20 MAR 2019

Destitution Domestic Violence Concession (Eligibility): Article 50 Extension

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

The Secretary of State will know that this House has rejected the Prime Minister's deal twice by historic margins now—it is neither the will of the House nor the will of the public—and it has also rejected very resoundingly leaving with no deal. However, we have not yet had in Government time an opportunity to do just what he asks, which is for the House to give an indication of what it would support. Will he support bringing forward the opportunity to give an opinion on indicative votes in the next week, preferably on Saturday?

Stephen Barclay The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

I am not sure that Saturday would be the most popular of responses with colleagues across the House, but we have given a commitment, as the hon. Lady knows, to a meaningful vote on Monday and, following that, there will obviously be opportunities for the House to have its say. Let me make some progress.

Any extension is the means, not the end, but any extension of whatever length does not allow this House to escape its responsibilities to decide where it stands: whether to keep its commitment to deliver on the decision it gave to the British people or to walk away from doing so. Nor should an extension mean that a guerrilla campaign can be run to overturn the result of the referendum and frustrate the will of those who voted to leave.

I disagree with the suggestion of the shadow Chancellor, who is not in his place, that any extension should be open ended. I think he said that it should be "as long as necessary". Indeed, he was at odds with other Labour Front Benchers. Emily Thornberry said only the day before that the Labour party would back an extension just to July because

"it would be inappropriate for us to stand for the European Parliament".

An open-ended delay would be likely to mean no Brexit and disregarding the votes of the 17.4 million people who voted to leave.

We now need to use any additional time to ensure that an orderly Brexit is delivered. The Leader of the Opposition has not said to date how long an extension he seeks. I do not know whether Labour Front Benchers wish to use the opportunity of this emergency debate to put on record exactly how long an extension they support.

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20 MAR 2019

No-Deal EU Exit Preparations

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

There is a good reason why this House has resoundingly objected to and rejected a no-deal Brexit: because Members here have looked at the evidence of the real-world harms. Just one such area of concern is the position of healthcare for British citizens who are pensioners who have retired to countries across the European Union. The Minister will know that a reciprocal arrangement could not be made with the EU as a whole but would have to be made with 27 individual countries. Can he set out in how many of those 27 countries our fellow citizens who have retired to the EU now have the absolute certainty that in nine days' time they will have reciprocal healthcare arrangements in place?

Chris Heaton-Harris The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

Actually, a whole host of countries are now enacting legislation through their processes to do exactly as the hon. Lady says. The hon. Lady is completely correct in the fact that health in general terms is tied up in social security policy in nearly all EU member states. This needs legislation in individual EU member states, and I believe—I will write to the hon. Lady later today to clarify this—that pretty much every member state has started that legislative framework process.

 

I received the following letter from Chris Heaton-Harris and you can read it here

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19 MAR 2019

Exiting the European Union (Agriculture): Foreign Affairs Committee

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

I thank my hon. Friend and neighbour for giving way on this point. I will, if I may, try to persuade him. Does he agree that Select Committees are at their best and acting on behalf of the public when their members can leave tribal politics at the door, focus on the evidence and work collaboratively to come up with solutions? That is what the public wants to see from this Parliament, as opposed to the often confrontational picture that they might see. This is the part of Parliament that often shows us at our best. My concern is that what we are seeing tonight will fundamentally undermine and degrade the important reforms that were brought in a decade ago, so I really hope that he will join me in the Lobby this evening.

Kevin Foster Conservative, Torbay

I thank my hon. Friend—and I mean that—for her intervention. She is right that the Select Committees are at their best when a member of the public attending a sitting would not be able to tell which party label applied to which Member of Parliament. I remember the time that I spent on the Public Accounts Committee, and the questions there were as fearless from Government Members as from Opposition Members. That is the strength of Select Committees. The fact that we work by consensus in most instances gives strength to our reports. If an inquiry was just an attack by an Opposition motivated by party politics, it would not get the support of Government Members. And ditto—if a report were trying to praise the Government too much, funnily enough Opposition Members would probably not sign up to it.

It is right that people do not take their party labels into Select Committees, but the conflict for me is the issue of the Opposition having certain protections in this place. In a situation where a Government had a significant majority, they could in theory start playing a game with these sorts of motion. I think it is safe to say that a game is being played this afternoon, but it is quite clear to me that there is a difference between Members on the Government payroll and other Members. Each Member can take their own view; I just feel a slight difficulty in choosing the Opposition Members on a Select Committee from my position.

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

Does my hon. Friend feel that it would undermine the system if we were in a position where members of a Select Committee were always having to look over their shoulder, because they might suddenly find that their place had been made unilaterally vacant on their behalf if they were not following the party line? In this case, there will still be the same number of OppositionMembers in the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Kevin Foster Conservative, Torbay

I accept that the balance of Opposition Members will be the same. This is not, for example, about someone having gone from the Government Benches to the Opposition Benches, and then a motion trying to flip back the balance. For me, though, this is about choosing the Opposition Members on a Select Committee. Let us be candid: there will be occasions when the Government might not particularly want certain individuals from the Opposition on a certain Committee. That is where the conflict lies. This is about Government Members —particularly those in the Government—choosing the Opposition Members on a Select Committee.

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18 MAR 2019

Integrated Care Regulations: Exiting the European Union

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

My hon. Friend rightly makes the point that we can unilaterally decide to be freer about letting goods come across our border. However, surely one issue is that a free-for-all and a lack of proper checking could put the organic sector at risk.

Neil Parish Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

The hon. Lady raises a good point. Milk production is a good example. Organics is a selected market; although a good number of people buy organics, there is a ceiling of around 10% of people who actually buy organics overall. Therefore, exporting organic food is as important as importing it. On the dairy side of organics, the big milk co-operative Omsco trades very successfully into the United States, but that has to be maintained—and we must have the certification, and all these other things must work, in order for that to happen. That is why we have to be very careful to ensure that we can trade successfully in a no-deal situation.

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18 MAR 2019

Integrated Care Regulations

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

As my Committee has already been quoted, I think that it might assist the House if I were also to quote from the conclusions that we came to on this issue. The Committee said:

"We recognise the concern expressed by those who worry that ACOs could be taken over by private companies managing a very large budget, but we heard a clear message that this is unlikely to happen in practice. Rather than leading to increasing privatisation and charges for healthcare, we heard that using an ACO contract to form large integrated care organisations would be more likely to lead to less competition and a diminution of the internal market and private sector involvement."

Jon Ashworth Shadow Secretary of State for Health

The hon. Lady makes an interesting point. She is correct in as much as there is not currently a long queue of companies lining up to take control of whole health systems, but that could change if some new form of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is brought in by a post-Brexit deal. A number of these companies are becoming increasingly litigious in the courts, which is why Virgin Care took the NHS in Surrey to court. However, even if a private provider is not gifted a whole contract, which is the point that the hon. Lady is making, there is nothing to prevent it from buddying up with NHS bodies in joint ventures as a way of exercising influence over the way in which local health systems are configured. There is already evidence of private sector involvement in the establishment of the integrated care system, with Centene UK—an offshoot of an American health insurer—working with Capita in the Nottingham ICS.

.....

