David Lidington – 2018 Statement on the Infected Blood Inquiry

Below is the text of the statement made by David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in the House of Commons on 2 July 2018.

On 8 February 2018, I announced the appointment of Sir Brian Langstaff to chair the infected blood inquiry. From the outset, Sir Brian has been clear that he is determined to put people at the heart of the inquiry and to ensure an inclusive and transparent process.

Sir Brian and his team conducted a public consultation on the proposed terms of reference for the inquiry, which ran from 2 March to 26 April. They invited contributions via an online questionnaire, email, written correspondence and telephone. The inquiry team also held 15 meetings with groups and individuals across the UK, and Sir Brian is keen for the inquiry to continue to do that as it moves forward.

The inquiry received almost 700 responses to its consultation and Sir Brian, having reflected on those consultation responses, wrote to me on 7 June to advise me of the outcome and of his recommendations for the terms of reference. The terms of reference are comprehensive and reflect the key points made during the consultation.

The geographical scope of the inquiry is UK-wide. The inquiry will look at issues relating to the whole of the UK, as well as regionally. Sir Brian expects the inquiry team to hold regular meetings across the UK. I have therefore consulted, as I am required to do under the Inquiries Act 2005, with the devolved Administrations of Scotland and Wales and, in the absence of a Northern Ireland Executive, with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who, in turn, consulted the permanent secretary of the Northern Ireland Department of Health. The Governments of Scotland and Wales, and my right hon. Friend, were content with Sir Brian’s recommendations, and I am happy to accept his recommendations without amendment. I have written to Sir Brian to confirm this.

The terms of reference have been published and deposited in the Libraries of both Houses today. The inquiry can now formally begin its work; it will start today—2 July 2018. Sir Brian proposes to use groups of experts to assist the inquiry. Those groups would cover all the material fields relevant to the inquiry. Their evidence would be public, transparent and subject to scrutiny. People affected, and other participants to the inquiry, will be able to propose experts and put forward questions to the expert groups.

During the inquiry’s public consultation, views were expressed both for and against the appointment of additional panel members. Some, noting the complex and difficult issues to be examined by the inquiry, wanted a panel of many experts to assist the chair. It is Sir Brian’s view that his proposal for expert groups will achieve the objectives of those who have been in favour of panel members by providing legitimacy and transparency, a diverse range of expertise and, importantly, speed. Sir Brian’s view is that experts will be able to progress work in parallel in a way that co-determining panel members could not and that, very importantly, everything the expert groups will do will be public. Sir Brian plans now to discuss this proposed approach with those who will most centrally participate in the inquiry, particularly survivors and the groups representing them, and to ask ​them whether, in the light of the proposed approach, there remains any significant wish for him to be joined by a decision-making panel. Sir Brian has asked me to defer a decision on panel members until core participants have been appointed and have had the opportunity to consider the proposed approach.

I am aware that when my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Damian Green) met people affected before Christmas last year, many supported the idea of the chair sitting alongside other panel members. I have not lost sight of that, but I think it is only right that I allow Sir Brian time to consult core participants. I therefore do not propose to appoint other panel members at this time, but I will consider the issue once core participants have had an opportunity to look at Sir Brian’s proposed approach. Of course, section 7 of the 2005 Act allows me to make further appointments to the inquiry panel during the course of the inquiry, with the consent of the chair. Speed is of the essence, and I have asked Sir Brian to report back to me as quickly as possible; I will then make my decision on panel members.

Many thousands of people from across the United Kingdom have been affected by this terrible tragedy. Sadly, a number of those affected have died since the inquiry was announced. One of the clearest messages from the inquiry’s consultation was the need for speed. In his letter to me, Sir Brian noted that one respondent to the consultation had said:

“I really hope this Inquiry does not drag on as I would like to live long enough to see the result”.

It is extremely important that the infected blood inquiry can complete its work as quickly as a thorough examination of the facts allows, and this is something that Sir Brian and his team are very aware of.

This inquiry is a priority for the Government, and I have assured Sir Brian that the Cabinet Office will provide all the resources and support that the inquiry needs to meet the demanding timescales that are essential in order to meet the expectations of people affected by this tragedy, who have already waited so long for answers. The inquiry will have much to do over the coming months, and I am sure it will waste no time in getting started. The first stages of the inquiry will be critical for obtaining evidence, including witness statements from people who have been infected and affected. The inquiry will use this evidence to help to uncover what happened and why. It will hold its preliminary hearings in September at Church House, London, where core participants will be able to set out their priorities for the inquiry. My exchange of correspondence with Sir Brian and the full terms of reference have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, and I commend this statement to the House.

David Lidington – 2018 Speech to CBI Scotland

Below is the text of the speech made by David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, to CBI Scotland on 11 May 2018.

Thank you Paul for that kind introduction – and thank you everyone for that very generous welcome.

Before I start, and on behalf of everyone here, can I pay tribute to Paul, your tenure with the CBI, and for everything you have done on behalf of the thousands of businesses across the UK.

Leading this organisation through two general elections and a referendum on our membership of the European Union would be a tall ask for anyone, but you have kept the CBI at the forefront of our national debate – and it is fair to say you have kept the UK Government permanently on our toes.

And so for that I thank you, and wish you all the success in the future.

It is a pleasure to be with you today, and to have the great privilege of addressing CBI Scotland. And it is also a pleasure to be back here in Edinburgh.

Whenever I visit this great city, I am constantly reminded of the weight of history that is all around us.

Edinburgh isn’t simply a thriving, modern capital within our United Kingdom.

It is the cradle of so much that our country, and indeed Europe, can celebrate in terms of philosophy, literature, architecture, poetry and political thought.

It is the birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment, a period in our history when pragmatism, reason and freedom of thought rose to the fore.

And so it is the proud home of many of our finest intellectual figures, such as Adam Smith, whose statue stands proudly just a few streets away from here, and whose legacy continues to remind us of that virtue of choice that is so integral to our economic way of life and wellbeing.

That is what I want to touch on very briefly with you this lunchtime: the importance of making choices – not just in the economic sense, but in the political sphere too.

The choice to leave the EU

Because politics is ultimately about having preferences and making choices.

Left or right; conservative or socialist; liberal or protectionist; Unionist or Nationalist; I guess Hearts or Hibs; even Celtic or Rangers – it is the virtue of having different choices which makes democracy something we must always cherish and respect.

I am sure there are many of you here who voted to Remain in the European Union nearly two years ago. As many of you will know, I also fought hard for such an outcome.

But on June 23rd 2016, the British people made a clear choice to leave the European Union and forge a new and different path for ourselves in the world.

Now it is incumbent all of us, both individuals and governments, not just to accept that choice as democrats – and not merely to understand why the British people made that choice – but to minimise the risks and seize the opportunities that this choice presents.

Now there will be those here in this room who, for perfectly understandable reasons, have concerns about the challenges we face – and want nothing more than certainty and clarity as negotiations proceed.

But you should be in no doubt of the resolve of the UK Government to respond to those concerns and deliver a Brexit that prioritises certainty and clarity for businesses and consumers in all four parts of our union.

Update on negotiations

And as negotiations proceed, that is precisely what we are doing.

We have already agreed a fair deal on citizens’ rights, ensuring that EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals can get on with their lives broadly as they are now.

We’ve agreed a good financial settlement for British taxpayers, made in the spirit of our future partnership with the EU.

We’ve agreed a Joint Declaration with the EU that makes clear our mutual determination to preserve the Common Travel Area, avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and uphold the totality of relationships embodied in the Belfast Agreement, both East-West and North-South.

And we’ve reached agreement with the EU on an implementation period, providing that certainty and clarity for people and businesses so they will only see one change when we enter into a new relationship with the EU in the future.

So while these are real achievements we have made in the interests of businesses and individuals across our country, we must now look to build our future economic partnership with the European Union.

In her speech at Mansion House in March this year, the Prime Minister set out her aim for a deep and comprehensive partnership in which:

trade between the UK and the EU would be as frictionless as possible

UK regulatory standards remain at least as high as the EU’s

and in which there is no hard border on the island of Ireland

She also made clear that one important objective in building that partnership would be to seek a new customs arrangement with the European Union.

At Lancaster House in 2017, the Prime Minister said that we will be leaving the EU’s customs union, its Common Commercial Policy, and the Common External Tariff.

But she also said that we do want to have a customs agreement with the EU. As she said, we have an open mind on how: it is not the means that matter, but the ends.

And that is why last year, we set out two potential options for what this new customs arrangement might be.

Option one was a customs partnership between the UK and the EU, in which the UK would mirror the EU’s requirements for imports from the rest of the world, applying the same tariffs and the same rules of origin as the EU for those goods arriving in the UK and intended for the EU.

The other option was a highly streamlined customs arrangement, in which we would jointly agree to implement a range of measures to minimise frictions to trade.

This would include waivers for goods moving between the UK and the EU, “trusted trader” schemes, specific exemptions for small businesses, and online systems – such as for customs declarations to be made far from the border, as is already the case with VAT declarations when VAT regimes between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are different.

