighth Member of Parliament for the constituency and all his predecessors were men, but I have broken that tradition as the first woman to represent Edmonton. I feel most honoured and proud of the responsibility bestowed upon me. It is a measure of the regard in which he was held that Andy Love served for 18 years in this House, and I pay tribute to him. I have big shoes to fill: he was a tireless representative of constituents, and he will be particularly remembered in the House for his advocacy on behalf of Cypriot communities both here and abroad.

The name Edmonton is of Anglo-Saxon origin. The medieval parish was centred on the church of All Saints, the oldest building in the borough of Enfield, which is still in use. There are several other listed buildings in Church Street, such as Lamb’s Cottage, the Charity School Hall, the former Charles Lamb Institute, and some Georgian houses. In the 1970s it was designated the first conservation area in Edmonton and there are now three others. In 1996 the Montagu cemeteries, comprising the Tottenham Park and Jewish cemeteries, were also designated because of their unique landscape qualities.

Fore Street, an historic main road leading north from London, attracted rapid development in the 17th century. As some of the buildings survive, it was designated a conservation area in 2002. The Crescent in Hertford Road was added to the borough’s list of conservation areas in 2008. Besides the buildings in these special areas, there are other listed buildings—St Michael’s church and vicarage in Bury Street, Salisbury House in Bury Street West, and St Aldhelm’s church and Millfield House in Silver Street.

Since the 1960s Edmonton has been transformed from a predominantly white, working-class industrial suburb into a multicultural area through Commonwealth immigration, asylum seekers and the expansion of the European Union in May 2004. Edmonton Green ward has been identified as having one of the highest numbers of working-age adults living on state benefits in the UK. Much of the industry for which Edmonton was famous—furniture making, electrical goods and electronics —has disappeared or moved to greenfield sites. We do not have one dominant employer to bring an end to adult worklessness in Edmonton, but despite the lack of low-skilled jobs on offer, Edmonton has a growing entrepreneurial spirit. A hub of small and medium-sized businesses along Fore Street make the best of things, whatever the circumstances. True community spirit is fostered and rewarded and we see this in the numbers of small businesses within the constituency.

Edmonton is a community of many contrasts. Alongside increasing prosperity, many people suffer considerable hardship and deprivation. Edmonton is a priority regeneration area. Edmonton Green and Angel Edmonton have been identified as town centres that need improvements to make them look and feel like much better places to shop. There are a wide variety of schemes and projects happening in Edmonton under a Labour-run council to ensure that these priorities are delivered.

Regenerating the wider Edmonton area is focused on improving the shopping centres, creating access to new jobs, and improving the education and health of our local people. These plans will also deliver improvements to transport facilities and links to other areas, such as central London. They will improve the quality of and access to open spaces and parks, as well as restoring and maintaining connections with all the historical sites.

Up to 5,000 new homes and 3,000 new jobs will be created by the £1.5 billion Meridian Water redevelopment on a former industrial site. This should be completed by 2026. The improvements to the wider Edmonton area and the plans for Edmonton Green will all come under a Labour-led council. I am happy to report that only yesterday Transport for London appointed London Overground as the train operator to run local train services out of Liverpool Street to north-east London. TfL’s presence will bring immediate improvements to Edmonton Green station, improving security and safety for passengers and disability access. This will improve standards for everybody.

It is a great honour to represent the people of Edmonton and I thank them for electing me as their Member of Parliament. I would like to thank all those who campaigned for me and worked hard to achieve a Labour victory in Edmonton.

Kate Osamor – Statement After Allegations of Her Attacking a Journalist

Below is the text of the statement made on Twitter by Kate Osamor, the Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, following allegations made by The Times newspaper that she threatened one of their journalists.

I am resigning my position as Shadow International Development Secretary to concentrate on supporting my family through the difficult time we have been experiencing.

I remain fully committed to our programme for creating a society that works for the many, not the privileged few, and will continue to campaign for this from the backbenches.

Mark Tami – 2018 Speech on Cancer Treatment

Below is the text of the speech made by Mark Tami, the Labour MP for Alyn and Deeside, in the House of Commons on 22 November 2018.

I am grateful to be granted this debate on psychological support after cancer treatment. I recognise that there will probably be fewer Members here than there have been in the last few hours, but I thank anyone who stays to hear what I have to say.