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

Will the Minister assure the House that only public statutory providers will hold these contracts? That would be reassuring, as the language on this is not completely clear. Will he also give some assurance regarding the Select Committee's other proposal, which is that the policy should be carefully piloted and evaluated? If it is done first in Dudley, followed by careful evaluation, I would be prepared to support it. If he cannot give reassurance on those points, it would be difficult for me to support the regulations.

Stephen Hammond Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

I can give the Chair of the Select Committee the assurance that the ICP contract will be made available in a controlled and incremental way, conditional on the successful completion of NHS England and NHS Improvement assurance through the integrated support and assurance process. That incremental process is, I think, in line with what she and her Committee recommended.

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15 MAR 2019

Stalking Protection Bill Receives Royal Assent

I am delighted that the Stalking Protection Bill has received Royal Assent and is now an Act of Parliament. Stalking Protection Orders will soon be available to police so that they can intervene more rapidly to protect victims of this awful crime.

I am grateful to everyone who has helped with advice and support, especially those who have personal experience of stalking, MPs from all parties who have worked with me, and to the Minister Victoria Atkins MP and her team as well as Baroness Bertin for their commitment to making this important change to the law.

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14 MAR 2019

UK's Withdrawal from the European Union

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

I rise to speak to amendment (h) in my name and that of Dr Whitford. It seeks an extension to allow us to obtain the consent of the British people to whatever deal is approved by this House, with an option to remain.

Many of us believe that consent is at the heart of this argument. We are repeatedly told that the Prime Minister's deal is the will of the people. The truth of the matter is that it is not the will of Parliament. It has been voted down by this place by 230 at the first time of asking, and by 149 at the second time of asking. However, I would say that there is no evidence that it is the will of the public either. It is certainly not the will of the 48%, nor is it the will of a very significant number of those who voted to leave—both in this place and outside—because they write to tell me so very vigorously that they do not think that this is the Brexit they voted for.

The truth is that the great Brexit charlatans have been exposed for the lies they perpetrated during the campaign. This Brexit is nothing like the sunlit uplands that they were promised, and I would ask people how many of them would have voted for this dog's Brexit if it had been presented to them at that time.

Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care)

My hon. Friend is talking about consent, and there has been discussion about that. As a surgeon, I have always had to have explicit, signed, informed consent, and such a discussion is always based on risks and benefits. We did not have that debate before the referendum, and we have had it only now, so it is only now that people have had the chance to learn how this Brexit deal will affect them

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

I thank my hon. Friend for that, and she is absolutely right. For someone to be able to consent to something, they need to know what they are consenting to. Let us face it: the risks and benefits of the various versions of Brexit are very different. The risks and benefits of no deal, WTO, the Prime Minister's deal, Norway and Norway plus the customs union are very different procedures, if we talk about this in strictly clinical terms.

The other thing about consent is that nobody would seriously proceed on the basis of a consent form that was signed nearly three years ago. Furthermore, young people in this country face being wheeled into the operating theatre for major constitutional, social and economic surgery based on a consent form that was signed by their grandparents nearly three years ago. This is the point: given the sheer weight, significance and implications for all of their futures, what is the constitutional outrage or the democratic outrage about pausing to check that we have their consent?

I say to those on the Government Front Bench that they will never be forgiven for the consequences of Brexit, unless they have taken the time to pause and ask for explicit consent for their version of it. Even if the House were to approve a Norway-style Brexit, with or without a customs union, that will still not represent what many people out there thought Brexit should be. There is therefore a compelling case for all hon. Members to be honest about the way people feel about this issue, and to pause to ask for explicit consent. If the Prime Minister were a surgeon, she would be struck off if she proceeded without consent.

Tim Loughton Conservative, East Worthing and Shoreham

Perhaps I could butt in on this medical love-in. When making her diagnosis, the hon. Lady seems to ignore that the patient is the EU. Does she seriously think that the health of the EU has improved so much after the last three years that the view of the public in this country would be any more endeared to it, given that 75% of the eurozone is in recession? It is Europe that has changed, not us.

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention—I still consider him a friend, even though I am on the Opposition Benches—but I gently point out that it is good he is not a surgeon if he cannot recognise who the patient is.

Many Members have made the point that now is not the time for this amendment and that we should table it later, but it has been a bit like "Waiting for Godot". "Now" will never be the right time, and we are just 15 days from falling off the cliff. I was there in the summer with 700,000 people who marched through the streets. Their call was: "We demand a people's vote". When did they want it? They wanted it now. They were not saying, "We want it when it is convenient for the Labour Front Bench".

I am sorry—I say this with great sincerity to Labour colleagues—but there was a clear promise to move to support a people's vote, and it is simply no good to keep backtracking on that. Today is the time for us to vote for this amendment. It may fail—I accept that—but there is nothing to stop us bringing it back and voting for it again.

 I urge all colleagues who know that they support a people's vote to vote for this amendment today, and again when they get the opportunity. If people never demonstrate that they supported a people's vote that will be their greatest regret, and I am afraid the chances are that those on the Labour Front Bench will never move to wholeheartedly and unequivocally support a people's vote, unless there is significant pressure to do so. Those of us, from many parties, who have come together to press for a people's vote will support the amendment today. We urge hon. Members to join us, and to support it again next week.

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13 MAR 2019

Uk's Withdrawal from the European Union

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

Can the hon. Gentleman think of any circumstance in which a consent form would be valid if it were signed 1,000 days beforehand without the signatories knowing the exact procedure to which they were giving their consent?

Stephen Gethins Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The hon. Lady makes a valuable point, as she often does.

....

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

Does the hon. Lady also feel that hon. Members should read the letter that they have all received today from Professor Andrew Goddard, the president of the Royal College of Physicians, setting out his stark warning for the health of our patients and the NHS in the event of a no-deal Brexit?

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12 MAR 2019

European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that had our constituents seen the reality of the actual Brexit deal, they too would have rejected it, and that they should have the opportunity to have the final say and a right to vote, not just MPs?

Sam Gyimah Conservative, East Surrey

The hon. Lady makes a powerful point, to which I shall return in a second.

We have this misleading cliché today that we just have to get on with it, as though the result is somehow immaterial so long as we do. That gives me cause for extreme concern about supporting the deal. Let me make two principal points. First, as far as I can understand it, the backstop is there to try to solve an impossible problem: we want to take control of our borders but we want the other side to have an open border. The back- stop exists now because after months and years of negotiation, we have not found a solution to that problem. If those who, like my right hon. Friend Nicky Morgan, say that alternative arrangements could solve the problem genuinely believe that such arrangements could, they need not fear the backstop.

The truth is that dealing with these alternative arrangements on their own will not address the need for the backstop. The side deal that the Prime Minister has come back with improves things to some extent, but the EU has no need to act in bad faith because it knows that, between now and 2020, we will keep going round the same loop, trying to find alternative arrangements. If we are not careful, we may still end up in that backstop, which is why there is such serious concern.

My second point is on the political declaration.

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11 MAR 2019

Exiting the European Union

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

Even if this monumental fudge is enough to satisfy the ERG and just about manages to scrape through the House tomorrow, what happens next if it is not ratified by the European Parliament?

David Lidington Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Minister of State (Cabinet Office)

It is for the European Parliament to take its decision on this, just as it is for the House of Commons to take our decisions on this matter. The Prime Minister is due to meet President Tajani of the European Parliament in Strasbourg this evening, so I am sure she will be wanting to explain to him what has been agreed with the Commission.

