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  • Apr 26, 2016:
    • Police: Deployment | Home Office | Written Answers

      To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to deploy British police officers to popular holiday resorts abroad as a result of the outcome of the pilot scheme in summer 2015.

  • Apr 25, 2016:
    • Pupils: Foreign Nationals | Department for Education | Written Answers

      To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of children attending primary school were born outside the UK.

    • Unaccompanied Refugee Children: Relocation and Support | Immigration Bill | Commons debates

      Last autumn, I used my first Prime Minister's questions as party leader to press the Prime Minister to take these 3,000 unaccompanied children-refugees from the camps-in Europe. I had seen the situation for myself in Calais, Lesbos and other places. As we have heard today, something like a third of those unaccompanied children in Europe go missing. They are now in the hands of child traffickers who exploit them and use them in child prostitution.

      The Government have done some good over these past few months, much of it under pressure, but, to date, they are utterly and totally stubborn on the matter of helping even a single person, particularly vulnerable children, in Europe.

      I was at the Indomeni camp in northern Greece just a couple of weeks ago. It was the saddest of all the visits that I have made, because of the desperation that I saw and because of the number of children living in squalid and unsafe circumstances. These people are at risk, they are alone, and they are scared, and we could help them.

      We have had a series of announcements from the Government, but they all missed the point, which is that those children who are most at risk are the ones who are now in the camps in Europe. Making the argument in favour of doing more for refugees and of taking refugees from Europe is difficult when there is a narrative out there that says that most refugees are coming to Europe. That is not true. Perhaps one in five from the region is coming to Europe. People will say that they are not really refugees, but economic migrants. Well, 95% of them are deemed to be refugees by any objective standard. Perhaps that is where the Government's reluctance comes from. They fear unpopularity, but is this not the time for this Government not to follow, but to lead and to do the right thing? There are always reasons not to do the right thing.

      When I was in Greece and Macedonia two weeks ago, a fence had been erected by the Macedonian Government in 36 hours. If a country has the political will, they can do these things. We can take these children. The blueprint that I produced over the past three or four months in consultation with Save the Children, Home for Good and local authorities gives the Government all the ammunition they need to show how they would put such a scheme into practice, and I refer the Minister to that blueprint. We need to stop the excuses and do the right thing.

      This is the biggest humanitarian disaster, or crisis, facing Europe since the second world war, and this Government choose to turn their back not just on geo-political reality and on our neighbours, but on the desperate children somehow existing in the camps and in the ditches up and down Europe. This proposal before us today, amendment 87, is not the most we can do; it is the least we can do.

    • Unaccompanied Refugee Children: Relocation and Support | Immigration Bill | Commons debates

      The hon. and learned Gentleman is being very generous in giving way. On the pull factor, I agree with him that the evidence is at best mixed. In the sense that I found any kind of pull factor in the camps I visited in northern Greece, in the islands or in Calais and in meeting refugees who have been settled in Cologne, it was that Europe is a peaceful, decent, stable place where people can raise their children without fear of their being killed. We should be proud of such a pull factor.

    • Unaccompanied Refugee Children: Relocation and Support | Immigration Bill | Commons debates

      I want to challenge the notion that the EU-Turkey deal is a success. I was at the Idomeni camp on the Greek-Macedonian border a fortnight ago. The camp is meant to host 300 or 400 people as they pass north towards northern Europe, but there were 25,000 people-there were children there as well-crammed into that small space, and they were absolutely desperate. The reason they are not moving from that place is that they have no trust whatever in the system or in the fact that wherever they are moved to next will not mean deportation out of Europe. The EU-Turkey deal may be great in principle, but in practice it has been stitched up for the benefit and convenience of politicians, not of those desperate people rotting in the camps.

    • Unaccompanied Refugee Children: Relocation and Support | Immigration Bill | Commons debates

      The Minister is being very generous. He makes the point that action to help those who are stranded in Europe would somehow act as a pull factor. With respect, I think that that view is bogus, not least when we consider that there are four times more refugees in the region. The idea that Europe is the only place to which they are heading is nonsense. Even if one were to accept that, his decision not to accept the Dubs amendment is to ignore the tens of thousands of children who are in Europe now. The reality is that 10,000 have gone missing in the past year. They are in the hands of traffickers now. What will he do to help those children who are here on this continent now?

    • Unaccompanied Refugee Children: Relocation and Support | Immigration Bill | Commons debates

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    • Exports | Department for Business, Innovation and Skills | Written Answers

      To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what progress his Department has made on reaching its target of £1 trillion a year in exports by 2020.

  • Apr 21, 2016:
    • 90TH Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen | Commons debates

      I thank you, Mr Speaker, for calling me to speak, especially as I managed to make it into the Chamber only when the Prime Minister was concluding his remarks-my apologies to him. On this occasion I am convinced that, not having heard one of his remarks, I would have agreed with them all.