But whatever option we are discussing, our objectives remain the same:

for trade at the UK-EU border to be as frictionless as possible

with no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland

and for us to conduct our own trade policy and sign free trade agreements that will benefit businesses and consumers here in Scotland, as well as those in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland too

And I am pleased to say that, despite what you may have read, this work is now nearing completion.

So as negotiations continue, these are choices that will have the best interests of Scottish businesses and consumers at their heart, and the need to provide clarity and certainty as soon as possible for you all.

Importance of the UK common market

Because this is a long road that has many different twists and turns, as we together journey out of the European Union.

But as negotiations continue on that future deep and special partnership we all want to see, we must not forget the need for certainty and clarity here at home as well.

It is why the UK has a responsibility, through our modern industrial strategy, to improve living standards, spread prosperity and promote growth around all parts of our country, and ensure we are match fit for the next wave of technological change that is fast approaching.

For example, our Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is providing £795 million for potential innovators, and we are working to ensure as many Scottish bidders as possible are successful.

And we are investing in new City Deals – which have been committed to or agreed for all seven of Scotland’s cities – as well as a Borderlands Growth Deal to help secure prosperity in southern Scotland. We have also opened formal negotiations for the Ayrshire Growth Deal.

But it is also why the UK has a deep-seated responsibility to maintain the integrity of our union.

When I spoke in North Wales earlier this year about the value of our union, I emphasised the importance the UK Government places on preserving the common market of the United Kingdom – what many of you may refer to as the “internal market” or the “UK single market” that comprises Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

I also emphasised why it is so crucial that our businesses and consumers face no new internal barriers to conducting their business on the day of our exit in March next year.

For it is only by maintaining the coherence of that common market – and keeping barriers to trade within it to an absolute minimum – that businesses and consumers in all parts of our union can continue to benefit.

Preserving that common market is exactly what the EU Withdrawal Bill, currently making its way through Parliament, will do.

It will make sure that, as we carry out the delicate process of transferring European Union law back onto the UK statute book, we do so as smoothly as possible…

The current regulatory and legal framework will remain in place, but on a UK rather than an EU legal footing.

If and when we wish to move away in future from the current rules, we can do so in a considered and deliberate fashion, taking account of consultation with business.

So it will make sure that when we leave the European Union in March next year, we do so in a way that avoids a damaging cliff-edge for businesses, firms; factories, industries and consumers alike – so that businesses have certainty from day one of our exit.

And on devolution, the Bill will make sure that, as this process is carried out, we retain the ability to keep common and temporary UK frameworks where necessary, while we work on the long term solution – such as one set of package labelling and hygiene rules, instead of four different ones.

The Bill respects the devolution settlement – but stops short of giving any part of the UK a veto over that temporary mechanism.

This has always been a red line for us.

For if one part of the UK has a veto over the ability to establish a common framework across the rest of the UK, it could be used to undermine this common market we all, everyone in this room, prospers from.

And the message we have from business is that the UK common market is vital to their growth and prosperity.

For Scottish businesses trade four times as much with the rest of the UK as they do with the EU.

And as businessmen and women you want to be sure that your factories in Paisley and farms in Perthshire will be able to continue selling their goods freely to customers in Preston and Swansea and Londonderry.

And not only will the temporary preservation of common frameworks guarantee certainty for businesses trading within the United Kingdom – it will mean that, with a clear set of commonly-recognised standards, we can agree those new trade deals with the global growth markets of tomorrow as well.

Indeed, when I visited China just last month, I saw first-hand how hard our network of embassies around the world work to promote both UK and Scottish exports, such as the finest Scotch Whisky, of which 61 per cent of exports go to countries outside the EU.

I even had the pleasure of seeing the First Minister during my visit to China, who was also using the network of UK embassies to promote Scottish goods overseas.

And just this morning I was visiting Diageo here in Edinburgh hearing about the breadth of ambition the industry has to reach new and emerging markets and build on the strength of the internationally renowned quality of Scottish food and drink.

And during my last visit to Scotland in January, I also visited a Marine Harvest factory in Rosyth, specialising in salmon sales and learned that not only do they sell to every part of the UK, but export the fish heads to China and the skins to Thailand, where they are made into crisps.

That is why having a successful domestic market and competitive global markets are complementary to one another, and why the UK Government is committed to delivering directly for Scottish businesses and consumers.

Put simply, respecting and preserving the United Kingdom common market is to uphold one of the fundamental expressions of the constitutional integrity that underpins our existence as a union.

But put even more simply, any attempt to undermine that common market would represent a self-inflicted blow to the thousands of firms who owe their prosperity to its success.

Clause 11 negotiations

Now I am well aware from the conversations I have had with Scottish and Welsh businesses that what they care about is what all this means for business – and whether it provides the certainty they need.

That is why all of us – Westminster, Cardiff and Holyrood – have worked hard to identify only those absolutely essential areas where we agree that UK-wide frameworks are needed.

And of course it is worth underlining that we already have UK-wide frameworks in all these areas right now.

Our approach as we leave the EU however, is to see the vast majority of powers returning from Brussels bypass Westminster entirely.

Indeed, we have moved a considerable distance in the spirit of compromise and collaboration so as to ensure we reach a deal with the Scottish and Welsh Governments that not merely respects the devolution settlements and improves upon them, but also upholds the Sewel Convention and provides the certainty that businesses require.

That is why I was pleased that the Welsh Government, in this spirit of pragmatism, recently agreed to our approach, and to recommend the Welsh Assembly give legislative consent to the Withdrawal Bill.

As the Welsh CBI, the Federation of Small Business in Wales, and the Farmers Union of Wales have all made clear, this deal is very good not only for the Welsh economy and its people, but for the whole of the UK too.

And as the First Minister for Wales himself said this week: “the nature of an agreement is that you come to ground that you believe to be common ground”.

I am glad that thanks to the joint work of the three governments there is now far more common ground between all.

The door is still open

But it is also why it is disappointing that the Scottish Government still does not feel able to sign up to our proposals and deliver that certainty for businesses.

Of course, it is now for the Scottish Parliament to decide what view it wants to take on the compromise we have reached, and that we have now agreed with the Welsh Government.

So that is why I say to the Scottish Government – and to the Scottish Parliament – the door is still open.

At a stroke, they can join the Welsh Government – who have also put so much into getting us to this stage – and recommend to the Parliament here in Holyrood that we should end any lingering question of legal uncertainty for businesses in all parts of the UK.

Indeed, just a couple of weeks ago, the Food and Drink Federation Scotland, Scottish Bakers, and the Scottish Retail Consortium all emphasised the importance of the UK common market.

How it benefits Scotland’s businesses enormously by lowering costs and increasing efficiency and how it also benefits Scotland’s consumers by providing more choice and keeping prices down.

And as the Scottish Government themselves have agreed, it makes sense for there to be frameworks applying across the UK in some areas.

But no matter what the Scottish Government decides, I want to reiterate that the UK Government is committed to acting in accordance with the Intergovernmental Agreement that – even now at this late stage – is open to the Scottish Government to sign up to.

Scottish businesses can see this in black and white: our Intergovernmental Agreement is public for all to see.

You can have that certainty and clarity that we will work to agree the approach needed to protect our vital common market, and that we will respect – in full – the devolution settlements as we do so.


So as we all face choices, the Scottish Government also faces a choice.

But I am confident that, if we work together, we can and will forge a path that fully respects the democratic choice the United Kingdom made two years ago while maximising clarity and certainty wherever we can for our families and businesses not just here in Scotland, but across our whole country.

For our union is strongest when each of its constituent parts is strong and working together.

As I have said before, the unity that exists between our four nations gives us a scale of ambition that none of us could possess alone.

But this ambition can only be realised if we do work together, and make those choices that are truly in the national interest.

For together, we are a union that is greater than the sum of its parts.

A country that can remain a strong, global leader.

A United Kingdom at home.

And an active, force for good in the world.

Thank you very much.

David Lidington – 2018 Speech on Brexit

Below is the text of the speech made by David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, in 26 February 2018.

It is a pleasure to be with you all this afternoon in Broughton and I want to thank Airbus for their hospitality today.

This company is a great success story for Wales, for the United Kingdom and for Europe: the biggest private sector employer here in Broughton, but with two-fifths of its workers commuting each day from homes in England and part of a European enterprise now operating in five continents and employing people from 130 different nationalities. Airbus is a vivid example from the business world of how diversity in unity can make for global success.

Those same characteristics have defined the success of the United Kingdom.

The different nations that make up our country have had a long, often uneasy history. The castles just a few miles down the road from here at Chirk, Holt and Caergwle remind us of ancient quarrels.

But the shared experience and solidarity of our four nations at times of great success and grave danger alike have come to represent one of the most powerful and enduring symbols of freedom, liberty and democracy anywhere in the world and the proudest citizen of Aberdeen, Plymouth, Coleraine or Broughton can take huge pride in also being part of the United Kingdom – a union greater than the sum of its parts.

