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Commons Questions 24th-31st October 2016

On the status of EU citizens

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

Our national health service, universities and businesses are already losing talent because of the uncertainty about the status of EU citizens here in the event of Brexit. It is an uncertainty the Prime Minister could end now. Why won’t she?

The Prime Minister

I expect to be able to guarantee the status of EU citizens here in the United Kingdom. I intend and want to do that. The only circumstances in which that would not be possible would be if the status of British citizens in the European Union member states was not guaranteed. This is an issue that, as I have said previously, I hope to be able to discuss at an early stage.

On Private Members' Bills

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

As this weekend, yet again, we are plunged needlessly into winter darkness, what happened to the Daylight Saving Bill is a very good example of the Leader of the House being wrong when he says that if a Bill has overwhelming support it can proceed. That Bill did proceed, but the Government killed it by not implementing its provisions. Will he fully accept the recommendations of the Committee in order to restore public confidence and the reputation of this House?

Mr Lidington

That is obviously a matter for other Ministers, and I shall draw the right hon. Gentleman’s remarks to their attention. However, there was, I recall, very strong opposition in certain parts of the United Kingdom, particularly from Scotland and Northern Ireland, to the daylight saving measure that he supported.

On Heathrow

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

Heathrow has clear advantages over Gatwick for the south-west of England, both in respect of access to Heathrow and the hoped-for slots for our regional airports such as those at Exeter and Newquay to connect internationally. The Secretary of State must say much more about what he is going to do about air quality. He is quite right to say that road transport contributes by far the bulk of our emissions and our pollution, but he has not today said a single thing or produced a practical policy to tackle road transport and diesel in particular.

​Chris Grayling

If the right hon. Gentleman wants a specific example, I can tell him that this morning we published the consultation document that will pave the way for significant expansion of the availability of electric charging points around the country. My view is that we all need greater diversity of our car fleet for the future, and we are already moving ahead with plans for low-emission zones in our cities. This is not an airports issue but a national one, and active measures are already in place to encourage diversification of the car fleet. Electric vehicles are being built in this country—for example, the Nissan Leaf is being built in Sunderland, which is the main centre in Europe for the production of that vehicle. We are seeing more and more of these cars on our streets, and I think that will continue into the future.

On NHS funding

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

The Government have been well and truly found out on this issue. Rather than quote selectively from Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS, will the Secretary of State confirm that among the conditions that Mr Stevens put down to the Government as part of the five-year review was an increase in public health spending, not a 20% cut, and a policy of maintaining spending on social care? Will he also confirm—he was there in Simon Stevens’ presence before the Select Committee—that Mr Stevens made it quite clear that those conditions and others had not been met?

Mr Hunt

Actually, what Mr Stevens said—I was there—was that social care and, indeed, public health provision needed to be maintained. We are increasing the social care budget by £3.5 billion over this Parliament. Although I accept that difficult cuts are being made to ​the public health budget, we are doing other things that do not cost money to make sure that we continue to improve this country’s excellent record on public health.

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