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07 MAR 2019

Availability of Orkambi on the NHS

Today the Health and Social Care Committee held an Oral Evidence Session on the availability of Orkambi on the NHS

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06 MAR 2019

End of Life Care

Thank you to Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State for Care, and the charities, Marie Curie, Macmillan Cancer and Sue Ryder for meeting today to discuss improving end of life care, the NHS Long Term Plan , workforce pressure and the Social Care Green Paper.

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06 MAR 2019

Stalking Protection Bill - 3rd Reading in the House of Lords

Baroness Bertin Conservative

My Lords, I pay tribute to the honourable Member for Totnes, Sarah Wollaston, for all her hard work in creating this Bill in the other place and for her determination to get this legislation on the statute book. Furthermore, the Bill would not be in existence without the many brave stalking victims speaking out and the dedication of campaigners such as the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. I sincerely hope that anyone currently suffering from this terrifying crime will take some comfort from today. More help and protection for them is on its way. I thank this House for its cross-party support, the Home Office—particularly Andrew Lewis and his team—the clerks and Ben Burgess in the Whips' Office, who deserves a medal for his patience with me. I have had the privilege of meeting many victims and grieving families, who have somehow found the strength to channel the pain of their trauma into changing the system to prevent others going through the same horror. I dedicate this Bill to them and to the ones they lost.

Bill passed.

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05 MAR 2019

Points of Order

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. My hon. Friend Luciana Berger is currently on maternity leave. She has served with great distinction as a member of the Select Committee on Health and as a spokesperson who is nationally recognised for her work on mental health. I am deeply concerned to hear that the Labour party has been seeking names to replace and oust her from her position on the Select Committee. Surely this is unacceptable and sends entirely the wrong message about how we value maternity leave in this place. I am very relieved that none of her former colleagues was prepared to be nominated in that way. May I seek your guidance, Mr Speaker, on that point and on the wider point that Select Committees are surely at their best when Members can leave their narrow party politics at the door rather than being a tool of the Whips Office?

John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for the point of order.

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05 MAR 2019

Brixham Fish Market

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

The port of Brixham in my constituency lands the most valuable catch in England, but it has now reached capacity and needs urgent infrastructure investment in order to expand opportunities. Will the Minister assure me that our strategically important fishing industry and processing sectors will be fully considered in future infrastructure plans, and will he meet me to discuss Brixham port’s exciting plans for development, which need only modest investment to help them get rapidly off the ground?

Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary

I would be happy to meet the hon. Lady. We are investing in port infrastructure, as indeed in other infrastructure projects across the south-west. I believe it was she who asked the Chancellor in the lead-up to the Budget to make that national commitment to Dawlish, for example. We are keen to listen to her opinions in this respect, and I would be very happy to meet her.

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04 MAR 2019

Young Minds

I was delighted to host YoungMinds in Parliament, for an event where young people met with MPs discussed the benefits of whole school mental health and wellbeing approaches in supporting students' education. This was part of YoungMinds' #TellOfsted campaign, urging Ofsted to include mental health provision in schools as part of their assessments.
Many schools do excellent work when it comes to wellbeing approaches, however too often they do not receive any recognition for this. Similarly, school leaders feel that the lack of focus on wellbeing within the current Ofsted framework and inspections programme, acts as a disincentive for them to prioritise wellbeing approaches, particularly when under financial constraints.

The Health & Social Care Committee's report into transforming children and young people's mental health found that half of all mental health conditions first occur by age 14, and three quarters by age 24—often with exam pressures and social media reported as key contributing factor, underlining the importance of schools' role in this issue.

Tackling this threat to the happiness and wellbeing of young people, before it develops into a crisis, must see the Government focus on joining up services. Updating Ofsted's remit to include the work schools do to support the mental health of young people would be a welcome step in the right direction.

I will also continue to press for an increase in the funding our schools receive as I'm very concerned about the shrinking of school curricula especially for arts subjects and the loss of counselling services

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04 MAR 2019

Housing, Communities and Local Government: Adult Social Services

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

Has the Minister read the letter to the Prime Minister—it was sent last week but published over the weekend—from Health for Care, which is a new coalition of organisations that speak passionately about their view that social care is on the "brink of collapse"? Will he meet me to discuss the coalition's concerns, the report published by the Health and Social Care Committee, which I chair, and the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, our findings and the work that we did with the Citizens' Assembly?

Rishi Sunak Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

I praise the work done by both Select Committees in producing some options for the social care Green Paper, and I know that they are being actively considered, as they should be. To the hon. Lady's broader point, her characterisation is perhaps a little unfair, because good things are happening in social care. The recent publication of the delayed transfer of care statistics showed that they have halved since the peak of a couple of years ago, which shows that good progress is being made.

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04 MAR 2019

Department for Exiting the European Union

Written Answers

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what steps he is taking in negotiations with his EU counterparts to ensure the UK's continued membership of the European University Institute Convention.

Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

The Government has made clear that it values international exchange and collaboration. Officials in the Department for Exiting the EU and the Department for Education have met with the EUI to hold discussions to explore options to provide continuity and ensure UK students at the EUI can complete their studies.

Should Parliament approve the deal the Prime Minister has negotiated with the EU, the UK will continue to apply the terms of the EUI Convention for the duration of the implementation period. The UK's rights and obligations under the Convention would continue during that period, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement. The Political Declaration sets out that we will establish general principles, terms and conditions for UK participation in EU programmes in areas of shared interest, and wider dialogues to allow us to share best practice and act together in our mutual interest. On this basis, we will explore with the European University Institute options for future participation in its activities and we will work to ensure that UK students at the EUI will be able to complete their studies.

Furthermore, UK universities will be able to continue to collaborate with the EUI in research projects even if the UK is no longer a member of the EUI Convention.

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, whether it remains the Government's assessment that the UK will automatically leave the European University Institute Convention on 29 March 2019.

Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

The European University Institute Convention (EUIC) is an agreement between the Member States of the European Union. After 29 March 2019, the United Kingdom will cease to be a Member State of the European Union and, as such, the UK's membership of the EUIC will automatically cease. Should Parliament approve the deal the Prime Minister has negotiated with the EU, the UK will continue to apply the terms of the EUI Convention for the duration of the implementation period. The UK's rights and obligations under the Convention would continue during that period, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement.

Officials in my department and in the Department for Education have met with the EUI to explore options for future participation in its activities and we will work to ensure that UK students at the EUI will be able to complete their studies. Furthermore, UK universities will be able to continue to collaborate with the EUI in research projects even if the UK is no longer a member of the EUI Convention.

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04 MAR 2019

School Funding

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

We all recognise that supporting the higher needs budget is extraordinarily important because of the vulnerable children that it supports. However, does the hon. Lady agree that when there is just a compulsory virement away from other budgets, that exacerbates the problem and that what we need is higher needs properly funded as a bloc?

.......

 

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that wellbeing and mental health are also important? Would he support the campaign being run by YoungMinds, who are in Parliament today to tell Ofsted to count in mental health and wellbeing in our schools?

