Ben Bradshaw

Working Hard for Exeter


Recent Activity

On marine habitats:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

The right hon. Lady will know that the marine protections that have led to huge improvements in water quality and the conservation of our marine environment are underpinned largely by EU law. Can she guarantee now that, if we leave the EU, the standards that we currently enjoy will not be any less than they are now?

Andrea Leadsom

I can absolutely give the right hon. Gentleman that assurance. As he will know, the Prime Minister has announced that we will nationalise the acquis communautaire. The advantage of the approach is that while there is continuity of legalisation, we also have the opportunity to look at what is right for the UK, instead of the 28 member states. Marine conservation zones derive from UK legislation, and we remain absolutely committed to our ambition of being the first generation to leave the environment in a better place than we found it.

On leaving the EU:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

My hon. and learned Friend mentions uncertainty. I have been contacted by a business in my constituency that has, until recently, been growing very rapidly, and had plans to announce a £100,000 expansion this autumn. That has now been cancelled because of the uncertainty about our future in the single market and because of what it sees as the Government’s headlong rush to a hard Brexit. What can he say about Labour’s position to reassure those businesses across the whole of Britain that are worried about our future in the single market?

Keir Starmer

The priority should be the economy and jobs, which means access to the single market.

On Syria:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

Q14. With Russian and Assad regime war planes bombing civilians in Aleppo at an unprecedented rate, will the Prime Minister join France in calling for those responsible for these war crimes to be referred to the International Criminal Court? Will she re-examine, with allies, the feasibility of a no-fly zone to protect the Syrian people before it is too late?

The Prime Minister

We are very clear that it is for the courts to decide where a war crime is being committed. We co-sponsored a UN Security Council resolution in May 2014 to refer those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria, regardless of affiliation, to the International Criminal Court. Of course, that was vetoed by Russia and China. On the issue of a no-fly zone, this has been addressed. People have looked at this over a number of years. The scenes we see of the indiscriminate slaughter of innocent civilians are absolutely appalling. We want to see an end to that, but there are many questions about a no-fly zone. Who is it there to protect? Would it lead to Assad bombing people in the expectation that they would then move to that zone? How would a safe area actually be enforced there? Who would do that enforcement? There are many questions that need to be looked at in those sorts of issues. What we all know is that the only real solution for peace and stability in Syria is political transition, and it is time Russia accepted that: that the future of Syria is a political transition to a stable Syria, free of Assad.

On same-sex marriage in the Church of England:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

9. What the policy of the Church of England is on priests in same-sex marriages; and if she will make a statement. [906567]

Dame Caroline Spelman

I suspect the right hon. Gentleman wants to ask me, as he did before, about a specific case, but the case of Canon Pemberton is still pending a judgment from his appeal, so I am afraid I will be unable to comment on it in any detail. The Pilling report was commissioned by the Church of England at the start of a shared conversation about sexuality, which reached its conclusion at the Synod in July. The House of Bishops has asked for a summary to be created by the bishops reference group.

Mr Bradshaw

But with a growing number of priests, including now one bishop, deciding commendably to be open about their sexual orientation, and indeed their marital status, why is the Church of England spending our money pursuing a legal case against Canon Jeremy Pemberton simply because he is married?

Dame Caroline Spelman

Obviously the Church is on a journey with this issue, as many of us have been, but I would gently point out to the right hon. Gentleman that the Church was not the plaintiff. Canon Pemberton was the plaintiff and therefore the Church had to defend itself in a legal process. The initial case was lost and now Canon Pemberton has sought to appeal. There will be significant costs attached to that, but the Church did not initiate those legal proceedings.

On the CQC report:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

The Leader of the House just put a very complacent gloss on the Care Quality Commission report. This is our independent health and social care regulator. The report is devastating. It contains an explicit request, which is unprecedented from the commission, for urgent funds for social care now. That follows exactly the same call by the person whom the Government appointed to lead the NHS, Simon Stevens. When will we get an emergency statement from the Secretary of State for Health on what he will do about our collapsing health and social care sector?

Mr Lidington

I take issue with the right hon. Gentleman’s description of my earlier response. I not only had a look at the report this morning, but listened to the chief executive of the commission speaking on BBC radio, and it was he who said that the key lesson was that best practice needed to be copied by those authorities and NHS areas that were not delivering the best quality service at present. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health will, of course, want to consider very carefully and urgently the views expressed in the Care Quality Commission’s report. I am sure he will want to make clear to the House in the relatively near future his view on its recommendations, and there will be opportunity at Health questions or otherwise to put questions to him.