When we talk about cancer, the conversation often starts with survival. Overall, survival has doubled in the last 40 years in the UK, but we lag behind the best in Europe, and survival rates for certain cancers—such as lung, brain and pancreatic cancer—continue to be extremely low. That means there is, rightly, a drive towards earlier diagnosis and access to new and innovative treatments. However, for most patients, just living is not enough. They want to live well, and that is why we must do more to ensure that patients receive the best possible psychological support after cancer treatment.

It goes without saying that cancer can take a huge emotional toll on patients and those close to them, right from the moment of diagnosis. Less well understood are the consequences of cancer treatment, which can affect patients’ lives on a daily basis and leave them needing support for many years afterwards. No group illustrates that better than stem cell transplant patients.

Every year in the UK, around 2,000 blood cancer patients need a stem cell transplant from a donor to save their life. It is usually their last hope. One third of patients will be lucky to find a matching donor in their families, but the remaining two thirds of patients will require an unrelated donor. The search for a donor can be extremely stressful. Despite the fact that there are more than 1.4 million incredible individuals on the UK stem cell donor register, there are still patients who miss out on the life-saving transplant they need because either no donor is available or a donor cannot be found early enough.

My experience with my son was that we were very fortunate to find a donor. That donor then failed his medical, which was a traumatic experience for the family. Not only were we concerned about what the problem was for the donor, but we did not know whether the donor would return to fulfil that pledge. We will be eternally grateful that he did.

Even when a patient does find a match, this is not the end of their journey. Tellingly, the day of the stem cell transplant is commonly referred to as day zero. First, the patient must spend a number of weeks in hospital isolation to protect them from infection. This alone can be a very difficult experience, with patients often feeling very cut off from the outside world. Things such as patchy wi-fi, poor facilities and rooms without windows do not exactly help with this experience. Hopefully, the patient then begins their recovery, which brings with it entirely new physical, emotional and practical challenges. In fact, of all cancer treatments, stem cell transplant patients experience some of the most severe long-term effects, and it is for that reason that they are often described as patients for life.

To give hon. Members some idea of what it can be like for those living with the long-term effects, approximately half will suffer from graft versus host disease, which is ​when their new immune system attacks their own body. I can certainly say that this is not a particularly pleasant experience, and in the worst cases it can actually kill the patient as well. Patients can also experience infertility, premature menopause, sexual dysfunction, fatigue and problems with their eyes, bones, teeth, joints and muscles, and they are at higher risk of infections and second cancers. In addition, it is not unusual for patients to be left with a range of psychological effects, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. All of this can have an impact on patients’ ability to study and work, and with that can come financial issues and even a loss of their identity. It can be completely and utterly overwhelming.

With all this in mind, it is perhaps not surprising that in response to a survey of more than 300 stem cell transplant patients conducted by Anthony Nolan, the UK’s stem cell transplant charity, nearly half—47%—said that they needed emotional and psychological support, such as counselling or group therapy. It is surprising and even shocking that only half—54%—actually received it.

Let us take some individual cases. Joanna received a stem cell transplant in 2016 to treat acute myeloid leukaemia. It saved her life, but when she got home to her family, she could not get off the sofa or out of bed. It was the worst she had felt since the actual diagnosis. Her daughter was only a teenager at the time, and the caring role of mother to child had to be reversed. In Joanna’s own words:

“I think my lowest emotional time was after transplant. I questioned why I’d gone through this experience and just couldn’t see an end in those first three to four months… I wish there had been more psychological support for me and my family—even though staff tried their best, when I really needed help, it just wasn’t there.”

Joanna’s story is not unique.

Ruth, a teacher from Yorkshire, also received a stem cell transplant in 2016. In the two years since, she has experienced many ups and downs, and she is still dealing with chronic graft versus host disease. For her, this means her eyes are constantly dry, she cannot perform fine motor skills too well and her feet are in constant pain because of nerve damage. Ruth says:

“The biggest downside of my whole transplant experience has been the complete lack of support since leaving hospital. It felt like I was on my own—my GP has offered me nothing. I’m on the waiting list for a counsellor, but it’s very long… I’m surprised you’re not referred to a counsellor as soon as you’re diagnosed.”