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28 FEB 2019

Health and Social Care Committee

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee Sub-committee on the effectiveness and influence of the select committee system

I pay tribute to the hon. Gentleman for his effective chairing of the inquiry, and for his powerful speech. I also pay tribute to the other Committee members and the wider Committee team for the excellent report. It is fantastic that it sets out effectively the importance of early intervention in the first 1,000 days if we are to make the greatest difference and have the greatest impact on reducing inequalities.

Will the hon. Gentleman join me in paying tribute to a group in my constituency, the Dartmouth Nurslings, for its work to support breastfeeding mothers through peer-to-peer support? Will he touch on the evidence about the important of breastfeeding in the first 1,000 days of life, and how effective it can be? Will he also join me in hoping that we can reduce some of the fragmentation that means there is not a consistent level of support across the country? I hope that such groups will receive the support they deserve.

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28 FEB 2019

UK's Withdrawal from the EU

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee Sub-committee on the effectiveness and influence of the select committee system

I am glad that the Government have published at least the summary of the no-deal consequences, and hope that they will go much further and publish the detail. Has the Minister seen the detailed paper published in The Lancet this week about the health consequences of no deal? If he has not seen it, will he assure me that he will look in detail at those consequences? No responsible Government could inflict that kind of pain on their people.

 

David Lidington Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Minister of State (Cabinet Office)

I have not seen that particular paper but I will make sure that I look at it and draw it to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. I hope it is of some reassurance to the hon. Lady that the Secretary of State has been making these preparations one of this very top priorities. He wrote to the leaders of the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors in December last year, and the NHS executive is working hard to make sure that contingency arrangements are in place to ensure that supplies of medicines continue to be available.

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19 FEB 2019

Health and Social Care: Topical Questions

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons),

Key parts of our NHS workforce are registered and regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council. Does the Minister share their concern about the steep rise in professional fees that they face—in particular, the loss of the 50% discount that applied to graduates within two years of qualifying—and will she look again at whether anything can be done to assist this key group of our workforce?

Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

My hon. Friend is absolutely right about the need to support and enhance the protections for allied health professionals. One of the recent planned HCPC increases was to raise its annual fees by £16, but it would still remain one of the lowest of any of the UK-wide health and care regulators. It is also important to remember that regulation fees are tax deductible.

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19 FEB 2019

Health and Social Care: PrEP Impact Trial

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons),

Does the Secretary of State share the widespread concern about the variation in availability of PrEP treatment, which is surely an unacceptable situation?

Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

There is a variability in availability. Of course the current model of delivery is a trial—we have doubled the size of that trial but it is still a trial that runs until 2021. I am very happy to work with my hon. Friend as well as with Peter Kyle to try to make sure that it is as available as possible.

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14 FEB 2019

UK's Withdrawal from the EU

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman able to clarify in plain English at what point the Leader of the Opposition will unequivocally back a people's vote?

Keir Starmer Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

The policy we have adopted is clear about what the options are. What we are trying to do today is to put a hard stop to the running down of the clock. That will enable options to be considered in due course. I hope that will happen. When they are considered, we will take our position and we will see where the majority is in the House.

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12 FEB 2019

Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [Lords]: Extent, Commencement and Short Title (

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

I thank my hon. Friend for giving way and for listening to many of the concerns that have been expressed about the Bill, as shown in the Government amendments. How are we going to deal with the extraordinary backlog of cases, which has left over 125,000 people without protection? The safeguards she has set out will stop this being a rushed process, but will she say something about the backlog?

Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

The backlog of 125,000 people without the safeguards they need, with their families lacking reassurance and with the people who care for them lacking legal protection, is an enormous concern. That is why, during the long period in which we will set out the code of practice, we will be supporting local authorities to go through those backlogs. From day one, when the system is implemented, any new applications and those still in the backlog will be processed using the new system.

With grateful thanks for your patience, Mr Deputy Speaker, I will now sit down. This new system puts individuals at its very heart, and it removes the one-size-fits-all, box-ticking exercise we have unfortunately come to live with under the current system.

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07 FEB 2019

Business of the House

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

It seems clear to me that we are simply not going to be able to get the primary and secondary legislation required through by 29 March. However, could we, as soon as time allows, have a debate on the operation of Home Office rules on TBcertification and access to approved testing clinics? A young family in my constituency are facing imminently being torn apart because of entirely illogical and unreasonable application of these rules. Despite my constituent having had an X-ray and obtained a TB certificate, at her expense, at a UK hospital, she has been told that it will not count because it is not an approved centre, but the Home Office is telling her that there are no approved centres within the United Kingdom. To add further illogicality, if she returned to her home country of Canada to reapply, she would not need a TB certificate because it is more than six months since she was in a TB-prone country. I am very grateful to a Home Office team for agreeing to meet me to look at this case in detail. However, I do think that it raises a wider issue about applications and access to TB centres in the United Kingdom.

Andrea Leadsom Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

My hon. Friend raises a very concerning case on her constituent's behalf, and I have great sympathy for her constituent in that situation. I understand that my hon. Friend has rightly written to my right hon. Friend the Minister for Immigration, asking her to look into the matter. I understand that my right hon. Friend is seeking an urgent clarification of the situation, and of course if I can be of any help, my hon. Friend can always write to me.

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30 JAN 2019

European Union (Requirements Relating to Withdrawal)

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

I beg to move,

That leave be given to bring in a Bill to establish requirements in connection to the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union.

We do not have the luxury of time. Unless an alternative is in place, in 58 days—just 29 sitting days—we will leave the EU with no deal. My Bill looks ahead to what happens if, as looks likely, the Prime Minister returns empty-handed from her mission impossible to Brussels, and is based on the recommendations of the 11th report of the Select Committee on Exiting the European Union, so I start by paying tribute to its Chair, Hilary Benn, and all its members for that excellent report.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly commented that, while the House has said what it does not want, it needs to decide what it does. In the event of there being no agreement to change the backstop, we will be back to square one, but with one important difference: we will be much nearer the no-deal cliff edge. In a nutshell, my Bill would allow the House to express its view on what could command the support of the House through a serious of indicative votes on free-standing motions, and the Committee recommended that those be taken in order.

The motions would give the House an opportunity to vote first on the Prime Minister's negotiated withdrawal agreement and framework for the future relationship; secondly, on the option of leaving with no deal; thirdly, to instruct the Government to seek changes to the backstop—although I think by then we would have tested that to destruction; fourthly, to instruct the Government to seek a Canada-style deal, as set out in the report; fifthly, on seeking to join the European economic area through the pillar of the European Free Trade Association and remain in a customs union with the EU, or a variation of it; and finally, to return the decision to the British people by giving them the opportunity to decide in a public vote what kind of Brexit deal they want or whether they wish to remain in the EU on the current deal.

Last night, the House gave two instructions to the Government. Not for the first time, it rejected leaving the EU with no deal, but it also passed an amendment unilaterally requiring that the Northern Ireland backstop be replaced by unspecified "alternative arrangements" to avoid a hard border. It adds up, essentially, to tearing up the withdrawal agreement. Donald Tusk in his statement following the vote has made it clear that the backstop is part of the withdrawal agreement and that the withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation. Most people do not seriously feel that the EU will be prepared to renegotiate.

In the absence of meaningful changes to the withdrawal agreement, it is hard to see how the Government will secure support for a deal that we rejected so comprehensively, by a margin of 230 votes. If my Bill went ahead, the House would have the opportunity to express its view on where the Prime Minister should go from here by giving it the opportunity not only to reject no deal but to consider other alternatives.