Last Week's Commons Questions

On marine habitats: Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab) The right hon. Lady will know that the marine protections that have led to huge improvements in water quality and the conservation...

On leaving the EU:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

Can the Secretary of State explain how a margin of 4% in a referendum in which Brexiteers themselves confessed that they had voted to leave for a variety of reasons can become what he has just described as an overwhelming mandate for what the Government are currently doing in respect of a “hard Brexit”, with all the damage that that will entail for our economy and our prosperity?

Mr Davis

The majority was over a million. This was, I think, the largest vote gained by any Government ever. [Interruption.] I assume that the right hon. Gentleman voted “remain”. It is rather rich for someone like him, who voted the other way, to try to be the arbiter and interpreter of those who voted to leave.

First, we must obey the democratic instruction that we were given. Secondly, I strongly challenge the idea that this will somehow cause an economic downturn. It will not: it will create economic opportunities on a major scale, and that is what we look forward to.

On community hospital beds:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

12. When the Minister is in Devon, will he meet patients’ groups and NHS staff, who are very worried about the proposals under the Government’s Orwellian Success regime, which include the closure of scores of community hospital beds, including the only community hospital beds in Exeter at Whipton hospital? Although it may make sense to integrate, and it certainly makes sense to move money from beds and buildings to better care for people in their homes, does he accept that it is simply not deliverable against a backdrop of massive cuts in social care budgets? [906501]

David Mowat

Yes, I am happy to meet in that context. The right hon. Gentleman is right that the Success regime is about a transfer of resources from the community hospitals to care at home and domiciliary care. That is not necessarily the wrong thing to do, but it must be done right, and I am happy to meet.


This Week's Commons Questions

On leaving the EU: Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab) Can the Secretary of State explain how a margin of 4% in a referendum in which Brexiteers themselves confessed that they...

On trade:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

The Secretary of State will be aware of the great anger felt by Britain’s wealth creators at the comments of his right hon. Friend the International Trade Secretary, which were damaging not just to them but to our reputation abroad. What conversations has the Secretary of State had with his right hon. Friend and with the Prime Minister about limiting that damage?

Greg Clark

My right hon. Friend has been vigorous during the summer in going around the world to promote the case for British business, as is his job. Opposition Members will have the support of everyone in this House if they join the efforts we are making to promote the great opportunities there already are in this country and the further opportunities to come.


On mobile phone use while driving:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

Further to the Secretary of State’s inadequate reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Daniel Zeichner) on the deadly menace of mobile phone use, may I ask him whether he heard an expert say on the radio this morning that the use of mobile phones impairs drivers’ ability more seriously than drinking? Does he accept that a £50 increase in the already paltry fine is a totally inadequate response to this deadly menace on our roads?

Chris Grayling

I am sorry if the right hon. Gentleman thought that. I will be announcing tough plans on this matter shortly, in response to sensible pressure from a wide variety of outside groups. The hon. Member for Cambridge mentioned one national newspaper group. In fact, the campaign is coming from both sides of the spectrum, because the Daily Mail is running the same campaign. Those newspapers are right to do so, and the truth is that, in my view, this requires strong action. It is happening far too often.


On the BBC:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

Given where we could have ended up, may I warmly welcome today’s statement, and particularly the fact that the Government have backed down on the composition of the board? ​Given that Rona Fairhead was appointed specifically, in effect, to abolish her own organisation—she has done so—and to oversee a smooth transfer to the new unitary board, has her treatment not been a little rough?

Karen Bradley

I do not accept that there has been a backdown about the board; it is about considering what is an appropriate, balanced board which is the most effective way of helping the BBC to deliver on its charter requirements. I do not agree about Ms Fairhead. The proposal is no reflection on her or her ability to perform the role; it is merely a brand new role.


On Hinkley Point C:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

The Secretary of State will be aware that Britain’s two most respected economy and finance publications, the Financial Times and The Economist, have both come out strongly against Hinkley C on value for money and on energy policy grounds, with The Economist describing it just last month as a white elephant before it is even built. Can he confirm that nothing that he has announced today is an improvement on the dreadful deal negotiated by the former Chancellor on the guaranteed price? Absolutely dreadful.

