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  • >>Mr Speaker: Order! Questions to the Prime Minister! Angela Crawley!

  • >>Angela Crawley (Lanark and Hamilton East) (SNP): If he will list his official engagements

  • for Wednesday 1 July 2015

  • >>The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron): I am sure the whole House will wish to join

  • me in congratulating the England women's football team on reaching the semi-finals

  • of the world cup in Canada and wishing them well for their match against Japan this evening.

  • This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others and, in addition to

  • my duties in this House, I shall have further such meetings later today.

  • >>Angela Crawley: The Prime Minister's plans for English votes for English laws will reduce

  • my rights and the rights of other Scottish MPs in this House—[Interruption.]

  • >>Mr Speaker: Order. The hon. Lady must and will be heard.

  • >>Angela Crawley: The Prime Minister's plans for English votes for English laws will reduce

  • my rights and the rights of other Scottish MPs in the House of Commons, but the real

  • issue is my ability to protect the interests of my constituents. Will the Prime Minister

  • guarantee today that, under his plans, a Bill that has a direct or indirect effect on Scotland's

  • budget will not be certifiable as England-only?

  • >>The Prime Minister: First, let me welcome the hon. Lady to her place. We will publish

  • our proposals shortly and Parliament will have plenty of time to consider and vote on

  • them, but let me be very clear: we are not creating a system of two tiers for MPs. All

  • MPs will still vote on all Bills, but what we are saying is that laws which apply only

  • in England should pass only if they are supported by a majority of English MPs. That seems to

  • mein a devolved system where Members of the Scottish Parliament can determine their

  • own future on health, housing and an increasing number of subjectsto provide fairness across

  • our United Kingdom. >>Graham Stuart (Beverley and Holderness)

  • (Con): Yesterday the National Audit Office called for the introduction of a fairer schools

  • funding formula so that it is

  • related more closely to their”—

  • that is, pupils'—

  • needs and less affected by where they live.”

  • Can the Prime Minister confirm from the Dispatch Box that the additional and very welcome £390

  • million awarded last year as a first step towards a fairer funding system will be incorporated

  • into the baseline for future years?

  • >>The Prime Minister: I can say that we will implement the pledges in our manifesto on

  • this issue because we need to make funding fairer across the country. If we look at the

  • figures today, it is clearly unfair that a school in one part of the country can receive

  • over 50% more funding than an identical school in another part of the country. We have already

  • made some progress on this, but I want us to go further.

  • >>Ms Harriet Harman (Camberwell and Peckham) (Lab): I join the Prime Minister in his congratulations

  • to England's women's football team. With only a fraction of the resources that the

  • men get, they are showing the men how it is done.

  • Sadly, we now know that 22 British citizens have been confirmed dead in the Tunisia attack.

  • Our thoughts are with the bereaved and injured, and the help they and their families will

  • need. The bereaved and those who have experienced life-changing injuries and trauma will need

  • long-term practical and emotional support. The experience after 7/7 was that to really

  • help those affected families, there needs to be co-ordination across Departments and

  • agencies, so will the Prime Minister establish a dedicated taskforce reporting to a Minister

  • to support those who have suffered in that terrible attack?

  • >>The Prime Minister: Yes, I can give the right hon. and learned Lady that assurance.

  • Let me update the House, because I am sad to say that the confirmed number of British

  • citizens killed in this appalling attack is now 27 and, as we have said, we expect it

  • to rise still further. Today we are repatriating eight bodies from Tunisia on an RAF C-17 plane.

  • The plane is now in the air and will land at RAF Brize Norton this afternoon. Every

  • family of a victim now has a dedicated Foreign Office liaison officer, but—I can confirm

  • what she asked—I have asked the Cabinet Secretary for advice on creating a ministerial

  • committee to ensure that work is properly co-ordinated right across Government to provide

  • all the support that the victims of this appalling attack deserve and to ensure that, as a nation,

  • we mark and commemorate this event appropriately.

  • >>Ms Harman: That is a really important step that the Prime Minister has taken. We fully

  • support it and thank those who will be working in that respect. Reports over the past few

  • days have suggested that it was not just a lone gunman who perpetrated the attack, but

  • an organised cell. Following the Home Secretary's visit to Tunisia and the deployment of 50

  • police officers, will he update the House on the progress being made to help identify

  • the perpetrators and bring them to justice?

  • >>The Prime Minister: On that specific issue, there is still a lot of work to be done to

  • identify all the circumstances of this appalling attack and the support that the gunman received.

  • As we get that information and confirm it, I will ensure that the House is regularly

  • updated. I can confirm that the discussions between my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary

  • and the Tunisians went ahead and were successful. As I have said previously, that is looking

  • at everything, from the protective security in hotels and resorts to intelligence co-operation

  • at the highest levels between Britain and Tunisia, so that we can help with its capacity

  • to combat such appalling events. It will need a lot of long-term work between our two countries,

  • but the French, the Germans and the Americans are also willing to help, and we need to co-ordinate

  • between ourselves how best to support that country on its road to democracy.

