Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Prime Minister's Questions: 5 February 2020

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>> Dr Jamie Wallis (Bridgend) (Con): If he will list his official engagements for

Wednesday 5 February.

>> The Prime Minister (Boris Johnson): The whole House will want to pay tribute to

the police and all the emergency services for their brave response to the terrorist

incident in Streatham on Sunday. That appalling incident makes plain the case for immediate

action, and we will shortly introduce emergency legislation to ensure that we do everything

to protect the public.

This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties

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

>> Dr Wallis: On behalf of my constituents in Bridgend,

may I warmly congratulate the Prime Minister on delivering on the promise made to the British

people that we will leave the European Union? Will he reassure my constituents that, now

that we are taking back control of our money, our borders and our laws, every effort will

be made to bring jobs and investment to areas such as Bridgend that feel left behind?

>> The Prime Minister: I can give my hon. Friend that assurance.

With better education, better infrastructure and high technology, we will unite and level

up this country and deliver, as he is doing for the people of Bridgend.

>> Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab): We were all appalled by the terror attack

in Streatham on Sunday, and I want to join the Prime Minister in paying tribute to the

bravery and dedication of the police, security services and all the other emergency response

staff for the way in which they dealt with a terrifying and terrible situation.

Last Friday, this country left the European Union. Britains place in the world is at

a crossroads, and while there are different views across the country, we will be holding

the Government to account as the negotiations begin. My hope is that we will now truly come

together to shape our common future and build an internationalist, diverse and outward-looking

country. Indeed, we will get an opportunity to do that when Britain hosts the UN climate

change conference, COP26, later this year. Despite the fact that we are at the 11th hour

to save the planet, the former Tory Minister and now ex-president of COP26 Claire ONeill

said that there has been ahuge lack of leadership and engagementfrom this Government.

What on earth did she mean?

>> The Prime Minister: If we look at what the Government are achieving

and already have achieved on climate change, it is quite phenomenal. The right hon. Gentleman

will know that last year was the first year on record that renewables produced more of

this countrys energy than fossil fuels. He will know that 99% of all the solar panels

that have achieved that miracle were installed since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.

We are delivering for the people of this country. We are reducing greenhouse gases. All he would

produce, I am afraid, is a load of hot air.

>> Jeremy Corbyn: The problem is, the Governments own figures

show that they are missing the carbon budgetlet alone 2050, it will be 2099 before this country

meets net zero.

We discovered this morning that two former Conservative leaders have also turned down

the job formerly done by Claire ONeill. It might be third time lucky if we make a

joint approach to the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Sir Iain Duncan

Smith)—perhaps he would like to take on that job. He is in the Chamber, ready for

it.

The Prime Ministers own former Minister said that we should haveclear actions”,

an agreed plananda roadmap for the Year of Action”, but we do not. Why

is the Prime Minister failing so spectacularly to measure up to the scale of the climate

crisis that this country and this planet are facing?

>> The Prime Minister: This is beyond satire. This is the first country,

the first major economy in the world, to have set a target of being carbon neutral by 2050.

It is an absolutely fantastic thing. We are leading the world in our ambitions, and we

will have a wonderful summit in Glasgow, one of the most fantastic cities in our country,

at the end of the year.

>> Jeremy Corbyn: This country is not meeting its target and

it is not due to meet its target, and I think the Prime Minister should recognise that.

Even the Paris targets are not enough. The UN says that we have just a decade to change

course if we want to avert a climate catastrophe. Let us look at something else his ex-Minister

saidthat the Prime Minister promised tolead from the frontand guaranteed there

would bemoneyandpeople”, but these promises are not close to being met.

What on earth could she have been talking about?

>> The Prime Minister: As so often, I am not entirely sure what the

right hon. Gentleman is talking about, because if we look at what this Government have actually

deliveredif we look at our Conservative policies of backing green tech, of backing

innovation, of supporting a dynamic market economy, which is the solution to these problemswe

have cut CO2 emissions in this country since 2010, on 1990 levels, by 42%. That is an astonishing

achievement, and at the same time, the economy has grown by 73%, thanks to free-market, dynamic,

one nation Conservativism. That is our approach. What is his?

>> Jeremy Corbyn: The Prime Ministers former Minister said:

My advice to" — Well, Government Members may not like it, but I am going to read it:

My advice to anybody to whom Boris is making promiseswhether it is voters, world leaders,

ministers, employees orfamily membersis to get it in writing, get a lawyer to look

at it and make sure the money is in the bank.”