I want to be clear about why the House rejected no deal. No Government could seriously, knowingly and deliberately inflict such pain on their people. We are talking about changes not just to the economy but to livelihoods and jobs. It is the real world crashing into Brexit fantasy. It would affect not only our economy but many other sectors, including health, transport links, security, food and farming—the list is very long. No responsible Government could inflict that kind of pain, but unfortunately, up until now, the Prime Minister has given the House a binary choice: "My deal or no deal." My Bill would allow the House to say there are other routes forward.

Some colleagues want to press forward with an EEA-EFTAarrangement and a customs union, while others would prefer a Canada-style arrangement. We should all have the opportunity to vote on the way forward. I and many of my colleagues have made it clear we favour returning the decision to the British people to give them the final say. The problem with the original referendum was that it did not set out which of these many options the public were voting for. Once we know that decision, we will see that it is far removed from the sunlit uplands promised during the referendum campaign.

We need to seek the informed, valid consent of the British people; otherwise, we are pressing forward with a deal that commands the respect of neither leavers nor remainers. Nobody could realistically claim it is the will of the people, but if we give it back to the people and tell them exactly what is involved, so that they can weigh up the risks and benefits themselves, we will get that informed, valid consent, and then we could proceed together.

It is quite possible that the British people would decide to proceed with Brexit—I accept that—and they would need the absolute guarantee that it would then be acted on as quickly as possible, but a second vote would also allow them to change their minds. Everybody deserves the opportunity to change their mind. Even our first Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union has famously commented that if people cannot change their minds in a democracy, it ceases to be a democracy.

I reject the notion sometimes put forward that it would be a betrayal of democracy to ask people again, and I particularly object to the assertion that it would cause civil unrest. We need to stop talking that up. Since when did this House bow or cave in to the concerns and demands of the far right? We should be standing up to them and making it absolutely clear that democracy does not stand still, and should never stand still, and that this House has a duty to give the public the right to vote and have the final say.

We must recognise that this call comes not from the EU but from the people—the hundreds of thousands of people who marched through the streets of London in the summer and the many hundreds of thousands beyond that who did not make it here but who have written to us and campaigned for the right to have the final say in a people's vote. The House owes it to them to debate and vote on that as part of a series of indicative votes, and I commend the Bill to the House.

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29 JAN 2019

Ministry of Defence: Navy: Deployment

Written Answers

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to ensure the continued effective patrolling of the (a) North Sea, (b) English Channel, (c) Western Approaches, (d) Bristol Channel and (e) Irish Sea; and what plans he has to increase the number of vessels based at the South Atlantic station.

Mark Lancaster The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

The Royal Navy has a range of vessels that contribute to patrolling the waters of the UK. Those vessels are tasked to reflect the day to day operational demand, including supporting and working with Other Government Departments.

Force levels in the South Atlantic are regularly kept under review, and will be adjusted to meet the operational demand.

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29 JAN 2019

Ministry of Defence: HMS Medway and HMS Trent

Written Answers

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when (a) HMS Medway and (b) HMS Trent will be completed for deployment.

Stuart Andrew Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

As announced by the Secretary of State for Defence onboard HMS TYNE on 22 November 2018, the Royal Navy is expected to have all the Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessels, which includes HMS MEDWAY and HMS TRENT, by the end of 2020.

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29 JAN 2019

Ministry of Defence: Fisheries: Protection

Written Answers

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to ensure the continued effective operation of the Fisheries Protection patrol in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Mark Lancaster The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

Ministry of Defence (MOD) officials are working closely with colleagues from across Government to manage the consequences of exiting the EU under a 'no deal' scenario. We firmly believe it is in the interests of both the EU and the UKto strike a deal.

That remains the goal on both sides and we are confident that this will be achieved. But it is the job of a responsible Government to prepare for all scenarios, so we have already carried out significant 'no deal' preparations for the unlikely event that we reach March 2019 without agreeing a deal.

As part of the Department's 2018-19 EU exit allocation from Her Majesty's Treasury, funding was provided to sustain an enhanced number of Offshore Patrol Vessels to ensure that the MOD has the ability to meet the anticipated additional Fisheries Protection requests from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs following the UK departure from the EU.

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24 JAN 2019

EU Free Trade Agreements

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

We now know that we will not have 40 of these deals ready to roll over on the stroke of midnight. Some of these deals will be worth proportionately more than others, so it could be said that we have a majority ready to go, but they might be ones of very low value. Can the Minister give us more clarity about the most valuable of these trade deals?

George Hollingbery Minister of State (International Trade)

I can report to the House that we are making good progress on a whole range of these deals, including those of high value and those at the other end of the scale.

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23 JAN 2019

Local Heat Heroes Receive Awards

Two local Energy Advisors have been recognised for their energy advice work with vulnerable residents across the South Hams at an award ceremony in the House of Commons.

Lin Etherden from Citizens Advice South Hams and Sophie Phillips from South Dartmoor Community Energy (SDCE) were nominated by their colleagues and received a national Heat Hero Award at the House of Commons today.

The awards are organised by fuel poverty charity National Energy Action and recognise people for going above and beyond in helping their clients to reduce their fuel bills and to stay warm and healthy at home.

Lin and Sophie are both qualified Domestic Energy Assessors and help householders to sort out their fuel bills, reduce fuel debt, apply for grants for home improvements and link up with other support services.

Citizens Advice and SDCE both deliver fuel poverty projects across the South Hams and often work together to ensure residents receive all the support that's available to them. They run regular drop in advice sessions in community venues, can attend community groups and can undertake home visits for more vulnerable clients. Their energy advice is all free and impartial and is funded through small grants that they have to apply for every year. SDCE are delighted to have recently secured £2000 through the Tesco Bags of Help scheme towards their work.

To find out more about the energy advice offered in the South Hams please visit their websites https://southhamscab.org.uk/ or www.southdartmoorcommunityenergy.org or call them on CAB:01803 659733 SDCE:0800 112 3044.

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21 JAN 2019

Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

I do not intend to detain the House for long. I support this Bill, but only regret that it is necessary. I wish to tell the House about an email that I received from a friend recently. He told me about his 92-year-old father who was visiting France and had a fall. He phoned my friend, who dialled 999 in this country, and an hour later his father was in hospital—all of that at no cost to his father because he carried a European health insurance card. The close ties that we have involving our reciprocal healthcare are not just financial. They are also about those close links and data transfer. I profoundly regret that this is the kind of thing that people will not realise they have lost until it is gone. That is the great tragedy here. The point is that it is not people like us, who are relatively fit and healthy, who will necessarily lose out by having to spend an extra 10% to 20% on our health insurance costs; it is our constituents who are elderly, who have to have regular kidney dialysis or who have other complex medical conditions, who will simply find themselves uninsurable or having to face prohibitively expensive insurance costs, and who, if they run into difficulties while they are abroad, will find themselves really adrift.

I hope that the Minister will make it absolutely clear to our constituents that, 67 days from now—the chances are looking more likely that we could crash out with no deal—very, very many of our constituents will find themselves in a really dire situation should they fall into difficulties abroad. They need to be given clear and specific advice about their holiday plans. For those of our fellow citizens who have retired to the European Union and who find themselves in difficulties, I regret that this is a situation for which we will all have to take responsibility in years to come. I hope that the Government will rule out no deal because the consequences will be profound.