As well as those patients who have received transplant, the charity Macmillan has provided me with some other brief personal stories. Let us take Frances, who finished treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma five years ago. She says:

“Emotionally, in the first year after treatment I think I was shell-shocked because you’re trying to catch up with everything that has happened to your body. You feel like you’re a failure and you’ve failed to bounce back in the way you think you should have done.”

Ciara, who finished treatment in 2016, says:

“The fear of cancer never leaves you but I’m trying now to think, if it comes back, it comes back. I can’t live under that shadow. But it is so difficult to mentally recover.”​

Finally, Chris, who finished his treatment for head and neck cancer in 2016 stated:

“People say to me, ‘I bet you wake up every morning feeling glad to be alive.’ You know, it can’t be further from the truth.”

The stories from Joanna, Ruth, Frances, Ciara and Chris affect all cancer patients—they cover everybody.

So what do we need to do? First, psychological support is for everyone, not just those with diagnosed mental health conditions. Secondly, the families of patients should also be offered psychological support, and thirdly, it seems that patients and their families are not getting the psychological support they need. Let me address those points in turn.

First, psychological support is for everyone, not just those with diagnosed mental health conditions such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. That includes patients who are feeling anxious, worried or frightened, and those who are having trouble adjusting to their “new normal”. The fear of cancer returning can be particularly difficult to manage. For example, some blood cancers relapse, which can be a common occurrence. Even if someone is doing physically well, that sense of dread never goes away for them or their family members.

Because of patients’ varied needs, psychological support can take many forms. Clinical psychologists and others working in improving access to psychological therapies services are able to help those with the most complex needs. Clinical nurse specialists, who we know are hugely valued by patients, can enhance overall wellbeing by providing general emotional support based on skilled communication and effective provision of information. The third sector, meanwhile, provides a wide range of services, including helplines, online forums and peer support. There is no silver bullet, however, and many different actors have a role to play.

Secondly, patients’ families should be offered psychological support because they too feel the consequences of cancer treatment. If someone is acting as their loved one’s carer, that can affect their relationship and ability to go about their daily life. They might have suddenly become the family’s main breadwinner, which could be a source of enormous stress. Family members will often feel as if they have to put a brave face on things and somehow do not deserve help because they are not the ones who are ill. In reality, however, patients regularly say that they worry more about their family than themselves and that in turn can affect their recovery. I know from personal experience that the CLIC Sargent nurse who came to us on a weekly basis to give my son chemotherapy was somebody to talk to who understood, and that side of the process was just as important to us as the medicine being given.

Thirdly, patients and those close to them are not getting the psychological support they need. According to the most recent results from the national cancer patient experience survey, only two thirds of patients felt that they were able to discuss their fears or worries, and I hope the Minister will respond to that.

In many cases, this comes down to workforce—either not enough specialists are available who properly understand the consequences of cancer treatment, or the demands on staff time are so great that it is impossible to provide patients with adequate psychological support.​

In response to a 2017 survey of GPs and nurses, 31% of respondents said that workforce pressures mean patients are not being supported to regain a good quality of life after treatment. In other cases, the right support existed but patients are not being appropriately signposted. I have heard of many patients having to be proactive and find help for themselves. Patients should certainly be empowered to take control of their own care, but I think we all agree that this should be a choice and not a necessity. They should not be let down by poor communication and co-ordination, but in many cases they are.

The Minister may refer to the recovery package in her response. It consists of four main interventions: a holistic needs assessment and care plan; a treatment summary; a cancer care review; and access to a health and wellbeing event. This can certainly help to identify patients’ psychological needs and I welcome the fact that NHS England has committed to rolling out the recovery package nationally by 2020. However, does the Minister agree that identifying patients’ needs is only one piece of the puzzle and that more needs to be done to ensure they actually receive the right psychological support?

Marcus Fysh – 2018 Speech on Planning in South Somerset

Below is the text of the speech made by Marcus Fysh, the Conservative MP for Yeovil, in the House of Commons on 28 November 2018.

It is a great pleasure to speak this evening on the planning situation in South Somerset, where my constituency lies. I declare an interest, in that my family own a house in the district. I will talk about a planning saga a little less than a mile away that has been going on for a long time.