Not my wordshers. The Prime Ministers failure in government means this country will

not meet its net zero target until 2099. This Government have banned offshore wind, and

this Government are funding billions on fossil fuel projects abroad. Is this what his ex-Minister

means by theabsence of leadership”?

>> The Prime Minister: I think the grotesque failure of the Leader

of the Opposition to understand what is happening in this countrys economy, let alone in

the fight against climate change, is quite mind-boggling. I can inform him today not

just that this country is leading in producing the technology to generate offshore, but that

the north-east of this country leads the world in producing and designing those fantastic

turbines. It is because of that technological innovation that we are able massively to expand

our renewables. I can tell himI think he may know thisthat in 1990 this country

was 70% dependent on coal power. And, by the way, he would want to reopen the coalmines.

Today, we are down to 3%, and by 2024 it will be zero. That is our plan. What is his?

>> Jeremy Corbyn: It was the Labour party that proposed the

climate change emergency motion to this House on 1 May. The Prime Minister is quoting things

that happened in 1990 and afterwards. During that time, of course, he was a climate sceptic

who did not say anything about this at all.

Poor leadership is nothing new to this Prime Minister. When he was Foreign Secretary, he

cut the number of climate attachés across the world by 60% in our embassies, and reportedly

said to his staff, “Youre not going to spill this all out to the media, are you?”

Considering his monumental failure in advance of COP26, is it not really just a continuation

of his climate change denial statements that he was regularly making up until 2015?

>> The Prime Minister: The right hon. Gentleman is talking absolute

nonsense. This Government are delivering a fantastic agenda in tackling climate change;

we lead the world in going for a zero-carbon approach. His own approach is utterly unclear

and has indeed been condemned by the GMB as a disaster for the UK economy. He would confiscate

peoples cars and prevent them from having foreign holidays. We have a plan that will

allow the UK economy to continue to grow and create jobs and that will tackle climate change.

>> Jeremy Corbyn: I really do admire the Prime Ministers

very vivid imagination, but unfortunately his vivid imagination seems to have taken

over from his memory, because he might recall saying that climate change is aprimitive

fearwithout foundation”. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh said: “Any consequence of

failure to deliver a climate action plan must fall equally on every countrythe cost of

our inaction is devastating for every living person”, but our Prime Minister is failing

on the biggest stage on the most important issue of our time. And now his former Minister

has described preparations in Whitehall asWhitehall knot-tying, infighting and obfuscation,

petty political squabbles and black ops briefings”.

No wonder the Prime Minister is shutting newspapers out of No. 10 because he does not like the

briefings. When will he face up to the climate emergency and take the action necessary to

turn Glasgow into the turning point when this world will stop the levels of pollution and

climate change we are having and go forward to a sustainable future? Because his Governments

policies simply do not take us there.

>> The Prime Minister: This Government are showing world leadership

in tackling climate change, and we are going to have a fantastic summit at Glasgow and

I look forward to it very much.

The right hon. Gentleman mentions the media. Labour finally conducted an inquest into what

happened in the general election, and they discovered in the Labour party that it was

not the leadership that was at fault, and it was not Brexit; it was the media. They

blame the media for it. I do not blame them; I am a journalistI love journalism. The

people of this country do not blame the media; they can see that the media do their best

to represent the reality, and the reality is that this is a Government who are getting

on with delivering 40 new hospitals and 20,000 more police, tackling climate change, and

£30,000 starting salaries for every teacher in the country. It is not about the presentation

of the facts, it is about the reality, and the right hon. Gentleman cannot cope with

the reality.

>> Darren Henry (Broxtowe) (Con): As MP for Broxtowe, I am absolutely delighted

that funding is starting to flow to rebuild hospitals, such as the £5 million seed funding

going to Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. Does the Prime Minister agree with

me that this Conservative Government are committed to fulfilling their manifesto pledges and

will deliver for the NHS?

>> The Prime Minister: I agree passionately with my hon. Friend and

congratulate him on all he has done to campaign for the redevelopment of Queens Medical

Centre and Nottingham City Hospital, and of course I am proud that that money is now flowing

through to those wonderful projects.

>> Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) (SNP):

May I add my grateful thanks to the police and emergency services who had to react to

the dreadful terrorist incident in Streatham?

In the first few days of Brexit Britain this Prime Minister has sacked an official, taken

an isolationist approach to trade and banned the press from a Downing Street briefing;

is he intentionally trying to impersonate Donald Trump?

>> The Prime Minister: I do not think anybody listening to my speech

on Monday could have mistaken it for having anything but the most passionate internationalist,

globalist, open, outward-looking approach. There is only one party in this country that

hasnationalistin its name; thats them. They would break up the most successful

political partnership of the last 300 years. The right hon. Gentleman and his party should

concentrate on the day job and doing a better job for the people of Scotland.