  • >>Ms Harman: The Prime Minister has rightly said that this was an attack on our values

  • and everything we stand for, and there is radicalisation in this country, too. Last

  • November the Intelligence and Security Committee said that the Prevent programme had not been

  • given sufficient priority and that counter-radicalisation programmes are not working. Today a new statutory

  • duty to challenge radicalisation comes into effect. Will there be sufficient training

  • and support for those covered by the duty, and will he look again at the concern that

  • the Prevent programme has not focused sufficiently on engaging with the communities?

  • >>The Prime Minister: The right hon. and learned Lady raises very important issues. Let me

  • answer them as directly as I can. First, we have now put more money and resources into

  • the Prevent programme. Secondly, on her point about the statutory duty on public sector

  • bodies, I think that is very important, because we are saying to schools, universities, local

  • authorities and others that they have a duty to deal with radicalisation and to confront

  • extremism, because this effort is not just for the police and security services, or indeed

  • just for the Government, it is an effort for us all. On her specific question, which goes

  • back to whether it was right to split the Prevent work into work that is done to deal

  • with extremism under the aegis of the Home Office and the programmes to encourage integration,

  • which should be done by the Department for Communities and Local Government, I maintain

  • that that was the right decision. It followed a review in 2011 by Alex Carlile, who found

  • that

  • there have been cases where groups whom we would now consider to support an extremist

  • ideology have received funding.”

  • As we discussing in the House on Monday, it is very important that that does not happen.

  • Yes we should work with community groups, but not those that encourage an extremist

  • narrative.

  • >>Ms Harman: It is important that the Prime Minister does not just defend the decisions

  • he has made, but continues to reflect on this and really tries to make absolutely sure that

  • he gets it right. If he does that and gets the right outcomes, we will strongly support

  • him on that.

  • Let me turn to another issue. With all-party support, the Prime Minister commissioned the

  • Davies report to look at the question of airport capacity. Now that the commission has recommended

  • a third runway at Heathrow, does he agree with us that, subject to key environmental

  • tests being met, there should be no further delay and that it should go ahead? Will he

  • now take that forward?

  • >>The Prime Minister: First, let us all thank Howard Davies and the team for the very thorough

  • piece of work they have done. I think that there is a lot of common ground across almost

  • all parts of the House that there is the need for additional airport capacity in the south-east

  • of England, not least to maintain this country's competitiveness, but it is important that

  • we now study this very detailed report. I am very clear about the legal position; if

  • we say anything now before studying the report, we could actually endanger whatever decision

  • is made. The guarantee that I can give the right hon. and learned Lady is that a decision

  • will be made by the end of the year.

  • >>Ms Harman: The Prime Minister says there is common ground, and there is common ground

  • across the House; the worry is the lack of common ground on his side of the House. He

  • gives the impression that there is going to be a proper process, but something very is

  • different coming out of No. 10, because it is briefing that it is not going to happen.

  • It looks like the Prime Minister has been overruled by the hon. Member for Uxbridge

  • and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson); he should tell him that he is not the leader of the

  • Tory party yet. Will the Prime Minister stand up for Britain's interests or will he just

  • be bullied by Boris?

  • >>The Prime Minister: I would have thought that with all her years of experience, the

  • right hon. and learned Lady would know not to believe everything that she reads in her

  • morning newspapers. It would probably be good for her blood pressure, as well as for mine,

  • if she did not. Let me give the mildest warnings about jumping to a conclusion before seeing

  • the results, because we had a classic example of that last week when the shadow Health Secretary

  • warned the Government that the poverty figures would make us all hang our heads in shame.

  • That was of course before the poverty figures were published, showing that relative poverty

  • was at its lowest level since the 1980s.

  • >>Ms Harman: The Prime Minister seems to be keen to get off the issue of airports. It

  • seems like he is in a holding pattern above Heathrow and Boris will not let him land.

  • Our economic infrastructure is essential for future jobs, for growth, and for our productivity,

  • but this week the Government have pulled the plug on electrification of the railways and

  • seriously undermined the renewable energy sector, and now they are backing off over

  • airports and risking losing the opportunity for Britain to be at the heart of the global

  • economy. If the Prime Minister makes a swift decision on the Davies Report, we will support

  • him and there will be a majority in the House, so will he put Britain's national interest

  • first?

  • >>The Prime Minister: It is an interesting day when the leader of the Conservative party

  • wants to talk about child poverty and the Leader of the Opposition wants to talk about

  • an airport report that none of us has yet had time to read. I seem to remember that

  • the last leader of the Labour partyalthough we have been churning through a few recentlyhad

  • a totally different position on airports to the one that the right hon. and learned Lady

  • is now putting forward. What I can say to her is that we will all read this report and

  • a decision will be made by the end of the year.

  • >>Simon Hoare (North Dorset) (Con): My constituents in rural North Dorset look increasingly to

  • superfast broadband to help in education, agriculture and business. Will the Prime Minister

  • commit the Government to do all that they can, with sufficient energy and resources,

  • to ensure that the 5% black hole is filled as quickly as possible?