Essentially, the community to the south of Yeovil, in the Cokers, as it known, has time and again felt left out of the planning process going on around it. Some might know that the Liberal Democrats have been in power in South Somerset for a very long time. Yeovil was Lord Ashdown’s constituency from 1983. He won the seat having built up a power base in local government. One way or another, many of the individuals in local government are still around in the council. Essentially, South Somerset District Council, which is the planning authority, now has a plan in place, but many people say that it is failing because it does not have a five-year housing land supply. As a result, speculative development has been coming forward.

As a district councillor, I was partly involved in the deliberations around the creation of the local plan and in the planning inspector’s process, so I know the detail of it very well. It was always quite odd to me that the council wanted to push through a higher number of houses than there was evidence for—as I showed at the time—but the planning inspector let the council do so, because the guidance says that if a council wants to do something, we broadly let it. As a result, many people in the district feel that their voice is not being heard very well. The Yeovil area has an area committee system—Area South is the committee that makes planning decisions there—and many of the key committees are heavily dominated by the Liberal Democrats, although we are trying to do something about that and have had quite a lot of success getting Conservatives involved in recent years.

The district council has been seeking bolt-on development to existing towns that often do not have the infrastructure required to cater for such development. The council has not thought more holistically about the potential for new towns on, for example, the A303. It could capitalise on the investment we will be making in the A303 corridor scheme to dual the road all the way between the M3 and the M5. That kind of plan would be a logical way of trying to achieve these ambitious housing numbers. I favour providing enough housing for a new generation to be able to own their own homes, which could also provide business opportunities. There is a huge amount that we could do if we took that holistic approach and looked at ambitious schemes such as garden towns in appropriate locations such as the one I have suggested.

Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP) rose—

Mr Deputy Speaker (Sir Lindsay Hoyle) I am just trying to think—the link between the hon. Gentleman and this topic must be the Irish sea.

Jim Shannon The link is the planning department. I congratulate the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr Fysh) on securing this debate and telling us about the problems ​with the planning department in his area. My local council planning department also takes its own interpretation of planning law as gospel, without giving appropriate weight to job creation and the local economy. Does he agree that weight must be given to the letter of planning policy, but also to the spirit of its aims, such as improving town centre facilities and aiding job creation? With that in mind, I support the hon. Gentleman’s argument.

Mr Fysh I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman’s intervention; it would not be an Adjournment debate without a strong contribution from Northern Ireland. I agree that focusing on and intensifying development in town centres is one of the answers both to finding more housing and to getting more people living in town centres, which means they will be there for the businesses in those locations. Having more eyes on the street makes town centres safer and more people will want to visit them. He is absolutely right. I would love Yeovil to be that kind of town, and part of that virtuous circle.

Not so very long ago, the Conservative party manifesto included the idea of a community right of appeal. There is an understandable impetus not to make things too onerous for developers and to ensure that decisions can be made in a timely fashion. I support that, but it is also key that proper evidence is used to make these decisions in the right way. It is my opinion that, unfortunately, evidence in South Somerset has been cooked up for various outcomes—pre-cooked over decades to make certain things happen that, frankly, the Liberal Democrats have wanted to happen for one reason or another. The community has completely lost confidence in the Liberal Democrats’ ability to make the right decisions on its behalf.

Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater and West Somerset) (Con) It is so nice to see you in the Chair, Mr Deputy Speaker.

My hon. Friend is making some very good points. I have been the MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset for 17 years, and I have never seen South Somerset in the mess that it is now in. The Liberals left us a terrible legacy that started with the noble Lord Ashdown and continued up until David Laws, who has now left the House. Does my hon. Friend agree that it has been a catalogue of disaster over that terrible period for south Somerset? Yeovil is a town that should be thriving—doing really well—but I am embarrassed to say, as a great supporter of my hon. Friend, who is doing a fantastic job, that it does not seem to be.

Mr Fysh I thank my hon. Friend. He is certainly right that Yeovil has its challenges. Part of the problem has been sprawling development, and not particularly good development, that has been approved over the decades that I am talking about. We need to get a virtuous circle working in the other direction. The town has enormous potential and it has great industries in it. It needs a Conservative leadership in the district council next year to be able to achieve its potential and really contribute to the south-west’s growth.