And now, as we prepare to leave the European Union, preserving and strengthening that union of the United Kingdom matters more than ever.

As we negotiate a new deep and special partnership with our friends and neighbours in Europe and forge a new role for the United Kingdom in the world, we must work for a future that fosters wealth-creation, opportunity and innovation in every part of the United Kingdom, and which strengthens the sense of security, belonging and solidarity in all communities, building a country that really does work for everyone.

And we as a country are at a crossroads in our history.

We face a choice: a choice that represents the difference between a prosperous, secure nation that is united at home and stronger abroad, and a poorer country that is divided at home and a weaker player on the global stage.

Now let me be clear at the outset: this choice is not about whether we leave the European Union.

As many of you here will know, I voted and campaigned hard to remain in the EU – as did many people in this country.

But I recognise as indeed do our 27 partners that people in the UK took a democratic decision to leave the EU – and that is what we must now focus our energies on delivering, seeking to minimise the risks and to seize the opportunities.

So the choice is therefore not whether we leave, but how we choose to do so.

We could leave as a nation divided; a country split; an economy disjointed – struggling to forge a unified consensus on the way ahead.

But there are opportunities too – opportunities we can seize if we come together, unite, and develop into that stronger, global Britain which we can be.

There were many different reasons why people voted to leave the European Union in 2016.

But reflecting on that campaign, I think that above all else, people throughout this country sought to regain a feeling of control, not just control over our laws, but over our lives too, and the people we elect into office.

And when you talk to people on the doorstep, it’s clear that that vote expressed not just a rejection of membership of the European Union, but a demand to bring decision making and accountability closer to home, to restore a sense of belonging in communities, a feeling of connection between the elector and the elected.

So yes, we have to ensure, as we are determined to do, that Brexit means more powers going to the devolved governments and not fewer.

But I believe too that to renew that sense of connection between citizen and government, we need to press on too with our broader mission to devolve greater freedom, more power to act to cities, towns and counties in all parts of the United Kingdom. And I hope that the devolved governments will choose to take that approach too. After all, for someone in Broughton or Llandudno or Welshpool, Cardiff can seem as distant as London; from the perspective of Orkney, priorities may look very different from those of Central Scotland.

Our aim should be nothing less than to see our entire country coming together and having their voices heard. It means people here in Wales, as well as in Scotland, Northern Ireland and England – and it means our villages, towns cities and communities throughout the United Kingdom all having a voice too.

Our commitment to devolution

At the heart of the Conservative political tradition is both patriotism, loyalty to the special, shared union of the United Kingdom, but also a commitment not just to individual rights but to the vital importance of family and community, of village, town and county in enabling individual men and women to find meaning, value and fulfilment in their lives.

As Edmund Burke put it more than 200 years ago:

To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link by which we proceed to love of our country and of mankind”.

I suspect that most of us here derive our sense of who we are from many different sources – from our family, from where we live, perhaps from a sports club, choral society or community group that we support, in many cases from our religious faith, and of course from our nation.

And in the United Kingdom we know that there is no contradiction between being an ardent Welsh or Scottish patriot and being a committed supporter of the Union. If I needed any reminder of that truth, it was when the Secretary of State for Scotland was gloating to me about the rugby result on Saturday.

Looking back to the last century, I think – being honest – that my party was too slow to recognise that the increasing calls for devolution and decentralisation represented a genuine shift in public mood.

But I think if you look at our record in government in the last eight years demonstrates that we have got the message.

The two Scotland Acts, in 2012 and 2016, have made Holyrood one of the most powerful parliaments of its kind in the world.

City deals in Scotland – backed by more than £1 billion of UK Government spending – have now either been agreed or committed to for all of Scotland’s seven cities.

The Wales Act is delivering a stronger, fairer, more accountable devolution settlement for Wales.

City deals for Cardiff and Swansea and the future North Wales Growth Deal are supporting the industries and jobs of tomorrow.

The passage of English Votes for English Laws at Westminster means that MPs representing English voters rightly have the final say on issues which matter directly to them and their constituents.

We have created new combined authorities with elected mayors across England – putting power firmly in the hands of local people in the West Midlands, the West of England, Tees Valley, Cambridgeshire, Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield.

And this government will continue to strive to restore devolution in Northern Ireland, and will remain fully committed to the Belfast Agreement. We will continue to govern in the interests of all parts of the community in Northern Ireland, and to uphold the totality of relationships embodied in that agreement, both East-West and North-South. And we shall stand by the commitments in the Joint Report between the UK and the European Union that was agreed in December last year.

But while we can take pride in that record of decentralising power, we can and should go further to drive forward both the economic and the political regeneration of our country.

So we are working with local authorities to help them co-ordinate their own economic plans with our UK-wide national industrial strategy – bringing together local businesses and leaders to deliver growth, enterprise and job creation in every part of our country.

We are supporting combined authorities located around our English cities to adopt elected mayors, should they wish to do so.

We will bring forward a Borderlands Growth Deal – including all councils on both the Scottish and English sides of the border – to help secure prosperity in southern Scotland.

We will build on the future North Wales Growth Deal by also fostering opportunities between Welsh cities and the rest of the UK, for example by linking economic development opportunities in Cardiff, Newport and Bristol.

And we have committed to looking at a city deal for Belfast.

Our commitment to the union

Now at the same time, we are unapologetically committed to the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.

So, alongside those initiatives to bring more powers closer to the people, we are working to ensure that the institutions and the power of the United Kingdom are used in a way that benefits people in every part of our country.

For a country that not only has a shared past, but continues today to draw strengths from all parts of the union.

There are more than 31,000 UK civil servants are based here in Wales, including in our new UK Government Hub in Cardiff.

Eight out of ten goods lorries leaving Wales go to the rest of the UK, highlighting the importance of our United Kingdom wide market.

Bombardier’s factory in Belfast has a supply chain of 800 companies throughout the UK and Ireland, supporting thousands of high-skilled jobs.

It is from the Department for International Development’s joint headquarters in East Kilbride, Scotland that the ‘United Kingdom’s international work to vaccinate children against killer diseases, to educate girls and to provide clean water and sanitation to people who desperately need it is being driven.

And of course our base on the Clyde, home to thousands of shipbuilding jobs, is central to the UK’s defence capabilities.

Put simply: we are all more prosperous and more secure when we all work together for our common good as one United Kingdom.

Now leaving the EU presents many challenges for our centuries-old union story – and opportunities too.

And some want to use it as an excuse to loosen these ties that bind us together – even sever them completely. Such an outcome would leave every one of our four nations both weaker and poorer.

Why we need frameworks

The task before us isn’t an easy one, it is complex.

How do we allow greater control across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland over the things that affect them separately – while preserving the things that affect us all collectively as we return powers from Brussels to the United Kingdom.

How do we ensure that a new wave of devolution delivers for the people of Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland – but at the same time protects the essence of our union?

For a start, we have all – the UK government and the devolved governments together – agreed that we will need to have frameworks that break down which powers should sit where once they have returned from Brussels.

And that is a sensible and constructive approach – because these powers are not all the same.

Some are very obviously for the devolved governments and parliaments to exercise, and don’t need any involvement on a UK-wide basis.

For example, the devolved governments are best placed to manage the safety and quality of the water they drink, as well as looking after and caring for their natural environment.

At the same time, there are other powers that are yes for the devolved governments to shape according to their own needs or ambitions and where they don’t need legislation to underpin how what they do relates to the other nations of the UK, but where it would still be in everybody’s interests to agree a looser form of cooperation – such as Memoranda of Understanding – between the devolved and UK governments.

For instance, we will need to continue to work together on important domestic policy areas, for example by ensuring that a vital organ donated by someone in one part of the UK can be used to treat a patient in another part of the United Kingdom.

Now those powers should rightly be devolved, not centralised – and that is the offer we have put forward on the table.

But on the other hand, some powers are clearly related to the UK as a whole and will need to continue to apply in the same way across all four nations in order to protect consumers and businesses who buy and sell across the UK, in all parts of what we might call the United Kingdom’s common market. That market is one of the fundamental expressions of the constitutional integrity that underpins our existence as a union.

The Government will protect that vital common market of the UK. And by retaining UK frameworks where necessary we will retain our ability not only to act in the national interest when we need to, but to do so with a unity of purpose that places the prosperity and security of all of our citizens, no matter where they’re from or where they were born, to the fore.

For example, at present EU law means that our farmers and other food producers only need to comply with one set of package labelling and hygiene rules.

Four different sets of rules in different parts of the UK would only make it more difficult and more expensive for a cheesemaker in Monmouthshire to sell to customers in Bristol or for a cattle farmer in Aberdeenshire to sell their beef in Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Now these are everyday issues affecting how people live their life – they are issues that people in the UK expect us to get on and agree in the clear interests of families and businesses in every part of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland alike.

So that is exactly what the UK government stands ready, waiting and willing to do.

