Ben Bradshaw

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Today's Commons Questions

Today I asked questions in the house on the badger cull, flood insurance and equal marriage. These are three areas which my constituents have expressed a great deal of concern over.

Here is the Hansard transcript with my questions and the Government’s answers:

Flood Insurance

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab):

What steps he is taking on flood insurance.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mr Owen Paterson):

We are at an advanced stage in negotiations with insurers towards producing a successor to the statement of principles. Today, the Association of British Insurers has written to say that insurers will continue to abide by the current agreement for a month beyond the end of June to allow further time for the outstanding issues to be concluded. I am placing a copy of the letter in the Library of the House. We are aiming to conclude negotiations as soon as possible to ensure that households can continue to access affordable flood insurance.

Mr Bradshaw:

A one-month extension is simply not good enough. The Government have had three years in which to sort out the problem, and, in the meantime, householders and businesses in Exeter and throughout the south-west face huge hikes in their premiums because of the uncertainty. Can the Secretary of State assure the House that both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor understand that no country in the world has a free market in flood insurance, and that there will have to be some sort of underwriting if there is to be a deal?

Badger Cull

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab):

What is the Government’s estimate of the costs of policing the badger cull, and who will pay for it?

Mr Heath:

We have made it very clear that this Department will cover the marginal costs to the police forces involved of policing the cull, when it takes place. Obviously, the level of costs will be entirely dependent on the level of illegal activity in the areas in which the cull is taking place.

Equal Marriage

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab):

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that in the Church of England’s formal evidence to the Bill Committee, given orally, the Bishop of Norwich made it quite clear that the Church was perfectly happy with the existing and unamended safeguards that the Government have provided in the Bill? What damage does he think it would do to the established status of the Church of England if the bishops in the other place were to use their privileged position to try to thwart legislation that had the overwhelming support of this House in a free vote?

Sir Tony Baldry:

Members of the House of Lords, irrespective of where they come from, are Members of Parliament, and the other place is a revising Chamber and has perfectly good constitutional arrangements. The right hon. Gentleman will not be insensitive to the fact that there are still concerns about, for example, the position of Church of England or faith schools that wish to teach traditional concepts of marriage and whether they will be protected under the Bill. I am quite sure that, from the position he adopts and comes from, it must be in his interest as much as it is in anyone else’s that we get this legislation right.

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