I want to spend a little time going through some of the big saga that happened to the south of Yeovil. Essentially, at the back end of the ’80s, or very early in ​the ’90s, there was a graded asset near a farmhouse that was falling down. The district council, being responsible for such things, did not want to spend the money on it and got its friend who was a developer to buy it, in an area that was not scheduled to have development around it. Who knows what really happened, but I suspect very strongly that the council made commitments to him that they would get him planning permission and on that basis he would do the renovations to keep the building standing. That, I think, is the origin of the problem that is down there.

This area is a really, truly special part of the country with international and international heritage value. It has the village of East Coker, where T.S. Eliot is buried in the church. He wrote one of his most famous poems about the village and the landscape. There are ancient Roman ruins throughout. There are two of the closest together Roman villas, which is a very unusual archaeological configuration, apparently. Those two villas became the manors of East Coker and West Coker in later times. They have a tremendously rich and fertile soil and history.

William Dampier was born in the village. He was an extremely important person in botany, science and literature. He cut his teeth investigating why different plants grew in different parts of the Vale of Coker, which he was farm managing for various of his boss’s tenants. That is what got him thinking about why certain things grow differently in certain places. Then, when he did his second navigation of the world later in his life, he made all his drawings in his botanical notebooks and wrote about them. That was the inspiration that Charles Darwin took with him when he went around the world in the Beagle doing exactly the same thing, so there really is a very strong heritage in evidence there.

Yet the district council has never, ever ascribed any value to that whatsoever. When it did its landscape and heritage assessments of this area for development, it gave absolutely no value to the farm that was next to the graded asset or to the whole setting, including those Roman villas. There was no drawing together of the threads and the context. Frankly, that is a disgrace, because we are talking about proper national heritage. T.S. Eliot was the most famous poet of the 20th century. His words in that poem will live for as long as the English language lives. People absolutely should go and visit the church in East Coker to see where his memorial is, and to see the memorial to William Dampier. It is an extraordinary place.

The council got the developer to buy that land and said that it would give him planning permission. When the A37 was being expanded to the south of Yeovil, it then gave him a roundabout that was contiguous with the land he had bought, in order to get access to the putative development that it had in mind. That was done entirely at the behest of the county councillor for the area at the time, who is now in the House of Lords—Baroness Bakewell. She suggested that roundabout, which was going to benefit the developer to a huge financial degree, and she made it happen through her friends in the county council. The leader of the district council at the time was having an affair with the chair of the environment committee in the county council.

There are wheels within wheels in South Somerset, and this has been going on for an awfully long time. There is the evidence of the roundabout. The developer ​made a contribution of £100,000 to the county council to get it done under a section 278 agreement—that is in black and white. Unsurprisingly, the community was more than upset and confused at how unusual that was when it found out.

The council has continued to give favours to this developer over time. It tried initially to promote a big logistics park on the site. That did not go forward because the community opposed it, but the council then came up with the idea of developing the site for housing. When it was assessing the site in the process leading up to the more recent local plan, it decided to give a zero rating on the community infrastructure levy, so that it would not have to pay anything to the community. The whole point of the Localism Act 2011 was that development in the community would give some benefit to the community, to spend in ways that it wanted. None of that will happen if this site gets developed, because of that CIL derogation, which benefits this developer substantially.

In the planning process, the council gamed the highways evidence. It gamed the housing demand evidence, to ensure that this site would be one of those that it had to consider. It gamed the landscape evidence, and then it gamed the historic environment assessment evidence by not taking account of the settings of all the graded assets. There is a higher concentration of graded assets in that valley than almost anywhere else in the country. It is so rich and has such a history; it is quite an extraordinary place.

The district council made a statement of common ground with the developer, and it was only on that basis that English Heritage allowed it to remove its objection from the local plan process for the whole site, and that was on the basis that it was going to be a reduced size and only up in the corner. The council said that it would not develop on a field that is adjacent to one of the scheduled ancient monuments—the Roman villa, which was on the at-risk register at the time because of development potential. On the basis of that statement of common ground, the council got English Heritage to remove it from the at-risk register.

Then the council got the planning inspector to change his final report on the local plan. I have copies of the documents. His original report was basically going to say that he was approving the local plan allocation for the whole site because it was not in proximity to the scheduled monument. However, I have in writing, too, the council saying to him that the field is in fact adjacent to the monument. That was taken out, which materially changes the meaning of the report.