Greg Clark

I do not agree with the right hon. Gentleman. It is a good deal that will secure 7% of our energy into the future. Given that 20% of our nuclear capacity will be decommissioned over the next 10 years, it is incumbent on him and his hon. Friends to tell us how they would replace it if they are not going to be forward looking and make positive decisions such as those that we have made.

My Questions in the Commons Last Week

On trade: Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab) The Secretary of State will be aware of the great anger felt by Britain’s wealth creators at the comments of his right hon....

On the EU:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

We learned more of substance from the Prime Minister’s briefing of journalists in China than we heard in those 15 minutes of talk about stakeholders and round tables. Will the Secretary of State please confirm that the points-based immigration system, the cut in VAT on fuel, and the £350 million extra every week for the NHS—the three main promises of the leave campaign—now lie in tatters?

Mr Davis

The task of my Department is to deliver on three things. The British people, in the referendum, voted for the return to Parliament of control of our laws, control of our money, and control of our borders, and that is what my Department will bring about. What happens then is down to the Government and Parliament.

Let me deal with just one issue that the right hon. Gentleman raised: the points-based immigration system. What the Prime Minister said in China was very clear. Her concern was that a points-based system was too open-ended and did not actually control the number of people coming to the United Kingdom, and she therefore wanted something that sounded as if it would be more rigorous, not less.

On Hinkley C:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

Given what the Minister says about transparency, accountability and the paramount importance of safety in the nuclear industry, and given the Prime Minister’s clear concerns about security and the more widespread concerns about the economics, can the hon. Gentleman give us an assurance that the Government will come back to this House before making a final decision on Hinkley C?

Mr Hurd

I understand the right hon. Gentleman’s point. I have nothing to add to the public statements about the process of reviewing the Hinkley decision, which will look at all aspects of that deal, and we will make suitable announcements when we are ready.

On the G20:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

Does the Prime Minister accept that, like all developed economies with ageing populations, Britain needs to import labour to thrive? Would it therefore not be an act of extreme self-harm for us to give up our full and unfettered access to the single market out of a dogmatic and arbitrary desire to reduce immigration?

The Prime Minister

It is not an arbitrary and dogmatic desire. We recognise the impact that uncontrolled immigration can have on people, particularly those at the lower end of the income scale. The right hon. Gentleman needs to consider carefully the message that the British people gave in the vote on 23 June. I think that vote told us that they want to see the Government able to take control of the movement of people from the European Union into the United Kingdom, and that is what we will do.

On trade deals:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

“No running commentary” is politician-speak for not having a clue. How is the Minister getting on with delivering on the promise made by the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union that the Government would

“trigger a large round of global trade deals with all our most favoured trade partners”

by tomorrow?

Greg Hands

It is a bit rich for Opposition Members to talk about having a clue. I noted with interest the Leader of the Opposition yesterday attacking something he called “free trade dogma”. Let us be absolutely clear: the Prime Minister has said that under her leadership, Britain will seek to become the global leader in free trade, and that is what we will do.

On grammar schools:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

I have listened carefully to the Secretary of State, and I have not heard her explicitly support the policy that was announced by the Prime Minister at last night’s private Back-Bench Conservative meeting and leaked to the media. The Secretary of State smiles, but that is an interesting fact. The Prime Minister has repeatedly boasted that she likes to make decisions—thinking very carefully about them—on the basis of evidence. Is the Secretary of State aware of any evidence that shows that a grammar school system improves attainment across the piece, or improves social mobility?

Justine Greening

As I have said in the past, we have not set out the policy proposals—they will be set out in due course—but I refer the right hon. Gentleman to research conducted by the Sutton Trust, which clearly identified improved attainment by children on free school meals in grammar schools. The trust also said that its research showed no negative impact on the attainment of children outside the grammar school system. I recognise that different studies have identified different challenges relating to selection, but if that is the view that Members take, is there not all the more reason to open up a debate and discuss how we can develop a sensible policy on grammar schools?

My Questions in the Commons Last Week

On the EU: Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab) We learned more of substance from the Prime Minister’s briefing of journalists in China than we heard in those 15 minutes of...

The full text of my debate on Great Western Railway's Bicycle Policy can be read online here.

You can also read the most recent letter I have received from GWR: Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3.

My Debate on GWR Cycle Policy

The full text of my debate on Great Western Railway's Bicycle Policy can be read online here. You can also read the most recent letter I have received from GWR:...

View More Activities

Liquid syntax error: Error in tag 'subpage' - No such page slug cookies