      It is a massive honour to give praise and to acknowledge the service of Her Majesty on her 90th birthday. Unlike many people in this place, I have spoken to Her Majesty on only a limited number of occasions. It was on one occasion really, as a very new Member of Parliament. She was asking me how I was getting on as a new MP and how I was coping with the correspondence. I did confide that, on occasions, people would come up to me in the street and say thank you, or acknowledge a letter that I had written to them, and I would sometimes just go blank. I am sure that colleagues share that sensation and think, "Right, what are they talking about? I can't quite remember the detail." Her Majesty said, "Yes, that happens to me all the time. I always say that it is the least I could do". Perhaps we should all cling on to that as a good get-out-of-jail card.

      Her Majesty has had occasion to visit formally my part of the world-Westmorland-on two occasions in her reign. The first was in 1956, which was 14 years before I was born. It was the year of the Suez crisis; the year of the Clean Air Act; and the year that the United Kingdom turned on its first nuclear power station. The second occasion was three years ago, when I was privileged to meet her in Kendal as the Member of Parliament for Westmorland and Lonsdale. In the 57 years between those two visits, and indeed since she assumed the throne, so much has changed for all of us. Much, much more has changed for Britain and the world in which we live. The Elizabethan age will be reviewed by history as a vast, transformational and tumultuous era, during which our Queen has provided immeasurable constancy, which will be looked back on as the thread that runs through all of it, and that has made change possible without the uncertainty and instability that could have come about otherwise.

      In Her Majesty's time, Governments have indeed come and gone. She has seen them lead Britain into the European Common Market, and then seen her people vote to remain-that was when I was five years of age. She has seen Britain lead the world by becoming the first G7 country to commit 0.7% of GDP to international development aid. She has seen Britain become a world leader in renewable energy and make great strides in tackling climate change. She has seen technological advances race ahead from when a telegram or a radio programme was a thing of great excitement to the prevalence of satellite television, the iPhone, letters being supplanted by email and playground conversations by tweets and Facebook status updates.

      Through all those years of change and upheaval, Her Majesty's selfless service to Britain has remained a constant. She is admired at home and around the world for her constant and consistent advocacy of Britain at its best. I am bound to say-others have reflected on this-that she embodies the value of a constitutional monarchy. She is a neutral person who is above politics and who is the foundation of our constitution. She is someone to whom all of us, whatever our political views, can look, and with whom we can share an allegiance. That is an immeasurably valuable thing.

      Even as we contemplate the monumental things that have occurred during Her Majesty's reign, it is worth remembering that birthdays are very personal occasions. They are opportunities to celebrate the lives we lead and give thanks with friends and families. Hers has been an extraordinary life and she is an extraordinary example to all of us in public life of the meaning of public service. As we and others pay tribute to her example, I hope that she, who has so many friends, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and a loving husband, experiences the same joy and pleasure that we all do when we get together to celebrate with those whom we love. On this wonderful and historic day, on behalf of my party and my constituents in Westmorland and Lonsdale, I pay tribute to Her Majesty, to her dedication, to a lifetime of public service and to her faith, and wish her a very happy birthday and many more to come. I thank God for her service. Long live the Queen.

  • Apr 18, 2016:
  • Apr 13, 2016:
    • Sick Leave | Cabinet Office | Written Answers

      To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will estimate the number of days of sickness absence taken for reasons of depression, anxiety or stress in each of the last three years.

    • *No heading* | Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs | Written Answers

      To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to her Department's news story, £700 million boost for flood defences brings £150 million more for Yorkshire and Cumbria, published on 17 March 2016, how much funding the Government plans to allocate to flood defences in (a) Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency and (b) Kendal in each of the next five years.

    • Asylum: Turkey | Home Office | Written Answers

      To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum applications have been received from Turkish nationals in each year since 2006.

  • Mar 24, 2016:
    • Department for Transport: Iron and Steel | Department for Transport | Written Answers

      To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much UK steel in (a) value and (b) weight his Department has used in projects it funds in each of the last 12 months.

    • Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft | Ministry of Defence | Written Answers

      To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to paragraph 4.49 of the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015, what progress the Government has made on the proposal to adapt a Voyager aircraft for the secure transport of senior ministers and the Royal Family; what adaptations will be made to the aircraft for that purpose; what estimate the Government has made of costs of those adaptations; who is responsible for making those adaptations; and when those adaptations are planned to be completed.

  • Mar 22, 2016:
    • Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation - Amendment of the Law | Commons debates

      The hon. Gentleman is right that the Chancellor has a £4.4 billion black hole that needs to be filled by cuts to public services or by stealth taxes, but that is in existence only because the Chancellor has set himself a false target. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the real problem at the heart of the Chancellor's credibility is the fiscal charter?

    • Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation - Amendment of the Law | Commons debates

      I thank the Chancellor for giving way, and I want to associate myself with the remarks that he made earlier about the appalling situation in Brussels.

      Does the Chancellor agree with me that the one thing that is more dangerous for our economy than his remaining Chancellor is that we might leave the European Union; and does he agree that his being called out by his former colleague as acting not in the economic interests of the country, but in a short-term political way, introduces a risk that the referendum will be a referendum on him, not on the future of our role in Europe? Will he act in the national interest and resign?