I personally think that this closeness between councils and the Planning Inspectorate is a structural problem that the Ministry should look into. It is not appropriate for these sorts of things to go on behind closed doors. No information was released, even under the Freedom of Information Act, until after it was judicially reviewable, which is a disgrace. It is understandable that, in this context, the process does not smell right at all and I would support the community in saying that.

The council is now trying to get its friends on the county council—because it is all about politics from way back when—to shift the school site to the very field adjacent to the scheduled ancient monument. I am very pleased to say that Historic England has just submitted an objection to the planning application, on the basis that that is absolutely not what it agreed when it released ​all these things, given all the reliance placed on the statement of common ground that allowed the site to come forward in the first place.

Essentially, on a policy basis, we need to look at how communities can challenge the substance of some of this stuff, other than with the normal route of politics. Everyone says, “Well, just vote people out”, but that is not realistic in a place where there is a safe seat or a safe council. In these sort of incidents, it is only on a procedural basis—if there is something wrong with the actual process—that individuals can bring a judicial review. If the council has not divulged the information about the material way in which decisions were made by the decision maker, which it did not do, and we are out of time, what do we do?

Both because it is a nationally important heritage asset and because there are public policy grounds, including the very welcome new powers to protect heritage in the national planning policy framework––we should try to elucidate and clarify some of these things––this planning application is a very good candidate for calling in. I would like it to be called in and, to put my hon. Friend the Minister in the picture, I will be making an application to do so in the coming days. I have taken more time than I promised I would, but I thank hon. Members for listening.

Mel Stride – 2018 Speech on Leaving the European Union

Below is the text of the speech made by Mel Stride, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, in the House of Commons on 28 November 2018.

Today the Government published the analysis of the economic and fiscal effects of leaving the European Union, honouring the commitment we made to the House. It is important to recognise that the analysis is not an economic forecast for the UK economy; it only considers potential economic impacts specific to EU exit, and it does not prejudge all future policy or wider economic developments. The analysis sets out how different scenarios affect GDP and the sectors and regions of the economy against today’s arrangements with the European Union. Four different scenarios have been considered: a scenario based upon the July White Paper; a no-deal scenario; an average free trade area scenario; and a European economic area-type scenario. Given the spectrum of different outcomes, and ahead of the detailed negotiations on the legal text of the deal, the analysis builds in sensitivity with effectively the White Paper at one end and a hypothetical FTA at the other.

The analysis shows that the outcomes for the proposed future UK-EU relationship would deliver significantly higher economic output, about seven percentage points higher, than the no-deal scenario. The analysis shows that a no-deal scenario would result in lower economic activity in all sector groups of the economy compared to the White Paper scenario. The analysis also shows that in the no-deal scenario all nations and regions of the United Kingdom would have lower economic activity in the long run compared to the White Paper scenario, with Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland all being subject to a significant economic impact.

What the Government have published today shows that the deal on the table is the best deal. It honours the referendum and realises the opportunities of Brexit. [Interruption.] It is a deal that takes back control of our borders, our laws and our money. [Interruption.] Let me be very clear to the House and to those who say that the economic benefits of staying in the EU mean that we should overturn the result of the referendum: to do so would open up the country to even further division and turbulence, and undermine the trust placed by the British people in our democracy. What this House and our country face today is the opportunity presented by the deal: a deal that honours the result of the referendum and safeguards our economic future; or the alternative, the risk of no deal or indeed of no Brexit at all. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Order. Somebody said something about “dishonest”. No Member should accuse another Member of being dishonest in this Chamber. I am not quite sure who I heard, but that must not be repeated. This is a disagreement between right hon. and hon. Members, and colleagues must remember that.

John McDonnell The Chancellor promised us that the House would have a detailed economic analysis of the options ahead of the meaningful vote on Brexit. ​The least we could expect is that, instead of touring the broadcast studios, the Chancellor would be here himself to present an oral statement on the information.

Let us be clear. We are now in the ludicrous position of seeing an analysis produced today on the economic implications of Brexit, which is in fact largely an assessment of the Chequers proposals abandoned months ago. What the analysis produced by the Treasury today shows us is that if a no-deal scenario with no net EEA migration comes to pass—something the Government have recklessly, if incredibly, been threatening—we could see GDP almost 11% lower compared to today’s arrangements. Under the hard Brexit some Government Back Benchers have been promoting, it would be 7% smaller. Only a Chancellor who talks about “little extras” for schools would talk about this kind of effect as being “a little smaller”.