They are the steps that will ensure the United Kingdom’s market continues to work as it always has done:

to ensure that the factory in Paisley can continue to sell freely to Preston;

that the family firm in Swansea can continue to buy supplies from Swindon;

and customers in Londonderry can still place their order in Leeds, without any extra red tape or expense.

And I want to say one thing further. The Prime Minister has been clear throughout the negotiations with the European Union that we want to preserve the standards that protect employment and workers rights, to deliver consumer protection, and safeguard the environment.

And that means keeping these high standards across the whole of the United Kingdom, and for our part as the United Kingdom government, we are committed to working in partnership with the devolved governments to ensure those standards are universal in all four parts of our country.

Clause Eleven

Now, it is fair to say that the road to agreeing how we go forward together has not always been a smooth and straight one.

I, along with my predecessors in the Cabinet Office and the Secretaries of State for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, have engaged closely with the devolved governments in order to understand their concerns and to respond to them.

Those concerns have been expressed clearly – and often forthrightly – throughout those conversations!

But we have continued to talk – both at political and official level – and, even more importantly, we have continued to listen.

The Prime Minister’s first visit after entering Downing Street was to Edinburgh.

Two of my first phone calls upon moving across to the Cabinet Office last month were to the Deputy First Minister of Scotland and the First Minister of Wales.

I met them both in person during my first weeks in this role, in Cardiff and in Edinburgh – to underline my personal commitment to engaging constructively and striking the agreement that is in all our interests.

While they have always acknowledged that the Government has said we want to see many of the powers from Brussels go straight to the devolved governments, there has been a question throughout about what our starting point should be.

Should those powers sit at a UK-wide level while we agree the future frameworks?

Or should they sit at a devolved level while we then agree the future frameworks?

The Government has listened to the different points of view – from the Scottish and Welsh Governments, from Welsh and Scottish colleagues in both Houses of Parliament at Westminster and to views expressed in the devolved parliaments.

And just last week, we held constructive discussions in London where we put forward a considerable offer. A commitment that the vast majority of powers returning from Brussels will start off in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast – and not in Whitehall.

And let me be in no doubt: this would mean a very big change to the EU Withdrawal Bill that is before Parliament and a significant step forward in these negotiations.

It would put on the face of the Bill what we have always said was our intention: wide-ranging devolution not just away from Brussels, but from Westminster too.

And if accepted, this offer puts beyond doubt our commitment to a smooth and orderly departure from the European Union, in a way that doesn’t just respect the devolution settlements, but strengthens and enhances them.

So our proposal is to amend the Bill before Parliament to make clear that while frameworks are being agreed, the presumption would now be that powers returning from the EU should sit at a devolved level.

Westminster would only be involved where, to protect the UK common market or to meet our international obligations, we needed a pause – I stress pause – to give the governments time to design and put in place a UK-wide framework.

As I have said before, we expect to be able to secure agreement with the devolved governments about what frameworks should – or should not – apply to each power.

And where powers do need to be returned to a UK-wide framework, we will maintain the ability for the UK Parliament to legislate to do so.

Just as the current provisions within the EU Withdrawal Bill on releasing powers to devolved governments are intended to be by consensus and agreement with the devolved governments themselves, so we should expect this new, inverted power to operate in the same way – by consensus and by agreement.

Nor would this proposed arrangement prevent the devolved governments from doing anything that is already within their competence.

At the same time, our proposal offers an important protection too. It would ensure that, if there were not to be an agreement – and not having an agreement on a framework would put at risk the smooth and orderly exit that we all need – the UK Parliament could protect the essential interests of businesses and consumers in every part of the Kingdom.

A deal is there to be done.

So I am clear that it is in the interests of all parts of the United Kingdom to agree a way forward that:

fully respects the devolved settlements.

preserves the integrity of the United Kingdom market.

and maintains the UK’s ability to secure an agreement with the European Union on our future partnership.

Our new proposal is a reflection of the seriousness of our desire to strike agreements with the devolved governments.

Our seriousness about delivering more powers to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, while at the same time ensuring there are no new barriers for people across the nations of the United Kingdom.

So families can continue to buy and sell freely, so businesses won’t face extra bureaucracy and higher costs, so people face minimal disruption to their everyday lives, and maximum certainty that things can carry on as normal, as we look ahead to the future.

So I hope that the talks that are now continuing between the UK and devolved governments will lead in coming weeks to an agreement that can be taken forward in the EU Withdrawal Bill and which we can all welcome as being to our mutual benefit.

Seizing the opportunities

And so as we look to the future, this is the balance that, working together, we can strike a strong and fair devolution settlement for our devolved partners, with powers sitting at the most appropriate level and common UK frameworks where necessary, with our constitutional integrity intact.

By making that kind of agreement, we can truly become that United Kingdom we need to be here at home – and that greater, stronger United Kingdom abroad.

For that is the task we now face. Building a global Britain that is fit for the future, equipped not only to tackle head on future global challenges, but confidently seize the new opportunities available to us as well and so when we do speak and act on the world stage we do so with one authoritative voice, which reflects and represents the interests of all four nations. A country that has the strength and flexibility needed to survive, and indeed thrive on the international stage.

And with our considerable existing strengths, I am confident this future can be a secure and prosperous one:

We are the sixth largest economy in the world, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, the biggest European defence spender in NATO, with significant military capabilities and a proven readiness to deploy them in defence of our interests. A key player in a highly developed set of security relationships such as Five Eyes.

Our country has:

One of the best diplomatic services in the world and one of it’s biggest aid and development programmes.

We have world leading universities that attract the best talent from around the globe; more Nobel Laureates than any country bar the United States; a globally competitive economy, with some of the most exciting burgeoning industries such as digital and fintec; a language that is the language of the world, and, thanks to institutions like the BBC and the NHS, the greatest soft power of any nation on the planet.

But just imagine if we spoke with four conflicting voices: each would be weaker, fainter and misheard as our global competitors shouted louder with a strong, single voice, and a divided country at home would be weaker, less secure, and less prosperous overseas.

The unity that exists between our four nations gives us a scale of ambition none of the four of us could possess alone.

We need to use our collective economic clout and the experience and reach of our diplomatic network in the United Kingdom to sell Scotch whisky and engineering expertise, Welsh cheeses and mini-computers, buses and linens from Northern Ireland right around the world.

And maintaining the common market of the United Kingdom will give us the heft to lead the charge for common regulatory standards at a global level. Having the right framework in place at home means we can be at the forefront of developing the new regulatory environment we need for the exciting technologies of tomorrow.

And what we want is innovators and producers right across Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland to be able to get ahead of the curve and edge ahead of their global competitors.

And it’s also by sticking together that we’ll be able to provide global leadership, discharging our international obligations, standing up for human rights, democratic values and the rule of law and defending the rules-based international order that is so vital to our security and our prosperity together.


It would be easy to loosen the bonds that connect us.

But with a strong, fair devolution settlement that ensures powers and decision-making are exerted as close to people as is practical, I believe a sense of trust can be restored between the people of the United Kingdom and those they choose to govern on their behalf.

And with common frameworks in place that maintain the integrity of our union, we can ensure that we continue to speak with that powerful voice globally.

Each of those two principles strengthens the other.

So let us seize the moment and focus on that prize that is on offer:

a union greater than the sum of its parts; a country that remains a strong, global leader; a United Kingdom at home, and an active, force for good in the world.

Thank you very much indeed.

David Lidington – 2018 Statement on the Infected Blood Inquiry

Below is the text of the statement made by David Lidington, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, in the House of Commons, on 8 February 2018.

I am announcing today the appointment of Sir Brian Langstaff to head the public inquiry into the infected blood scandal. The inquiry will be established under the 2005 Inquiries Act, with full powers, including the power to compel the production of documents, and to summon witnesses to give evidence on oath.

In relation to the appointment of the chair, the Lord Chief Justice was asked to recommend a judge who, in his view, would be best suited to the task. The Lord Chief Justice recommended Sir Brian Langstaff: a highly respected and hugely experienced High Court judge. I have accepted the Lord Chief Justice’s recommendation.

Sir Brian will be the full-time chair of the inquiry from 1 May following his retirement from the High Court. However, in order that those who have been affected by this tragedy face no further undue delay, he will use the intervening period to conduct a further consultation on the inquiry’s terms of reference.

The infected blood scandal of the 1970s and 1980s was an appalling tragedy that should never have happened. The victims of this tragedy who have endured so much pain and hardship deserve answers. It is crucial that their views are properly reflected in the inquiry’s terms of reference. Sir Brian will want to listen carefully to the voices of those that have suffered before making a recommendation to me on what the scope of the inquiry should be. I will return to Parliament with the final terms of reference as soon as this process has been completed.

The Government will ensure that the inquiry has the resources that it needs to complete its work. The inquiry will, of course, also be independent of the Government.

It is very important that the inquiry can identify why and how this tragedy occurred and provide answers for all the victims who have suffered so terribly, and can identify lessons to be learned so that a tragedy of this scale can never happen again.