>> Ian Blackford: The Prime Minister does not even know the

name of our party. The Prime Minister is on a dangerous trajectory. Is it any wonder that

poll after poll shows majority support for Scottish independence? Our former US ambassador

has made clear the threat of a Tory-Trump trade deal, warning that drug prices could

soar. This would see increased pressure on our frontline services. It is clearer than

ever that this Government and this Prime Minister are a threat to our NHS. This afternoon the

SNP will present our NHS protection Bill to remove the very real threat of Tory privatisation.

Will the Prime Minister commit right now to supporting our legislation?

>> The Prime Minister: I think it is very odd that the right hon.

Gentleman should denounce this countrys wish to have trade deals around the world

when, as I understand it, their proposal is to try to re-join the European Union, and

have a different currency, whose name they have yet to identifyperhaps they could

elucidate that for the Househave a border at Berwick, and just after this country has

taken back control of its outstanding marine wealth to hand it back to Brussels. That is

their policy. I really think they should concentrate on doing a better job for the people of Scotland.

>> Michael Tomlinson (Mid Dorset and North Poole) (Con):

A strong society needs strong families, as our manifesto rightly said. It went on to

say that we will champion family hubs to serve vulnerable families. Will the Prime Minister

prioritise family hubs and ensure that they are linked to our early years strategy, the

troubled families programme and childrens services reform?

>> The Prime Minister: Yes, indeed. That is why we have given another

£165 million to extend the troubled families programme this year.

>> Matt Western (Warwick and Leamington) (Lab): In the past 10 years, violent crime has risen

152% across the towns of Warwickshire. In the past two weeks in my constituency, two

people have been killed in two separate events and others remain seriously ill or injured.

The Government have promised to reinstate 20,000 police officers, but is not the simple

truth that it is now our residents, through hikes in council tax of 12% last year and

6% this year, who are picking up the whole bill for the Old Bill, and that the Conservative

party is no longer the party of law and order but the party of fear and disorder?

>> The Prime Minister: To be fair to the hon. Gentleman, he is making

an important point about violent crime. I share his anger. That is why we are putting

20,000 more police on the streets. That is, above all, why we are now tackling the county

lines drugs gangs that are behind so much of the rise in violent crime. We will get

that crime down.

>> Damian Green (Ashford) (Con): The Prime Minister is conscious of the very

widespread concern in this House about the plans to involve Huawei in 5G networks, concern

that will have only been increased by the news this week that France is building a new

5G network without the involvement of Huawei, following the lead of Australia. If they can

do, we could do it. Will my right hon. Friend confirm that he wants to reduce Huaweis

involvement over time, and can he give a timescale as to when that involvement will hit zero?

>> The Prime Minister: My right hon. Friend is certainly right that

we are going to be reducing the involvement of Huawei below the 35% market cap, but he

is also right in his general vision, which is one I entirely share. What has happened,

I am afraid, is a failure of like-minded countries to produce an alternative to the 5G network

except that provided by high-risk vendors. That is why we are now doubling the science

budget. We will be working with some of the countries he mentions in order to produce

exactly that diversification in the market.

>> Hywel Williams (Arfon) (PC): In November last year, the personal independence

payment assessment centre in my constituency was moved to Rhyl. No notice has ever been

given of that change. The next bus from Caernarfon to Rhyl takes 1 hour 44 minutes, or in a case

in point in the constituency of my right hon. Friend the Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd (Liz

Saville Roberts), the bus from Barmouth to Rhyl takes f5 hours 15 minutes. This is the

reality in the Prime Ministers soaraway global Britain. Will he instruct his Minister

to remedy this matter immediately?

>> The Prime Minister: I thank the hon. Gentleman for the point he

raises. We do need to improve our bus services across the whole country and that is why we

are investing another £250 million immediately to improve bus services. My right hon. Friend

the Chancellor has many more such investments in the pipeline.

>> Mark Logan (Bolton North East) (Con): Sometimes we are the train, sometimes we are

the track, and just last week we have taken control back. Does the Prime Minister agree

that now is the time for us to be the track for a Metrolink between Manchester and Bolton?

>> The Prime Minister: Yes indeed, and that is whythanks partly

to my hon. Friends urgings and his campaignwe have given the combined mayoral authority

in Bolton £300 million under the transforming cities deal, plus a share of the £4.2 billion

local transport fund. We have given it the toolslet us hope that it follows his urgings

and builds the Metrolink that he wants.