Can the Minister confirm that no deal is not an option the Government will allow to happen? Does the Minister agree that the one thing this document shows is that the deal on the table is even worse than the abandoned Chequers deal? Have the Government done any analysis whatsoever of the actual proposed backstop arrangements and will they be published in advance of the vote in a few days’ time? What fiscal assumptions is the Department making about extending the transition period, given that there may be no limit to what the European Union could ask for in return for such an extension? To be frank, if the Minister’s Government are not prepared to put jobs and the economy first in their Brexit negotiations, is it not time that they stepped aside and allowed Labour to negotiate that deal?

Mel Stride Let me deal first with the point the right hon. Gentleman made about the Chancellor. The Chancellor is of course accountable to this House. He will be appearing before the Treasury Committee on Wednesday to give full account of the arrangements we are discussing today. Indeed, the Prime Minister herself will be appearing before the Liaison Committee.

The right hon. Gentleman raised the Chequers deal and the fact that analysis is being based around that in this paperwork. That is entirely appropriate given that, as he will know, the political declaration suggests a spectrum of possible outcomes for the arrangements. That is why we not only analyse the Chequers proposal, but have a sensitivity analysis around that proposal as well.

The right hon. Gentleman raises the issue of a no-deal scenario. It is the Labour party that is pushing us more in the direction of a potential no-deal scenario by—I have to say it—deciding for its own political reasons to object to the deal we have put forward. To be clear, that deal is good for safeguarding the economic future of our country and it delivers on the 2016 referendum, giving us control of our borders, our money, our laws and ensuring we protect the integrity of the United Kingdom, while allowing us to go out and make future trade deals. This Government are totally committed to achieving that.

Rory Stewart – 2018 Statement on Prison Operator Services Framework Competition

Below is the text of the statement made by Rory Stewart, the Minister of State at the Ministry for Justice, in the House of Commons on 29 November 2018.

At the Justice Select Committee on 26 June, I reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to building up to 10,000 modern and decent prison places to replace old, expensive and unsuitable accommodation, modernising parts of our prison estate.

Also at the Committee, I confirmed the intention to launch a competition to appoint a framework of prison operators from which we could select the operator for the new prisons including further prisons following expiry of current private sector contracts.

Today I can announce the launch of the Prison Operator Services framework competition through a notice which will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) within the coming days.

Securing a framework of operators should reinvigorate the prison market by encouraging new providers to enter the custodial arena. It will also enable MoJ to more effectively and efficiently manage a pipeline of competition over the next decade. Once part of the framework, operators can choose to compete in shorter ‘call off’ competitions for the operation of individual prisons.

The first of these call-off competitions will be for the operation of the new build resettlement prisons at Wellingborough and then Glen Parva. These are being built using public capital, with construction expected to begin in late 2018 and late 2019 respectively.

HMPPS will not bid in the competition but will provide a ‘public sector benchmark’ against which operators’ bids will be rigorously assessed. If bids do not meet our expectations in terms of quality and cost, HMPPS will act as the provider.

This competition is not about the difference between the public and private sector. It is about driving quality and innovation across the system. I am clear that through this competition we expect bidders to provide high quality, value for money bids that deliver effective regimes to meet the specific needs of prisoners. Our aim being to help them turn their lives around to prevent reoffending.

This Government remains committed to a role for the private sector in operating custodial services. The competition launched today will seek to build on the innovation and different ways of working that the private sector has previously introduced to the system. The sector has an important role to play, and currently runs some high-performing prisons, as part of a decent and secure prison estate.

We will ensure, through the procurement and contract management processes, that we have sufficient measures in place to have confidence in the delivery and maintenance of the contracted prisons over their lifetime.

A balanced approach to custodial services provision, which includes a mix of public, voluntary and private sector involvement has been shown to introduce improvements and deliver value for money for taxpayers.

The launch of the Prison Operator Services Framework underlines this Government’s commitment to reform the prison estate, build much-needed prison places, improve standards of decency across the estate, and reduce reoffending.