David Lidington – 2018 Statement on Carillion

Below is the text of the statement made by David Lidington, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, in the House of Commons on 23 January 2018.

On Monday 15 January 2018 I notified the House of the steps taken by the Government in regards to the compulsory liquidation of Carillion plc.

Throughout this unfolding situation the Government have prioritised the continued delivery of public services. Taxpayers should not, and will not, bail out a private sector company for private sector losses or allow rewards for failure.

The failure of this company has understandably caused concern for many people over their jobs, their pensions and their local services. The court has appointed an official receiver from the Insolvency Service who has taken control of the delivery of public services contracts and we are supporting them to do so. We will support the official receiver to provide these services until a suitable alternative is found, either through another contractor or through in-house provision.

I would like to provide further reassurance that all employees working on public services should continue to turn up to work, as they have been doing since the announcement of the liquidation, confident in the knowledge that they will be paid for the work they are providing.

In order to safeguard our public services, we have been implementing contingency plans that have been developed since July 2017. Since I last updated the House, there has been no significant disruption to service delivery in schools, hospitals, prisons, defence and other public services as staff have continued to provide services. We have been engaging with all devolved Administrations with exposure to Carillion to ensure that robust contingency plans are being implemented.

A number of Carillion’s joint venture partners such as Kier, Eiffage, Balfour Beatty, KBR, Amey and Galliford Try have committed to stepping into the respective public sector contracts to ensure continuity of these vital services. Public sector construction sites have been secured and construction will begin following the appointment of a new contractor. I would like to express my thanks to all those who have worked hard to ensure the continuity of public services.

Over 90% of Carillion’s private sector facilities management service customers have indicated that they will provide funding for the official receiver to maintain interim services while new suppliers can be identified to deliver these, ensuring the retention and employment of staff on these contracts. In addition, we are making sure the usual level of support from Government to affected employees is available from Jobcentre Plus, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), HMRC and also dedicated websites from the Insolvency Service.​

At present, seven Carillon pensions schemes, covering 6,000 members, have moved to the pensions protection fund assessment period, this occurs automatically when all the sponsoring employers become insolvent. The remaining 21,000 members are in schemes which have at least one sponsor not in insolvency, and are therefore not in the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

Where pensions have moved into the PPF, the PPF is making sure current pensioners continue to receive their pensions at 100% of their usual rate, and are assessing the eligibility of Carillion’s pension schemes to enter the PPF to protect current employees’ future pensions. We have also set up a special additional helpline with the Pensions Advisory Service for members of Carillion’s pension schemes (0800 7561012). We have responded to over 500 calls to the Pensions Advisory Service line since it opened last week.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has worked with the Education and Skills Funding Agency to ensure funding is available to support former Carillion apprentices. Over 1,400 apprentices have been contacted and the CITB is offering every former Carillion apprentice a face-to-face session with CITB Apprenticeships to find out their individual learning needs. To date, the CITB have matched 400 Carillion apprentices to new employers, and they continue to assess the industry offers they have received to find placements for the remaining Carillion apprentices.

HMRC will provide practical advice and guidance to affected businesses in Carillion’s supply chain through its business payment support service (BPSS). The BPSS connects businesses with HMRC staff who can offer practical help and advice on a wide range of tax problems, providing a fast and sympathetic route to agreeing the best way forward and addressing immediate concerns with practical solutions. HMRC has also offered to provide affected families with cash support through the tax credit system and has published details on how to contact them to arrange.

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Greg Clark), the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (John Glen) and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Andrew Griffiths) met with several banks on 17 January 2018 to seek assurances that they will support small businesses affected by Carillion’s liquidation. Lenders are contacting customers and, where appropriate, are putting in place emergency measures, including overdraft extensions, payment holidays and fee waivers to ensure those facing short-term issues can be helped to stay on track. Three lenders have made a fund of £225 million available to support small businesses exposed to Carillion’s liquidation. Furthermore, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has set up a taskforce to monitor and advise on mitigating the impacts of Carillion’s liquidation on construction firms, particularly SMEs and those working in the sector. He chaired the first meeting of the taskforce on 18 January 2018 and will be holding a further series of meetings with stakeholders in the coming weeks.

The official receiver has also taken immediate action to stop severance and bonus payments to former directors. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has written to the Insolvency Service and the official receiver asking that the statutory investigation into the conduct of Carillion’s directors is fast-tracked ​and extended in scope to include previous directors. He has also asked the Financial Reporting Council to conduct an investigation into the preparation of Carillion’s accounts past and present, as well as the company’s auditors.

Officials in my Department have been in touch with various Members’ offices last week following their queries through the dedicated helplines we set up. I shall be holding drop-in sessions for Members to meet with Cabinet Office Ministers and relevant officials to answer any further queries. Alongside ministerial colleagues, I will keep the House updated on this ongoing situation.

David Lidington – 2018 Statement on Carillion

Below is the text of the statement made by David Lidington, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, in the House of Commons on 15 January 2018.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I wish to make a statement to update the House on the situation relating to Carillion Plc.

Today the directors of Carillion concluded that the company is insolvent and that it is going into liquidation. The court has appointed the official receiver as the liquidator. It is regrettable that Carillion has not been able to find suitable financing options with its lenders, and I am disappointed that the company has become insolvent as a result. It is, however, the failure of a private sector company and it is the company’s shareholders and lenders who will bear the brunt of the losses; taxpayers should not, and will not, bail out a private sector company for private sector losses or allow rewards for failure.

I fully understand that both members of the public and particularly employees of companies in the Carillion group will have concerns at this time, and the Government are doing everything possible to minimise any impact on employees. Let me be clear that all employees should continue to turn up to work confident in the knowledge that they will be paid for the public services they are providing. Additionally, in order to support staff—and in this instance this will apply to staff working for the private sector as well as for the public sector contracts of the Carillion group—we have established a helpline using Jobcentre Plus through its rapid response service.

The Government are also doing everything they can to minimise the impact on subcontractors and suppliers who, like employees, will continue to be paid through the official receiver. The action we have taken is designed to keep vital public services running, rather than to provide a bail-out on the failure of a commercial company. The role of the Government is to plan and prepare for the continuing delivery of public services that are dependent on these contracts, and that is what we have done.

The cause of Carillion’s financial difficulties is, for the most part, connected not with its Government contracts, but with other parts of its business. Private sector contracts account for more than 60% of the company’s revenue, and the vast majority of the problems the company has encountered come from these contracts rather than the public sector.

Our top priority is to safeguard the continuity of public services, and we have emphasised that to the official receiver. We are also laying a departmental minute today notifying the House of a contingent liability incurred by my Department in indemnifying the official receiver for his administrative and legal costs. The official receiver will now take over the running of services for a period following the insolvency of the company. The Government will support the official receiver to provide these public services until a suitable alternative is found, either through another contractor or through in-house provision. The court appointment of the official receiver will allow us to protect the uninterrupted delivery of public services—something that would not have been possible under a normal liquidation process.

The official receiver is also under a statutory duty to investigate the cause of failure of any company. He is under a duty to report any potential misconduct of the ​directors to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. My right hon. Friend has asked that the investigation look not only at the conduct of the directors at the point of the company’s insolvency but also at that of any previous directors, to determine whether their actions might have caused detriment to the company’s creditors. That includes detriment to any employees who are owed money. The investigation will also consider whether any action by directors has caused detriment to the pension schemes.

Carillion delivered a range of public services across a number of sectors, including health, education, justice, defence and transport, and in most cases the contracts have been running successfully. We have been monitoring Carillion closely since its first profit warning in July 2017, and since then we have planned extensively in case the current situation should arise. We have robust and deliverable contingency plans in place. These are being implemented immediately to minimise any disruption and to protect the integrity of public service delivery. Other public bodies have been preparing contingency plans for the contracts for which they are responsible. The majority of the small number of contracts awarded after the company’s July profit warning were joint ventures, in which the other companies are now contractually bound to take on Carillion’s share of the work. For example, the Kier group, one of the joint venture partners for HS2, confirmed this morning in a release to the stock exchange that it had now put in place its contingency plans for such an eventuality.

I recognise that this is also a difficult time for pension holders. The Pensions Advisory Service has set up a dedicated helpline number for staff and pensioners who have concerns about their pensions. Those who are already receiving their pensions will continue to receive payment from the various pension funds, including the Pension Protection Fund. For those people who have started an apprenticeship programme with Carillion, the Construction Industry Training Board has set up a taskforce to assist apprentices to seek new employment, while also working with the Education and Skills Funding Agency to find new training placements. The official receiver will be in contact with all apprentices. Companies and individuals in the supply chain working on public sector contracts have been asked to operate as usual. Normally, in the event of a company going into liquidation, the smaller firms working for it move across to the new contractor when it takes on the work.