>> Catherine West (Hornsey and Wood Green) (Lab):

Last Friday I visited a school in my constituency, and in 2020 the state of the school buildings

was Dickensian, with leaking roofs, rusty shower rooms and mouldy changing areas. When

will the Government understand that the cost of education is high, but that it is a worthy

investment in the future of our schools? Whether a child is a whizz kid or is needy, every

child deserves to be at school in an excellent and inspiring school building.

The Prime Minister: >> That is exactly why this Government are

investing a record £14 billion more in education, raising funding for primary schools to £4,000

per head and £5,000 per head for every secondary school in the country. We can only do that

because we are running a strong and dynamic market economy, and that is what we are going

to do.

>> Edward Timpson (Eddisbury) (Con): To help to genuinely spread opportunity across

our country, may I encourage my right hon. Friend to have a pre-Budget chat with his

Chancellor about extending the Governments welcome plans to reduce national insurance

contributions for employers of ex-service personnel to other groups who find it difficult

to get a good job, including care leavers, ex-offenders, those with a disability and

the long-term unemployed?

>> The Prime Minister: Yes, and I thank my hon. Friend and his family

for everything that they do to encourage ex-offenders into work. I will indeed take up that suggestion

with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor. We cut taxes on working people. We cut national

insurance. The Opposition would hike taxes and keep people in welfare.

>> Nadia Whittome (Nottingham East) (Lab): It has been two years since the Windrush scandal

exposed the wrongful detention and deportation of Commonwealth citizens. While we wait for

the much delayed publication of the lessons learned review, the Government plan to deport

50 people to Jamaica by charter flight next week. Will the Prime Minister immediately

suspend the flight until the lessons learned review is published and the recommendations

are implemented?

>> The Prime Minister: I think the whole House will understand that

the people of this country will think it right to send back foreign national offenders.

>> Suella Braverman (Fareham) (Con): The terrorist incident last week reminds us

that the rule of law remains a fundamental foundation of our democratic constitution,

but the explosion of judicial review and judicial activism has led to a censoriousness and litigiousness

in our society and has distorted questions that ought to remain exclusively political.

How will my right hon. Friend ensure that Parliament remains the sovereign and legitimate

source of law as we take back control?

>> The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend is a distinguished lawyer and

she is right to stick up for the immense value of our legal system. We must protect judicial

review. It is a vital part of our system, but we should also ensure that it is not abused

to conduct politics by other means or to create needless delay.

>> Mohammad Yasin (Bedford) (Lab): For many years, Bedford has been promised

a new in-patient mental health facility, especially since provision at Weller Wing was closed

in 2017, yet patients are still travelling 20 miles to access services. Will the Prime

Minister explain how that demonstrates the parity of esteem for mental health care that

his party promised in 2012?

>> The Prime Minister: We are putting record investment in the NHS—£33.9

billionand a total of £12 billion is now going into mental healthcare. That is a record

sum.

>> Mr David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden) (Con):

Following on from the question from my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Damian

Green) about Huawei, the Australian agencies analysed the involvement of any element of

Huawei in their 5G system and determined that any involvement would lead to a major risk

of both sabotage and espionage. Can the Prime Minister give an undertaking that this country

will lead the Five Eyes and NATO to create an alternative to Huawei in the next two years?

>> The Prime Minister: Yes, we will of course do nothing either to

endanger our critical national security infrastructure or to prejudice co-operation with Five Eyes

partners, as my right hon. Friend has rightly suggested, and we will work to ensure that

high-risk vendors cannot dominate our market.

>> Alex Davies-Jones (Pontypridd) (Lab): The Prime Minister will know that under his

Government there has been a mass shortage of consultants across the UK, leading to strain

on our A&E services. How will he make sure, especially now we have left the EU,

that consultants from overseas are encouraged to apply for NHS visas to work in hospitals

across the UK?

>> The Prime Minister: We have instituted NHS visas in order to attract

talent from around the world, but I remind the hon. Lady, who I think speaks for a Welsh

seat, that that is a devolved matter for the Welsh Labour Government.

>> Alicia Kearns (Rutland and Melton) (Con): The Prime Minister has rightly put keeping

our country safe and the NHS at the heart of the Governments plans. Will he support

my campaign for two new GP surgeries in my beautiful market towns of Oakham and Melton,

and can I remind him that he is always welcome if he is in search of a pork pie, Rutland

Bitter or stilton?

>> An hon. Member: Hed probably eat them all.

>> The Prime Minister: That was rude. In response to my hon. Friend,

the short answer is yes and yes.

>> Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South) (Lab): Last week it was revealed that my constituent

Errol Graham starved to death just months after the Department for Work and Pensions

stopped his benefits. His emaciated body was only discovered when bailiffs broke down his

front door to evict him. The first priority of Government is to keep their citizens safe.

How many more vulnerable benefit claimants will have to die before this Government start

to value their lives?

>> The Prime Minister: This is a tragic case, and the hon. Lady is

right to raise it. We have allocated £36 million to improve safeguarding and decision

making in cases like this, including through the creation of a new independent serious

case panel, which will enable us to scrutinise and learn lessons from such tragic cases.

We are also improving guidance for staff.

>> Sir Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex) (Con):

Will my right hon. Friend join me in extending on behalf of the whole House our sympathy

and best wishes to those injured in the Streatham attack last week? I welcome his intention

to legislate as a consequence of this attack. Does he agree that Her Majestys Government

now have no option but to legislate in order to contain the threat of ex-terrorist offenders

when they still pose a threat to our country?

>> The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend is entirely right. Most people

in this country would agree that the system of automatic early release of terrorist offenders

has run out of road and that it is time to find a way, as we are doing, to make sure

they are properly scrutinised by a parole board or an equivalent.

>> Ruth Jones (Newport West) (Lab): Thanks to the tireless work of my predecessor,

the late, great Paul Flynn, my hon. Friend the Member for Gower (Tonia Antoniazzi), and

the families of children with intractable epilepsy, medical cannabis is now legal in

the UK, so can the Prime Minister answer calls from the families of very sick children who

need medical cannabis as to when this medicine will actually be available on the NHS? Will

he come to Portcullis House with me after this session to meet these families and to

personally assure them that he will do all he can to help?

>> The Prime Minister: It was this Government and my right hon. Friend

the Health Secretary who legalised medicinal cannabis, and I undertake that he will certainly

be happy to meet the hon. Members constituents this afternoon.

>> Alexander Stafford (Rother Valley) (Con): Buses are a vital lifeline for residents in

Rother Valley, but too often First Bus is letting down the people of South Yorkshire.

Will the Prime Minister confirm that the Government fully back buses as an essential way not only

to connect our villages, town and cities across the north, but to unlock the potential of

Rother Valley and South Yorkshire?

>> The Prime Minister: The Government are passionate about buses.

I assure my hon. Friend that we will massively improve our bus network, in the Rother Valley

above all, and I thank him for his lobbying.

>> Owen Thompson (Midlothian) (SNP): We know that the Prime Minister has form in

ducking democratic scrutiny at every opportunity and that his party is no stranger to receiving

Russian donations, but his repeated refusal to publish the report on Russian interference

in UK democracy is unjustifiable and unacceptable. Will he tell us clearly, without bluff and

bluster, when the report will be published, why it has been delayed for so long, and when

he will reconvene the Intelligence and Security Committee?

>> The Prime Minister: The report will of course be publishedas

the hon. Gentleman knows full wellwhen the Intelligence and Security Committee is

reconstituted, and I think that his conspiratorial frame of mind is likely to be thoroughly disappointed

by the results.

>> Dean Russell (Watford) (Con): Commuters in Watford are fed up with poor

rail services making them late for work in the mornings and late returning home at night

to see their families. Does the Prime Minister agree that even new rail franchises that do

not deliver cannot assume that they will keep their contracts if they do not sort out those

issues as soon as possible?

>> The Prime Minister: Absolutely, and that is why we are putting

£48 billion into improving our railways as part of the infrastructure revolution. We

should never forget that that lot over there would renationalise the railways. When railways

were nationalised, a quarter of rail users deserted the network; after privatisation,

rail use doubled.

>> Colum Eastwood (Foyle) (SDLP): Last week we lost a political giant in Seamus

Mallon. He was an outstanding parliamentarian, and a seeker of justice for everyone. One

injustice that burned in him until his dying day was the murder of Paul Quinn, who was

beaten to death by an IRA gang in 2007. They broke every single bone in his body, to the

extent that his mother could not place rosary beads in his hands when he was in his coffin.

In the aftermath, the now Finance Minister Conor Murphy said that Paul was linked to

criminality. That was a lie. Does the Prime Minister agree that Conor Murphy should retract

that lie, publicly apologise, and give any information that he has about Pauls murder

to the Police Service of Northern Ireland?

>> The Prime Minister: I hear the hon. Gentleman, and I think that

the whole House will have heard the passion with which he spoke about that injustice.

I can tell him that we will implement the Stormont House agreement in such a way as

to provide certainty for veterans, and, of course, justice for victims

as well.

The Description of Prime Minister's Questions: 5 February 2020