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16 JAN 2019

Oral Answers to Questions - Prime Minister: Engagements

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

Driving off a cliff never ends well, particularly if it results in a crash and burn Brexit with no deal in just 72 days' time, but there is a way to avoid this: to be realistic by extending article 50 to allow us to put a realistic negotiated Brexit direct to the British people, to ask if it has their consent and also to include an option to remain with the excellent deal we already have.

Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

My hon. Friend will not be surprised to hear, as I have said this already in today's Prime Minister's questions, that I believe we should deliver on the vote of the referendum in 2016: we should be delivering Brexit. As I indicated earlier to her, she and others have talked about extending article 50, but the European Union would extend it only under circumstances in which it was going to be possible to come to an agreement on a deal. The talks we will be having—the discussions I will be having with parliamentarians across this House—will be aimed at ensuring that we can find a way to secure a deal that will get the support of this House.

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15 JAN 2019

Health and Social Care: NHS Facilities

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

The maintenance backlog across the NHS is deeply worrying. It affects equipment as well as buildings. Two of the 10 operating theatres at Torbay Hospital remain out of action. Would the Secretary of State meet me to discuss the impact that that is having on patient care? It is increasing waiting lists and leading to very short-notice cancellations to make way for emergency cases. Torbay Hospital has a £34 million maintenance backlog. It is deeply worrying.

Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

I am very happy to meet my hon. Friend, who makes a very important point. Of course, future allocations of capital are for the spending review. I look forward to working with her to try to sort out the problems in Torbay and across the board.

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14 JAN 2019

Leaving the EU: European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

This deal simply does not deliver on the will of the people—it cannot do so mathematically. It is unwanted by the 48% who wanted to remain, and it is unloved by a very significant proportion of the loudest voices for leave. More importantly, it does not have the valid consent of the people. To give consent to an operation, people need to understand and have set out for them what the procedure involves, so that they can weigh up the risks and benefits. I am afraid that it is only now that we truly know what Brexit looks like out of the very many versions of Brexit that were presented during the referendum campaign. And I am afraid that it looks very far from the sunlit uplands with which we were presented at that time.

We cannot say that there is valid consent until people have had the opportunity to weigh up the risks and benefits of this deal—of Brexit reality—and we should take the time to pause in order to give them the chance to give that consent. The Secretary of Statesaid that that would take a year, but that is not the case. This could be done in 24 weeks, and we know that the European Union is prepared to suspend article 50 to allow that process to go ahead. I do not agree with the often stated claim that this would somehow be a travesty that would somehow let down our democracy. Since when was democracy a single, one-off event? No one said it was a travesty when we had a further general election in 2017, just two years after the 2015 election. Surely the worst argument of all for refusing the British people the opportunity to give their valid consent would be to say that it might upset the far right—a group of thugs outside the gates of Parliament. Since when did this House give in to the demands of fascists?

We have heard powerful speeches by my hon. Friend Joseph Johnson and Mr Sheerman about the scale of the harms this deal will inflict on our constituents. All Members in this House have a duty to say it as it is. In an age of populism and fake news, we owe it to our constituents to tell them how it is and not to bow to that populism.

We should be very careful if we are going to ignore the very real concerns that have been set out regarding the conduct of the original referendum campaign—concerns that part of one of the biggest donations in British political history could have come as laundered money from abroad. We have also heard about the serious concerns and the fines imposed by the Electoral Commission for cheating; we are talking about more than half a million pounds diverted to support the murky activities of AggregateIQ. These are very serious concerns. If, in the years to come, there is a public inquiry looking back on the conduct of the campaign, it will ask why those concerns were not taken more seriously at the time.

Alec Shelbrooke Conservative, Elmet and Rothwell

I know that my hon. Friend is a supporter of a second referendum, so let me take this opportunity to ask her what she believes the question would be in a second referendum.

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

My hon. Friend makes a valid point, but the point is that if this House agreed to a referendum Bill, those decisions would be made by this House. My feeling is that it should be a choice between, "Is this what you meant by Brexit? Do you want to proceed on the terms of this deal—the only realistic deal on the table?" and "Do you want to remain?" It would be up to this House to decide whether a further option was included, but what would be wrong would be to deny people the opportunity to discuss that.

Angus MacNeil Chair, International Trade Committee

But effectively the deal will be dead tomorrow, so the premise of the people's vote will be dead tomorrow, leaving only a hard Brexit or revocation of article 50. That is what we are down to now.

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

As it happens, I do not agree, but I do not think that any of us should pretend that it is for us, right now, to decide what the referendum question would be. We now know what the deal is. This is the only realistic deal on the table. It would be unconscionable for members of the Government to impose no deal. We have heard what the consequences of no deal would be, and I am afraid that they would be highly damaging for all the people we represent. It would not be damaging so much for big interests; it would be the most disadvantaged in our society who would pay the highest price.

Angus MacNeil Chair, International Trade Committee

If Parliament voted down the deal tomorrow, the deal could be resurrected again for the people's vote. That is a perplexing situation.

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

If the deal does come back to this House—and once the Labour party has gone through its processology and is able to deliver on the wishes of its own members to back a people's vote—then many former clinicians, including me, will be bringing forward an amendment to make it conditional on informed consent and obtaining that through a people's vote. That would be the right thing to do, in recognition that, as we can all see, this House has reached an absolute impasse. That is the simple truth of the matter. There is no consent for any of the versions of Brexit. Now we have reached that point, absolutely the right thing to do, and the ethical thing to do, is to be honest about it and take the decision back to the people with a simple question: is this what you meant by Brexit or would you rather remain on the deal that we already have?

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08 JAN 2019

Seaborne Freight

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

I am glad to hear the Secretary of State confirm that no money will change hands, but there will undoubtedly be vast manpower and bureaucracy costs in no-deal planning, and we know that there are actual costs when it comes to commissioning refrigerated warehousing and special air freight. All that could be avoided if the Government ruled out no deal. No deal would be catastrophic, and no sensible Government should inflict that on their people.

Chris Grayling The Secretary of State for Transport

Of course, the best way of avoiding no deal is to ensure that the deal passes through this House, and I will vote for it next week.

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08 JAN 2019

Pubs Code

Today in the Commons I raised the '72 pints' campaign with pubs minister Kelly Tolhurst on behalf of a constituent who has long been campaigning for fair treatment for pub tenants. I share my constituent's concern that too often breweries and pub companies are not passing on accurate information to pubs about how much beer in the casks they sell is drinkable. The undrinkable sediment in cask beer can be as much as three pints, so a pub buying a 72 pint cask may only be able to sell 69 pints from it. This is unfair to both consumers and publicans.

In the case of tenanted pubs, where rent may be set based on volumes sold, this increase cost pressures because it assumes sales on the basis of the volume of casks rather than the volume that can actually be sold. This is not just a small technical detail, but one that matters at scale because it costs publicans and ultimately customers more.

I am pleased that the Minister has agreed to meet with me and publicans from the constituency to discuss this issue and to find a way forward to tackle a long standing grievance. Pubs are at the heart of our communities and I want to help them remain financially viable.

If this affects your business please do get in touch.