The private sector plays an important and necessary role in delivering Government services—something recognised by this and previous Governments of all political parties. Currently, 700 private finance initiative and private finance 2 contracts reflecting capital investment of up to approximately £60 billion are being delivered successfully, and we also have a number of service provision contracts being delivered successfully by a range of companies. Such contracts allow us to leverage the expertise of specialist providers and to deliver value for money for taxpayers. I would like to reassure the House that we are doing all we can to ensure the continuity of the public services provided by Carillion and to support an orderly liquidation of the company.

I shall write to all right hon. and hon. Members today to summarise the situation and to inform colleagues of a helpline for the use of Members and their staff to provide answers in the fastest possible time to any ​constituency problems that may arise. Along with other ministerial colleagues, I shall keep the House updated on developments as the official receiver starts to go about his work. I commend this statement to the House.

David Lidington – 2017 Speech at Launch of TheCityUK Legal Services

Below is the text of the speech made by David Lidington, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, on 23 November 2017.

It’s a pleasure to be here today at the launch of TheCityUK’s Legal Services report for 2017, and can I add my thanks also James to you and Herbert Smith Freehills for hosting this event.

Every year, your report holds a mirror up to our legal services sector. In doing so, it allows us to reflect upon the strengths and successes of this country’s formidable and world-leading legal services.

This year I think the findings of the report should serve as a source of great pride and satisfaction for those who work in our legal services. It is also an important reminder to all of us, of the enormous contribution legal services make – not just to London, but to all the nations and regions of the United Kingdom – and I welcome in particular the focus of the report on the wider contribution the sector makes to the country. It’s particularly apposite given that the new Lord Mayor in his speech to the Guildhall last week part of his role should be to promote the City.

We can look at the contribution of the sector in a number of ways:

– to jobs: legal services employ over 300,000 people across the country, two thirds of these outside London. James mentioned Belfast but he could just as readily have mentioned Edinburgh, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool.

– to the economy: directly contributing around £24 billion last year with a trade surplus of £4 billion, and more broadly, underpinning the wider business and financial sectors.

– but I don’t think either we should neglect what I would term the contribution to the UK’s soft power, our global reputation: our legal services market is one of the top, most admired and respected anywhere in the world.

Legal services and EU exit

Now for the government, we are committed to protecting and promoting the legal services sector – the benefits that its energy and vibrancy bring to the economy and the country.

The report rightly raises the potential impact of EU exit on our legal services. I understand there is a real appetite from the sector for the government to make more announcements about where we are in the negotiations. I get that from your clients’ perspective, one of the biggest deciding factors on whether to use English law to govern their contracts is the enforceability of decisions.

I’ll say now what I said when I spoke at TheCityUK Advisory Council earlier this month, the government is committed to securing continuity and certainty for business as part of the exit negotiations. And that includes taking seriously, and giving a high priority to securing, market access for the legal services sector, and ensuring we have ongoing civil judicial co-operation after we leave the European Union – something that I believe is profoundly in the interests of families and individuals in this country but to the corporate sector and tens of thousands of families in the EU too.

I recognise that, as in any negotiation, there is uncertainty about the precise outcome that will be secured, but I want to reiterate the government’s commitment to ensuring that we have an outcome that protects and promotes our legal services. In particular, that means seeking an outcome that replicates the existing principles with the European Union, for example by incorporating the Rome I and Rome II regulations into domestic law and by continuing our participation in the Hague and Lugano conventions.

And I am highlighting to my counterparts across the EU27 – and shall do so again at the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in early December – how vital this is for individuals, families and businesses across Europe.

Legal services are built on firm foundations

As we go through these negotiations, we should not lose sight of the fact that our legal services in the United Kingdom are built on strong and deep foundations. They are underpinned by a strong commitment to the Rule of Law, by the certainty and clarity of Common Law in England that has evolved over centuries and by an independent, impartial and incorruptible judiciary that is recognised and respected across the world. These strengths make the United Kingdom a hugely attractive destination for litigants and legal service providers alike, now and in the future.

‘Legal Services are GREAT’

But in a globally competitive marketplace, where I’m all too conscious that other countries and other jurisdictions are contending for legal business, we must ensure that the United Kingdom’s legal heritage, expertise, innovation and prowess in legal services and the benefits of having disputes settled here is plain for potential clients to see.

That is why, in October, we launched our international ‘Legal Services are GREAT’ campaign. Now the ‘GREAT’ campaign has an interesting history. It was devised by David Cameron to take advantage of the spotlight on this country as a result of the Olympics and Paralympics being held here. It will showcase the expertise of our legal services, the integrity and experience of our judiciary and the benefits of using English Common Law to a global audience that will help us build stronger links with both established but also emerging markets.

The message of the campaign is simple: the United Kingdom is home to the best legal services in the world. Whether that’s London as a global centre for dispute resolution, or Scotland and Northern Ireland as world-leading centres in their own specific areas of distinct legal expertise.

As the 2017 report makes clear, technology and innovation in legal services will be key to ensuring the United Kingdom stands out. That’s why the government, building on the success seen in the Fintech sector, is ensuring that new and innovative legal technologies are embraced and supported. These have the potential to drive down costs, improve quality and fundamentally transform how services are used.

One such example is smart contracts, which are expected to increase trust and certainty, and reduce friction in the performance of business and other contractual agreements. Smart contracts will have a profound impact on the delivery of legal services and the government is exploring how we can use these new technologies to ensure that English law and UK courts remain a competitive choice worldwide.

The data and insights that are included within TheCityUK’s legal services reports are vital tools in our promotion of these messages and in determining our global standing and I’d like to thank TheCityUK for all of the work that has gone into this year’s report.

UK legal services and future trade

The ‘Legal Services are GREAT’ campaign is an important part of our global message about the incredible assets and services that the United Kingdom offers. It’s a message, too, about our future trading ambitions. It’s about ensuring our legal services can both take advantage of and support our future trade arrangements beyond EU exit.

The government is taking a significant step in preparing to leave the European Union by making arrangements for our future independent trade policy, and legislation will be introduced and debated in Parliament in the next 12 months to ensure the necessary statutory underpinning of that trade policy.

Trade is a key driver of growth and prosperity. International trade is linked to many jobs; it leads to higher wages and contributes to a growing economy.

That’s why we are committed to ensuring that our world-class legal services serve as catalyst for future trade, and that the crucial role they play in underpinning the growth of wider business is maintained and understood.


So I welcome TheCityUK’s work on this with its own vision for a transformed, world-leading legal services industry.

That vision sees the United Kingdom continuing to offer a clear and consistent system of law, with a sector that is highly digitalised and innovative….one where London continues to be an international hub for finance and legal services, but where there are also regional centres that serve as specialist hubs.

I have no doubt that the strong and deep foundations on which our legal services are built, combined with the innovation and vision within the sector to embrace new opportunities and new technologies, mean that we will see our legal services not just lead the world, but continue to be the envy of the world. Thank you very much.

David Lidington – 2017 Speech on Parole Board 50th Anniversary

Below is the text of the speech made by David Lidington, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, on 6 November 2017.

I think that the Butler Trust has marshalled a star-studded turnout. It’s right that after 50 years we should show our appreciation of the Board’s important work and its strong and inspiring leadership. I want to congratulate both Nick Hardwick and Martin Jones for getting this vital body into good shape as it enters its sixth decade. I think that the Board today is energetic, it’s faster-moving, it’s toned and conditioned. If you like, it’s following the regime that a doctor would wish every fifty year old would undertake.

Now before I go any further, I know you heard this morning from Mark Johnson about his experience of prisons and probation. And I wanted to start by sharing with you the thoughts of a ‘lifer’ who was talking about the impact on him of a Parole Board oral hearing.

He said this, he said: ‘I think it’s important that every lifer be given the opportunity to speak to the people that make decisions on their life… A bit of paper is flat and emotionless and expressionless. It’s open to interpretation and anyone can read what’s said, but when I’m here and I’m talking and I’m responding to what you’re saying and if you have any doubt you can question me on that doubt – that is the benefit. ‘

It also…made me feel a lot better about me, that at least I’ve gone in there and I’ve put my point of view across…And these people now have something more to contend with than a dead bit of paper…it was satisfying in that respect.’

Now, as is the case with all ‘lifers’, this man had no chance of being freed until the Parole Board had assessed the risk that he posed to the public. The Board’s work is pivotal to the future of offenders and to the wider criminal justice system. It supports the government’s priorities to protect the public and prevent there being more victims, while supporting prison reform by encouraging offenders to turn over a new leaf in the hope of a move to open conditions or release.

And the Board has made great strides of late, listing more cases each month and bringing down the backlog faster than predicted. I also welcome in particular the additional focus on IPP prisoners, five hundred and seventy-six of whom were released last year – that’s the highest annual figure since IPP sentences were introduced in 2005. HMPPS has been working closely with the Parole Board to help speed up progress, and it’s encouraging to see that release rate at 46 per cent, up from 28 per cent just five years ago.

