Ben Bradshaw

Working Hard for Exeter

  • Home /
  • Blog / Commons Questions 1st - 4th November 2016

Commons Questions 1st - 4th November 2016

On press regulation:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

I thought I was going to welcome the Secretary of State’s statement, because she explained in clear detail why the incentives contained in section 40 are essential to the Leveson recommendations, which this House approved overwhelmingly in the royal charter and which, as she said, are already in law—and we now have a recognised regulator. But she went on to say that rather than commencing section 40, the Government were just going to consider it further. Why does she not just do the right thing by the victims and commence the legislation that this House and the House of Lords have already passed?

Karen Bradley

What I said is that we are going to consult; it is a 10-week consultation, and it is very clearly about part 2 of the Leveson inquiry and the commencement of section 40. I want to hear all views in that consultation.

On the NHS:

Mr Bradshaw

Although the Government say that they want to devote a greater proportion of overall health spending to primary care, our Health Committee’s report on primary care, published in the summer, showed that a smaller proportion was being devoted to the primary care sector, which, of course, includes pharmacies. ​Is that not the ultimate false economy? If we do not invest more in primary care, all the pressure goes into the acute sector.

Jonathan Ashworth

My right hon. Friend is another experienced former Health Minister, and he is right. As we learnt this week, the Health Committee has completely blown apart the Government’s figures on the financing of the NHS.

On police officer safety:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

Is my hon. Friend surprised to learn that, in relatively peaceful Devon and Cornwall, there were 267 assaults on the police in the last year, more than doubling the associated costs in one year? Does she agree that one of the reasons that the police and other services are so vulnerable is that, because of cuts, they are increasingly operating on their own and not in pairs?

Ms Abbott

I thank my right hon. Friend for his important intervention. I agree with him and will come to cuts in police numbers later.

On the fire in Exeter:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

The Minister will be aware that a devastating fire destroyed one of the most historic and best loved parts of Exeter city centre last Friday and Saturday. The owners have said that they intend to restore the building to its former glory, which is very welcome, but will she guarantee that English Heritage will make absolutely sure on behalf of my constituents that it is restored to the highest possible standard?

Karen Bradley

I am very aware of the devastating fire in Exeter—I was actually in the west country over the weekend and saw the local news coverage. Having visited Exeter on a number of occasions, I know how important that building is in the cathedral precinct. Historic England sent a team of experts to the site on Monday to assess the situation, but I will take up the points that the right hon. Gentleman has raised.

On fishing:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

Some 80% of the fish caught around our coastline in the south-west goes straight for export to the rest of the European Union, and there is huge concern in the industry about the impact of tariffs if we leave the single market. Given that concern, and the excellent news from the High Court, would it not be wise of the Government not to invoke article 50 as early as March?

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Trade (Mark Garnier)

Export tariffs on food products, and on animal products in particular, are determined outside the provision of trade agreements. They are determined in terms of licensing based on the quality of the food products, on a separate basis.

On air pollution:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

May I gently suggest to the Minister that talking about sledgehammers and nuts is not really appropriate in this context? Air pollution is the biggest avoidable killer apart from smoking. The Minister needs a sledgehammer, and she needs to take the sledgehammer to the Treasury.

Given that this is the second humiliating defeat that the Government have suffered in the courts, surely there was a plan to announce some action here, today, in response to that defeat. Where is it? Where are the new measures?

Dr Coffey

As the right hon. Gentleman will know from his time in government, measures take some time to work up. He may shake his head, but I am not going to become involved in the blame game and talk about what happened under Labour, when the number of diesel vehicles on the road increased. What I will say is that I am working closely with officials to come up with the wide range of actions that we wish to take, and I can only add that we hope to announce them in due course.

On Aleppo:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

Nevertheless, that relationship would be a lot better if President Clinton wins, as I am sure most people in this House agree. Does the Foreign Secretary see any prospect in that of then not giving up on his desire to see a more robust response to the Russians and to Assad in Aleppo?

Boris Johnson

I cannot, as I say, comment on the elections in another very friendly country. We have to wait and see what happens there, but I do not think that anybody here wants the United Kingdom under any circumstances to abandon its driving role in that question.

On Article 50:

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

Does my hon. Friend agree that today’s excellent ruling in the High Court gives the Government a chance to reflect on the invocation of article 50 and the impact that it is already having on the financial services employers to which she refers, particularly with regard to the uncertainty about our future membership of the single market?

Liz Kendall

My right hon. Friend is right. Many companies have been planning for months, even before the referendum, to try to mitigate the risks of Brexit. There is a mandate to leave the European Union, but there is no mandate about the terms. The Court’s decision today should allow this House to have its say, to raise the important issues and to hold the Government to account, and I hope that the Government listen.

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