  • The Prime Minister: First, let me welcome my hon. Friend to his place. Before coming

  • here, he was a very successful district councillor in an area I am familiar with, where he helped

  • to achieve the second lowest council tax in the country. I am sure that he will bring

  • that sense of good housekeeping to this place. He is absolutely right to raise the issue

  • of superfast broadband and how we fill in the last 5% to 10% of homes, particularly

  • in rural areas. We are providing extra funding and we are looking at all the different sorts

  • of technology that can help to deliver this.

  • >>Angus Robertson (Moray) (SNP): I associate myself and the Scottish National party with

  • all the tributes and condolences to the families and friends of everybody caught up in the

  • tragedy in Tunisia.

  • Because of the way the United Kingdom is structured, decisions on health, education and much English

  • legislation have an impact on the Scottish budget. Will the Prime Minister confirm that

  • he plans to exclude Scottish MPs from parts of the democratic process at Westminster that

  • will have an impact on Scotland?

  • >>The Prime Minister: The point I would make to the hon. Gentleman is that English MPs

  • are entirely excluded from any discussion of Scottish health, Scottish housing or Scottish

  • education. What we are proposing is actually a very measured and sensible step which says

  • that when there is a Bill that only affects, for instance, England, the Committee stage

  • should be composed of English MPs, but then the whole House will vote on Report and, indeed,

  • on Third Reading. What this will introduce, as it were, is a system for making sure that

  • the wishes of English MPs cannot be overruled. That, I think, is only fair in a system where

  • the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Parliament and, indeed, the Northern Irish Parliament

  • have increased powers.

  • >>Angus Robertson: On overruling MPs, it is very interesting that 58 of 59 Scottish MPs

  • have voted for the Scottish Bill to be strengthened, but they have been outvoted by English MPs.

  • Not content with outvoting Scottish MPs elected on a mandate to strengthen the Scotland Bill,

  • the Prime Minister is now going to introduce second-class status for MPs elected from Scotland

  • on issues that can have an impact on the Scottish budget. He is even planning to make the membership

  • of the Scottish Affairs Committee a minority pursuit for Scottish MPs. Is that what the

  • Prime Minister means when he says he has a respect agenda?

  • >>The Prime Minister: I shall tell the hon. Gentleman what I mean by a respect agenda:

  • every single thing Lord Smith represented in terms of welfare has gone into the Bill.

  • Is it not interesting that the hon. Gentleman objects to a vote in the UK Parliament on

  • a UK issue, which is what has happened? Let me tell him again: instead of endlessly talking

  • about the process, is it not time that the SNP started to talk about how they are going

  • to use these powers? Why do they not tell us? Which welfare benefits do they want to

  • put up? Which taxes do they want to increase? Why do they not start to tell us? I have been

  • following the debate very closely and have noticed that none of Scotland's 59 MPs is

  • arguing that the state pension should be devolved. In other words, the principle of pooling and

  • sharing our resources and risks across the United Kingdom, which I believe in as leader

  • of the United Kingdom, is apparently shared by the Scottish National party.

  • >>Mrs Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed) (Con): My constituent Paul Short from Wooler

  • showed great courage during the Tunisian massacre last week by helping to save the life of an

  • injured victim with first aid skills he had learned as a member of the Territorial Army.

  • Will the Prime Minister set out how the new measures in the extremism Bill will tackle

  • extremists and stand up for our values of democracy, equality, free speech and respect

  • for minorities?

  • >>The Prime Minister: First of all, let me take this opportunity to praise my hon. Friend's

  • constituent and the skills that were used on that dreadful day in Tunisia. The Bill

  • will reinforce the work we have already done to increase funding for counter-terrorism

  • and counter-terrorism policing; make sure there is a duty on public authorities to combat

  • radicalisation; and go after the fact that there are groups and individuals who are very

  • clever at endorsing extremism but then stopping one step short of actually condoning terrorism.

  • That is what the new banning orders we are looking at aim to achieve, because we are

  • clear that people who support the extremist narrative have no place in our public debate.

  • >>Mark Durkan (Foyle) (SDLP): Given regional wage profiles, many families in the north

  • of Ireland will identify with the concerns raised today by the four children's commissioners

  • about tax credits. Further to heeding those wider warnings, will the Prime Minister have

  • the Chancellor take particular care to ensure that no supposedly more targeted changes to

  • child benefit or tax credits will end up being misdirected against natural, everyday, cross-border

  • working families in my constituency and its hinterland?

  • >>The Prime Minister: When we talk about cross-border working families, it is still the case that

  • welfare arrangements in the United Kingdom are far more generous than what is available

  • in the Republic of Ireland. Our view is clear: the right answer is to create jobs, cut taxes,

  • raise living standards and reduce welfare. I want an economy that has high pay, low taxes

  • and low welfare, instead of low pay, high taxes and high welfare.

  • Let me share with the House one important statistic. Under the last Labour Government—[Interruption.]

  • I know that Labour Members do not want to talk about the last Labour Government. [Interruption.]

  • Well, under the last Government, inequality and child poverty fell. Now for the history

  • lesson: let us go back to the last Labour Government. Under Labour, the number of working-age

  • people in in-work poverty rose by about 20%. That was at the same time as welfare spending