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07 JAN 2019

NHS Long-Term Plan

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

I warmly welcome this ambitious and wide-ranging long-term plan for the NHS. I agree with Dr Whitford that so much is dependent on social care, on public health and on the workforce through Health Education England budgets, but may I add to that the situation for capital budgets within the forthcoming spending review? So much of the success of transforming services depends on the upfront funding to get things going and sometimes double running so that we can get a new service up and running before an existing service closes down. Will the Secretary of State go further in talking about the role and importance of capital budgets?

I also really welcome the triple integration—not only between health and social care, but between mental and physical health and between primary and hospital services. Could the Secretary of State confirm and support the proposal in the long-term plan that the legislative tweaks that will support that much needed integration will come from the NHS itself? I confirm that the Health and Social Care Committee remains committed to subjecting those proposals to pre-legislative scrutiny. Will he meet me to see how we can take that forward?

Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

Yes, I would be very happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss the legislative changes. These changes have been proposed by the NHS. The NHS wants the changes set out at a high level in the plan. Of course there is a lot of consequential work to do to turn them into a full legislative proposal. The NHS is working on that. If it does that alongside and working with the Select Committee, I would be very happy to meet with her to discuss how that might happen. This is very much the NHS's proposed legislation and I look forward to discussing it with her.

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19 DEC 2018

Engagements

Oral Answer to Question

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

Will the Prime Minister join me in thanking all NHS, social care and emergency services staff who will be working over Christmas and the new year? Imagine how many more of them could be employed if we were not haemorrhaging billions preparing for a disastrous no deal. Could the Prime Minister end the uncertainty by ruling out no deal and will she also end the uncertainty please by publishing the long-term 10-year plan for the NHS before we break for Christmas?

Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

My hon. Friend and indeed a number of others have raised this question of no deal and not wanting to have no deal. As I said earlier in answer to questions, there is a simple way to ensure that we do not leave with no deal, and that is to back the deal.

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17 DEC 2018

European Council

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

Here is what would do irreparable damage to the integrity of our politics: to run down the clock and end up forcing through a deal that 48% did not want because they did not want to leave the European Union, and that the majority of those who voted for Brexit do not want. The mathematics simply do not stack up. The majority, in this House and in the wider country, do not want this deal. Can I ask the Prime Minister to get on with it, so that we can vote on it and then look at practical alternatives?

Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

As I indicated in my statement, we will bring the vote back in the second week in January. It is our intention that the debate will start in the previous week, the first week of January. As I said earlier, I have listened to the House. Had I not listened to the House and started the work to try to get further assurances, I suspect hon. Members would have raised that issue. It is right that I and the Government are doing exactly what we said we would, which is work with the EU for those further political and legal assurances.

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13 DEC 2018

Local Government Funding Settlement

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

Devon has successfully piloted the 100% retention of business rates, and it has injected an additional £20 million into Devon to support local economic growth and public services, but the pilot is due to end in March. Surely the whole point is to continue pilots that are a success. Can the Secretary of State provide any reassurance for Devon as to whether it will be able to continue, because it was not in the list of counties that he mentioned?

James BrokenshireThe Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government

I recognise the challenges and issues over the business rates retention pilots. Not everyone has been successful in relation to the pilots for 2019-20. We are piloting on the basis of 75%. That is on the basis of the new system that is being introduced in 2020 so that we can properly understand how it will operate in practice. I will certainly highlight to my hon. Friend some of the other issues in relation to, for example, the rural services grant, and how that will be beneficial to her local community, but, obviously, we will look at the representations that are received through this provisional settlement.

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12 DEC 2018

UK Fishing Industry

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

I thank my hon. Friend for making that really important point. In Brixham, in my constituency, fishermen are very worried about choke species with cod, which they cannot avoid catching. I wonder whether she feels the same about cod fisheries?

.....

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

Does the hon. Gentleman share my concern about the catastrophic implications of our crashing out with no deal and no transition, particularly because of the extreme friction that would cause at the borders? It would certainly affect my fishermen and I wonder whether he feels the same.

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11 DEC 2018

European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018: Statutory Obligations on Ministers

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

In 108 days we run out of road, and the only red line that has not been laid down is the one in front of the cliff's edge, over which we would fall into a chaotic no deal. I urge the Minister and the Government to bring forward the meaningful vote to next week, because by then at least we will know what cosmetic changes have been made in Brussels.

Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

I say gently to my hon. Friend that we should make sure the Prime Minister has the opportunity that she seeks to get the best deal in front of this House, and that we have the assurances we need so that the whole House can get behind the deal. My hon. Friend is a great champion of working across party lines; we ought to be taking this matter forward in a cross-party manner that delivers for the whole country. I do not believe that it would be right to rush into having a vote of this nature before we had sought those assurances.

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10 DEC 2018

Exiting the European Union

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

The Prime Minister rightly talks about listening to young people and first-time voters. Does she accept that they voted overwhelmingly to remain? They look at what is happening in this House and they see that this deal is Brexit, warts and all—this is as good as it gets. Is it not time, now that we know what Brexit actually looks like as opposed to some fantasy version of Brexit, that those people get the chance to vote on Brexit reality rather than Brexit fantasy?

Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I think my hon. Friend has heard my response in relation to a people's vote, a second referendum, before. I genuinely believe that we should recognise that the referendum in 2016 was the biggest exercise in democracy in our history. We should respect the many people who went out to vote, including many who had not voted before. I believe that if we then go back to people and say, "Have another think, think again," they will question the value of democracy and the value of the vote.

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05 DEC 2018

Immigration (Time Limit on Detention):

 Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

Further to the point made by my right hon. Friend Justine Greening, will the Home Secretary commit to looking at the extra costs and the bureaucracy that will fall on our health service and our care sector? As she has said, because of the salary threshold that applies, many of the key staff who enable our health service and care sector to function will fall below that salary threshold, and the extra costs that will fall on the care sector in particular are quite extraordinary. Will he commit to reducing bureaucracy and tackling that cost?

Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for the Home Department

Again, a very important point has been raised by one of my colleagues. I absolutely make that commitment. My hon. Friend is quite right to raise it, because we have to recognise that as we move from the current system of freedom of movement, in which there is virtually no bureaucracy to speak of, to a system under which we will require visas for every worker, we must keep an eye on the paperwork and bureaucratic requirements and keep the system as simple and light-touch as possible. That applies not just to larger employers, such as hospitals or NHS trusts, but to the smaller employers that may be looking for skills but perhaps taking only one or two people a year, and we should keep that in our minds as well.

.......

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

It is a pleasure to follow Mr Sharma, and I agree with him that we are stronger when we work with our neighbours. No one doubts the commitment of the Prime Minister to try to deliver on the wishes of the 52%. The trouble is that no one really knows which version of Brexit she was mandated to deliver. There are so many possible alternatives, with everything from Norway, the European Economic Area, the European Free Trade Association and Norway plus a customs union through to a Canada-style free trade agreement and Canada plus plus plus. There are so many options, but after two years of hard slog, we now know what this looks like. We know what the withdrawal agreement looks like, for example. It is a legally binding agreement with more than 500 pages, but worryingly, it has only 26 pages describing what will actually happen after the transition period. That is nothing more than a wish list of asks and it is very sketchy. We are heading for a blindfold Brexit.