Measured, meticulous, public-spirited

I suppose that if you wanted to characterise the work of the Parole Board it’s a reverse detective investigation, raking through evidence for clues to whether a crime will be committed in the future. And it’s little wonder the Board’s decisions come under public scrutiny. There is a tension inherent in every decision: balancing the need to be cautious with the need to be fair; protecting society while honouring the competing rights of offenders. Those rights are enshrined in the word ‘parole’, which of course comes from the French ‘parol’, or ‘word of honour’. In the 19th century it referred to a prisoner of war’s pledge not to take up arms again in the same conflict, once released. These days the Board has more to go on than just a prisoner’s statement that he will be good to his word.

Its judges, psychiatrists, psychologists, probation officers and independent members deliberate upon offenders’ behaviour, past and present, to look in to the future. They are not doing so as soothsayers peering at the entrails of a chicken, but with measured, meticulous and forensic care – while recognising at the same time that risk assessment can never by its very nature be an exact science … that there cannot be a crystal ball. When new members sign up, as more than one hundred public-spirited people did last year alone, it’s in the knowledge they will be called upon to make complex judgments that few of us are equipped for or would feel able to make. And for all that those Members do, for their humanity and courage, I salute them and thank them.

Remembering the early days

There are now around two hundred and seventy Parole Board members. At the beginning, in 1967, there were just seventeen. In those days they almost never saw an actual prisoner. They made paper-based recommendations for the most part. But change was coming. In a way, the Sixties marked the end of a more innocent era: the crimes that we remember from that time were high-profile and notorious. The Great Train Robbery. The ‘Moors Murderers’, the East End gangster twins Ronnie and Reggie Kray. The perpetrators of those crimes spent decades making multiple parole bids. Each was carefully and properly scrutinised.

To no one’s great surprise, successive applications were turned down.

Which are the factors likely to sway the Parole Board towards release? Well, they are factors that happen to chime with our reform goals – qualities that contribute to prisons becoming safer and more purposeful; more likely to support rehabilitation and cut reoffending. A co-operative attitude in custody, coupled with a realistic release plan that involves good support – including positive family contact. A willingness to take responsibility for the original crime, to accept the punishment and to move on. The completion of behaviour courses and health treatment, an appetite for the kind of training that leads to qualifications and work. Staying away from drugs, and not committing serious breaches of discipline.

Looking ahead, I see the Parole Board playing an ever-more important part in prison reform. It can help create capacity in the estate by ensuring that prisoners suitable for release are not marooned behind bars by delayed hearings (and I should say quickly that I’m conscious too that a smooth-running system depends equally on HMPPS playing its part in making sure that the Board has available to it, at the right time, appropriate evidence of an offender’s progress, and I am determined to make sure that we do our bit to enable the board to do its job more effectively and swiftly.

The Parole Board’s work can reassure offenders that good behaviour will be recognised, incentivising them for their part to embrace learning and training. It can encourage offenders, particularly IPP prisoners, that they can make progress, and not stay in custody for any longer than Parliament or the courts intended. I would add that as we go forward to the next 50 years, I would like to see the Parole Board’s membership more closely reflect today’s society – an argument I use also about the judiciary, which must hold up a mirror to the people who pass through our courts. And I know that both Nick and Martin share my own desire to increase in particular the number of black and other ethnic minority representatives on the Parole Board – that will help to ensure that it draws members from the widest possible pool of talent, and help maintain public confidence in the system.

The importance of working together

Now, while always respecting the judicial independence of the Parole Board, I see its relationship with the MOJ as one of close partners. Few would deny that both the prison and parole system face considerable challenges in the year ahead. Prisons absorb some of the most troubled people in society. There is still too much violence and self-harm in our jails. The abuse of new psychoactive substances has made many offenders more aggressive and prone to sudden mood swings. Growing gang violence in cities is spreading to wings and landings as the police and the courts find and sentence to custody those responsible for gang violence. And of course, reoffending remains stubbornly too high.

I don’t believe – even after just four months doing this job – that there is a single solution, no magic bullet to bring about an answer to those challenge, so that is why we are working on so many fronts. Beyond improving the performance of both prisons and probation services, we are co-operating more effectively with important bodies that have contact with offenders. And contact also with people who we recognise as likely to commit the kind of crime that typically leads to a spell in custody. The hope being, of course, that we can divert them before it’s too late. And to that end, we are collaborating with colleagues from the Departments of Health, and Work and Pensions, with NHS Trusts, employers, training providers and not least the many hundreds of invaluable third sector organisations and charities focused on offender reform.

And I believe we can do much more through that kind of partnership in the months and years ahead. We need a plan that tackles the problems of reoffending at source, recognising that many social problems, such as addictions, unemployment and homelessness, affect their lives long before offenders are ever sentenced. Let me share with you two other striking statistics: firstly, that less than one per cent of all requirements started under a community or suspended sentence order are Mental Health requirements.

This is a remarkably low figure and I think it’s important that both those of us charged with responsibilities for the criminal justice system and our colleagues with responsibilities for the NHS services and for mental health provision find ways in which to address this problem. The second statistic concerns reoffending and the salutary effects of drug or alcohol treatment programmes in the community. Recently published statistics show that offenders who undergo that kind of community-based drug and alcohol treatment programme are 33 per cent less likely to commit further crimes. We all need to learn from that experience.

A partnership for reform

In making prisons safer and calmer, the MOJ and HMPPS are well on the way to recruiting 2,500 more staff by the end of next year. That’s more than 10 per cent of the total number of prison officers, a significant increase, and they will make a difference. They will help to bring about the safer, calmer conditions in which reform can prosper, with prisoners more likely to be taken from their cells to be taught and trained. At the same time, our new offender management model – with one officer responsible for about six prisoners – takes us in the right direction and we must use every possible means to ensure that prisoners attend workshops and classes.

I am determined too to make sure that HMPPS gives prompt and public responses to issues identified by prison and probation inspectors so that recognised problems do not fester. I would urge everyone here to look out for our new online portal, the Justice Data Hub, where figures on purposeful activity and how long prisoners are spending in cells will be freely available, establishment by establishment. Making this information public is itself a discipline – it makes us more accountable, our work more transparent, and will, I hope, lead to swifter progress on prison performance.

The quality of probation services, and the level of confidence in the supervision of community sentences, also feed into effective offender management. There are many probation officers doing an incredibly professional job. At the same time, the inspectorate’s report on through-the-gate services made it clear that these are not performing in the way that we had hoped. We are now looking at probation with an eye to improving performance and maintaining the confidence of courts and the public alike.

Prison should be a last resort. That, after all, is what the law requires. People should go to prison because their crime is so serious that custody is the only punishment that can satisfy justice, or because they would be a threat to public safety if they were in the community. I want to see the prison population come down. Reducing the numbers in prison depends on many things, and not all of those come under the direct control of the MOJ. Parole Board decisions and the performance of probation; access to release on temporary licence; the availability and quality of community-based courses and health treatment all have a bearing. As, of course, do sentencing policy and practice.

If you look at the pattern of sentencing, the number of people placed in custody for 12 months or less has not changed significantly over the past decade – which rather weakens the argument we often hear that the high levels of the prison population is solely due to more people being sent to jail instead of being given community sentences. Rather, the surge in numbers stems from people serving four years or more, often for violent and drug-related crime, and also those sent to prison for sexual offences – many brought to book long after the event thanks to victims feeling brave enough to come forward. It is very difficult to argue that individuals who have committed that kind of offence deserve a shorter sentence.

IPP prisoners make up a relatively small part of the prison population but as everyone here knows, many remain in custody long beyond tariff. My feeling on IPP sentencing is that as a policy it was flawed from the start, and it was used far more frequently than was ever intended by the Government of that time and by Parliament.

We have a duty now to ensure that parole applicants receive their rightful hearings in a timely fashion, that the Board has the resources to carry out a full and proper evaluation, weighing up all the evidence at its disposal, and that offenders are released if they are judged no longer to be a risk to society. Those facing undue delays feel acutely the loss of hope and a growing frustration, and this leads them to harm themselves or others and for their conduct in custody in general to worsen. With IPP prisoners, as with all offenders, our goal should be to give them every chance of living a positive life after custody, because this contributes to a safer society overall. But it is right that the Parole Board, in judging individual cases, should always give priority to the protection of the public.

And that means that looking forward, the big challenge, the question we need to ask ourselves, is whether there is a way to carry on cutting the numbers of IPP prisoners in custody once what one might term the ‘easier’ cases have been dealt with and there remains to us a harder core of very challenging, complex and frankly very risky cases of people still inside prisons.


I want to finish with a brief history lesson. While we’re here to mark fifty years of the Parole Board, in penal terms parole has been around a lot longer. It dates to the 19th century, an era when governments were edging away from the corporal punishment approach in favour of a more enlightened vision of offender reform. It may be a stretch to take national credit for this, but one notable parole pioneer was Alexander Maconochie, the warden of a remote English penal colony on Norfolk Island, a dot in the South Pacific between Australia and New Zealand.