I also fear that we are being forced into a binary false choice in which we accept either a bad deal or something even worse: no deal. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister has set down red lines all around herself for the various options. The one area in which she has not put down a red line is the worst deal of all, which is no deal. I am afraid that I do not agree with my right hon. Friend John Redwood when he talks about "Project Fear". I think that very shortly, possibly in as little as 114 days, we will be up against "Project Reality". In the context of no deal, "Project Reality" would be very serious indeed for patients who use our national health service. We are talking about major interruptions in the supply chain of vital medicines and medical supplies. We are talking about insecurity in the supply of vital diagnostic test materials such as medical radioisotopes, which cannot be stockpiled. We are talking about supply chain issues for complex biological drugs, including those that we use to stop transplant rejection and to treat cancers.

We are also talking about products that cannot easily be switched from one brand to another in cases of shortage, such as medication for epilepsy. We are talking about difficulty in guaranteeing sufficient refrigeration capacity for stockpiling. Nobody voted in the referendum because they wanted to see the stockpiling of medicines and the extra costs involved, or the difficulties that the NHS and our care services will face in providing the workforce that we need. The truth is that there is no version of Brexit that would be positive for our NHS, for our care services, for science and research or for public health, and we need to be honest with people about that.

We also need to be honest and have a reality check about what is happening in this place. It seems to me that even the dogs in the street know that the Prime Minister's deal is not going to pass this House next week. That is the truth of it. We should now be thinking about plan B, and we need to be honest about that. To my mind, plan B must not involve no deal. No responsible Government could inflict no deal on the United Kingdom in 114 days' time. We are absolutely not prepared for that. So what is the alternative? There is no majority in this House for any of the other options, so the alternative is to look at going back to the British people and saying to them, "This is what Brexit looks like. This is the best that could be negotiated. Is this the Brexit you voted for, or do you want to stick with the deal that we have?" I would say that there was no consent to being dragged into Brexit without asking the people.

Before coming to this place, I was privileged to work in the health service for 24 years, and to teach junior doctors and medical students. In medicine, there is the really important principle of informed consent. We should apply it to Brexit, because Brexit is major constitutional, economic and social surgery. To give informed consent, one has to know what the operation involves. Two years ago, there were many possible versions of that operation, but now that we know what the surgery involves, it is time for proper discussion about the risks and benefits, and to allow people to weigh them up for themselves.

James Heappey Conservative, Wells

My hon. Friend knows that I respect her enormously. I agree that being very candid with the electorate is the right thing to do right now. Should we also be candid with them about the mechanism for delivering a second referendum—about the fact that it would require an Act of Parliament; about the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill taking 348 days to get through the Houses of Parliament; and about there being absolutely no expectation that a Bill as controversial as a second referendum Bill would be able to progress through this place any quicker?

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

I ask my hon. Friend to have a look at the work of the Constitution Unit and others, who estimate that we could get a referendum Bill through the House in 22 weeks. We would first need to extend article 50. That is what I hope that the Prime Minister does. I hope that she looks at the reality of the situation, extends article 50, and asks the British people, "Is this the Brexit you voted for, or do you want to stay with the deal we have?"—the one that has served us well for decades. That question has to go back to the British people.

None of us in this House should be forced into a false choice—into choosing a bad deal because we are told that the only alternative is no deal. That is simply not the case, and I believe that the House will reject the deal. That is why I support the amendment in the name of Hilary Benn rejecting no deal, and urge colleagues to do the same. The House should ask to extend article 50, so that we have the time to consider where we go from here. Otherwise, in 114 days, we run out of road and fall off a cliff. What is needed now—this message is for the Opposition Front Benchers as well as ours—is a BFO: a blinding flash of the obvious. We need to think again. Delivering on a people's vote will require the Opposition Front Benchers not to cling to the idea that they will force a general election; we know that will not happen, either.

We do not have any time to waste. We need Members on both Front Benches to give a free vote, or deliver support for a people's vote. That is the way forward. This House would decide the exact question. I believe that the choice should be between this deal and remain; I know others feel that the question should be more complex. We do not have to decide that now—it is something that the House could decide later—but we must not run out of road; we must extend article 50.

............

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

Does the Secretary of State agree, however, that another option would be to extend article 50, and that it is incorrect to present the House with a false choice in which we would automatically fall out on 29 March?

Jeremy Hunt Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

I had a conversation with my hon. Friend earlier this evening about how lively things are in her constituency. I think that if any of us asked our own constituents whether the right solution to the dilemmas we face would be to extend the agony by postponing the article 50 due date, they would be absolutely horrified. They want to get this over with. They want to get it resolved.

I mentioned the risks of a no-deal situation to our security, which were recognised by my right hon. Friend Stephen Crabb and my hon. Friends the Members for Ludlow (Mr Dunne) and for Banbury (Victoria Prentis). They all alluded to that issue.

In conclusion, when it comes to defence and security, irrespective of our membership of the EU, the lesson of history is clear. When Britain and Europe stand together against common foes, our combined strength deters our adversaries and keeps the peace. If we did not do that, our common security would be placed at risk in a way that would be wholly unnecessary. So let us grasp this opportunity for a new and different partnership, post Brexit, based on the essential truth that British and European security are indivisible and, whether inside or outside the legal structures of the EU, our common interests are best served by working together to protect the values we all cherish.

They Work For You

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04 DEC 2018

Personal Independence Payment: Mental Illness

Written Answers

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

  • To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of successful personal independence payment applicants have a diagnosed serious mental health condition.
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of personal independence payment claimants are diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Sarah Newton The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Statistics on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim outcomes (clearances) at disability level are not readily available and have not previously been published as Official Statistics. We are producing the statistics requested and issuing them in an Official Statistics release on 11th December 2018 in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Statistics on the number of individuals in receipt of PIP payments broken down by disability are already available on Stat Xplore:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

Guidance for users is available at:

https://sw.stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html.

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04 DEC 2018

European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

I welcome the Prime Minister's commitment to engage further with the Select Committees. When she came to the Liaison Committeelast week, she will have heard one Committee Chair after another pointing out to her the catastrophic consequences of no deal and asking whether she would rule that out, if and when the House rejects this deal, because we cannot inflict that kind of catastrophe on our people.

Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

If my hon. Friend is concerned about no deal, the way to ensure that there is a deal is to support the deal that is on the table.

.........

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

Does my right hon. Friend agree that this is exemplified in article 107 of the future framework document? It just says:

"The Parties should consider appropriate arrangements for cooperation on space"— and that is it.

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27 NOV 2018

Health and Social Care: Community Hospitals

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons)

Dartmouth has lost its much-loved community hospital. Unfortunately, that loss has been compounded by the closure of River View nursing home, which had been due to house some replacement facilities. The total loss of community beds in isolated coastal communities such as Dartmouth is causing a collapse of trust in such programmes. Will the Minister meet me to discuss the situation in Dartmouth and the loss of nursing home and community beds?

Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

I will of course meet my hon. Friend. She is right that we need to keep such valuable local resources right in the community, where they are most needed and where they keep people out of acute hospital services and surrounded by their friends and family.

They Work For You

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26 NOV 2018

Green Nonprofit Organisations

Thanks to Devon representatives from Devon Wildlife Trust, RSPB South West, Woodland Trust and National Trust for coming to Parliament to discuss environmental issues, the Agriculture Bill and the Fisheries Bill.

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