Norfolk Island was supposed to hold the ‘worst of the worst’ – convicts who’d been transported to Australia and then exiled even further away for committing yet more crimes. Its regular floggings and hangings were designed to deter convicts left on the mainland from any thoughts of rebellion. But Maconochie had a different vision and set about changing things. He developed a ‘mark’ system that rewarded good conduct, hard work and study by offenders – is this starting to sound familiar? Marks earned them privileges, and eventually their release.

You know what they all say about breaking the mould – that it’s better to be a fast-follower than a pioneer. Maconochie was fired in 1844. But he’d sown the seeds of change and the ideas with which he had experimented were taken up around the world – not least here, where they remain firmly rooted in our approach to criminal justice.

Although no human institution or system is perfect, I remain proud of our justice system – it’s always led the way and it is admired worldwide. The principles and values that run through it are a mark of the kind of country we are. And while we rightly give priority to public protection and we are not afraid of facing up to the need for punishment, we also place a great value on rehabilitation. The great majority of offenders, all but a handful, will one day return to the community. And it is in the interests of everybody in our society – not least potential victims of the future – that we use the time that we have offenders in custody and under supervision to minimise the chance that they will commit again and to add to the possibility that they can make that transition successfully into law-abiding life where they are actually contributing something positive to the wider society in which they live.

And it is thanks to our parole system that many do make that contribution and they are able to do so only when the Board is satisfied that the individual offender in front of that Board will not cause further risk to the public if released. That work, that exercise of sensitive and important judgements, is key to prison reform, key to safer communities and key to ensuring that our justice system will remain both effective and fair. I congratulate all who have served on the Parole Board, on what has been achieved over the first fifty years, and I am very confident that there are more successes and more productive work still to come. I look forward to working closely with Nick and other colleagues in taking that work forward in years to come.

David Lidington – 2017 Speech at Lord Mayor Elect Ceremony

Below is the text of the speech made by David Lidington, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, on 16 October 2017.

My Lord Mayor Elect, I am commanded by Her Majesty The Queen to convey Her Majesty’s express approval of the choice of the citizens of London in electing you to be Lord Mayor for the coming year.

It is a real pleasure for me to be able to welcome you, your family and other guests to the Palace of Westminster to convey to you this message, and to be the first to congratulate you on receiving Her Majesty’s approval.

Responding to Mr Recorder

May I also welcome you, Mr Recorder, and pay tribute to your invaluable contributions to our justice system. As a prosecutor, you were renowned for your brilliant and scathing cross-examination. As a modernising judge, you have championed many of the key causes of the judiciary – mentoring junior colleagues and promoting diversity across the legal profession. I admire and appreciate your efforts in this, as I do your work as trustee of a prison charity focusing on offender rehabilitation. Wearing my less ceremonial hat as Justice Secretary, I thank you for everything you do to cut reoffending, cut crime and protect our society.

The historic role of the Lord Mayor

Turning to my Lord Mayor Elect, you too hold a most vital role – that of Under-Shepherd to the Under-Shepherd of the Bowman family flock. My delight that you are here is only faintly tinged with disappointment that you did not, on the way to Westminster, showcase your skills by driving sheep across London Bridge – a historic perk for freemen of the City of London. Not to worry, however – you will spend much of the coming year steeped in history and tradition as the 690th head of the oldest continuous democratic commune in the world.

Laws and democracy were first introduced to London by the Romans, who founded the city on a square mile of former marshland. The Corporation of London traces its origins to Saxon civic arrangements, when bell ringers would summon citizens to St Paul’s Cross to debate and vote on pressing issues. In 1215, upon the sealing of Magna Carta, the then Mayor of London was one of only two designated guarantors charged with ensuring that the Crown did not renege on the deal to enshrine citizens’ rights and uphold the rule of law.

More than 800 years later, it is my particular duty as Lord Chancellor to respect and uphold the Rule of Law, as well as defend the independence of the judiciary. I will look to you, My Lord Mayor Elect, to help promote London and the City as an enduring worldwide leader of financial and legal services whose reputation is founded on the Rule of Law. You will help strengthen economic ties with other nations, identify new business opportunities and provide reassurance that the UK remains the Number One destination for foreign investment.

Pursuing post-Brexit opportunities

The City is the engine of Britain’s financial and legal sectors, driving the economic wellbeing of the nation. In a little more detail, the UK had a trade surplus in the financial and insurance services sector of over £60 billion last year – overall, it contributed £124 billion to the UK economy. Of this, London accounts for just over half of the total gross value added – in the Square Mile alone, some 380,000 people walk into work every day. For every one job created in the City, three more are created in the regions. Legal services are crucial to the City – indeed, are so closely linked with finance activities as to be interwoven: our strong financial services beget strong legal services, and vice versa. It means that legal services swell the nation’s coffers by around £25 billion pounds and contribute a trade surplus of just over £3 billion. These statistics tell an extraordinary story: that the body that you will lead, the City of London Corporation, is at once a local council and a global powerhouse. As we prepare to leave the European Union, it is ever more vital that we build upon its international success.

My Lord Mayor Elect, I bow to your undoubted expertise in building upon solid foundations. Somewhat unusually for a future audit partner at PwC who crunches FTSE100 balance sheets for breakfast, you read architecture at university. This explains why your heroes are not William Deloitte or John Pierpont Morgan, but Humphry Repton and Capability Brown. Since graduating, however, you have spent 32 years in accountancy. As such you are exceptionally well-placed to be a builder of a different kind – one who promotes the message of Global Britain, helping this country seek out – as it has throughout its history – abundant trading and business opportunities overseas.

Work on this is well underway. My colleague, Lord Keen, has just launched the government’s ‘Legal Services are GREAT’ campaign in Singapore. This aims to promote English Law and UK legal services, including London as the go-to centre for dispute resolution for international litigants. Our capital city offers the highest standard of legal professionals with unrivalled expertise and experience, and verdicts that stand up to keen scrutiny, handed down by our independent and impartial judiciary.

It is important that our legal services operate from courts that are fully equipped to deliver 21st century justice. I am delighted that the City of London is to replace all its courts – barring the Old Bailey, Mr Recorder – with a high-tech 18-strong courts complex in the heart of legal London, specialising in fraud, economic and cyber-crime. Perfect proof – if any were needed – that the City not only moves with the times, but remains well ahead of them. The City leads the world in fintech. It is only right that it also leads the world in dispute resolution and legal redress when fintech is abused – crucial for maintaining public trust.

Mayoral Mission: the trust agenda

My Lord Mayor Elect, you want the issue of public trust to be a key element of your Mayoralty – specifically, rebuilding relations between the City and the public following the financial crisis of 2008. It is clearly important that there is mutual trust between the public and businesses, and your programme will challenge City firms to connect with communities, operate responsibly and with integrity, and make a positive impact on society and the environment. This of course chimes with the best traditions of the City, stretching back centuries: as a local council, looking after the immediate needs of citizens; as a business hub, attracting the brightest and most innovative talents, and in general promoting knowledge, diversity and culture. Since medieval times, the great livery companies have been generous and enlightened patrons of charities and schools. I myself had the good fortune to attend Haberdashers’ Aske’s, founded in 1690 with a bequest from a wealthy Haberdasher, Robert Aske, to educate ‘Twenty poore Boyes, who shall be freemen’s Sonnes’.

At the end of your schooldays, My Lord Mayor Elect, you took a gap year. Some of your guests may not know that you sought to fund this year off by sketching buildings and selling the artwork – I admit I do not know how successful this money-making venture proved to be. No matter – what is of interest to us is not the revenues raised but your subject matter. Not just any buildings – these were some of the beautiful Wren churches dotted around the City between the Gherkins and Walkie-Talkies. This was familiar territory for you: your father, grandfather and great-grandfather all worked in the Square Mile, and it was perhaps your destiny to follow them. You remember as a child being whipped off to your father’s office in London to watch the Lord Mayor’s Show. That’s now your show.


Your Mayoralty will promote all that is impressive about the City: the talent, knowledge, expertise, opportunities and energy. I am greatly looking forward to working with you. Let’s get this show on the road.

David Lidington – 2017 Speech at Opening of the Legal Year

Below is the text of the speech made by David Lidington, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, on 2 October 2017.

The wheels of justice, they say, turn slowly.

Well, not this morning.

Between the Royal Courts of Justice, the Supreme Court and Westminster Abbey, we have dealt with a very full caseload – and it’s still only breakfast time.

As well as opening a new legal year, we have welcomed two exceptional leaders for the senior judiciary. A new Lord Chief Justice, Sir Ian Burnett, and a new President of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale.

We must also say our farewells, to Lord Thomas and Lord Neuberger. They have served the justice system with distinction, dignity and energy.

We have many challenges ahead but I am confident that we have a judiciary eminently well equipped to deal with them. They are fearsomely experienced and rightly independent of the executive – but like all of us here they still need a good breakfast.

So will you please join me in raising a glass in a toast: To the future – and to the past.

And now, as Shakespeare recommended, let us:

“Do as adversaries in law – strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends”.