>> Sarah Atherton (Wrexham) (Con) If he will list his official engagements for
Wednesday 24 June.
>> The Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) This morning I had meetings with ministerial
colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall have further such meetings
>> Sarah Atherton My constituents in Wrexham welcome the announcement
by the chief medical officers of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England about reducing
the UK covid alert level from 4 to 3. Indeed, through my work at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital,
I have seen a reduction in the number of covid-positive cases needing to be treated. Does the Prime
Minister therefore agree that the UK-wide approach works and we need to continue with
it to beat the pandemic?
>> The Prime Minister First, I personally pay tribute to my hon.
Friend for the shifts she has put in throughout the pandemic and of course thank all her colleagues
at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital, which I know. Working together across all four nations of
our country is indeed the way in which we will beat the pandemic.
>> Keir Starmer (Holborn and St Pancras) (Lab) Yesterday, the Government announced the next
stage of easing lockdown restrictions. If that plan is to work—and we want it to work—we
need an effective track, trace and isolate system. The Prime Minister promised that a
world-beating system would be in place by 1 June. The latest figures from yesterday’s
press conference hosted by the Prime Minister show that 33,000 people are estimated to have
covid-19 in England. The latest track, trace and isolate figures show that just over 10,000
people with covid-19 were reached and asked to provide contact details. I recognise the
hard work that has gone into this, but if two thirds of those with covid-19 are not
being reached and asked to provide contact details, there is a big problem, isn’t there?
>> The Prime Minister On the contrary. I think that the right hon.
and learned Gentleman has been stunned by the success of the test and trace operation.
Contrary to his prognostications of gloom, it has got up and running much faster than
the doubters expected. They are getting it done—Dido Harding and her team have recruited
25,000 people and so far they have identified and contacted 87,000 people who have voluntarily
agreed to self-isolate to stop the disease spreading. I do not think the right hon. and
learned Gentleman would have predicted that a few weeks ago. I think he should pay tribute
now to Dido and her team for what they are doing.
>> Keir Starmer The Prime Minister just has not addressed
the question I put to him. I was not asking about those who have gone into the system—the
10,000—or those who have been contacted; I was asking about the two thirds of the 33,000
with covid-19 who were not reached. That is a big gap. The Prime Minister risks making
the mistakes he made at the beginning of the pandemic—brushing aside challenge, dashing
forward, not estimating the risks properly. If two thirds of those with covid-19 are not
being contacted, that is a big problem. If we do not get track, trace and isolate properly
running, we cannot open the economy or prevent infection from spreading, so let me ask the
question in a different way. What is the Government’s strategy for closing the gap between the number
of people with covid-19 and those going into the system—not what happens to those who
go into the system?
>> The Prime Minister I hesitate to accuse the right hon. and learned
Gentleman of obscurantism. He is misleading on the key point. The number of people with
covid in this country is, of course, an estimate.
>> Mr Speaker Order.
>> The Prime Minister Inadvertently misleading—
>> Mr Speaker Order. Prime Minister, one of us is going
to have to give way and it will have to be you. Obviously, no hon. Member misleads or
ever would, whichever side they are from.
>> The Prime Minister The right hon. and learned Gentleman is inadvertently
giving a false impression of what test and trace is doing. The 33,000 cases in the country
is, of course, an estimate. NHS test and trace is contacting the vast majority of those who
test positive and their contacts and getting them to self-isolate. It is a formidable achievement.
Yesterday, the right hon. and learned Gentleman was kind enough to say that he supported our
policy and our programme—I seem to remember him saying that loud and clear yesterday.
Today—as I say, I understand the constraints of the profession in which he used to work;
I know how it works—he seems to be yo-yoing back into a position of opposition. Which
is it: is he supporting what we are doing or is he against it?
>> Keir Starmer The figures I have, which the Prime Minister
says are inadvertently misleading, are the slide at his press conference yesterday and
the slide at the Government’s press conference last week—the latest figures. They are the
two figures. I do support the next stage of the operation, but the Prime Minister is wrong
to reject challenge. Sixty-five thousand people have lost their lives because of covid-19.
The Prime Minister should welcome challenge that could save lives, rather than complaining
Another risk to this plan is if local councils do not have the powers and resources to implement
local lockdowns. There is a report today that eight out of 10 councils face bankruptcy or
cutting services, with many of those in the north-east and midlands, where, as the Prime
Minister knows, there are the worst affected areas for covid-19. The real concern among
council leaders is that they do not have the powers or guidance to implement lockdowns
quickly if needed. The Conservative leader of Oxfordshire County Council said it would
be “interesting” for central
“government to confirm what is meant by the local lockdown”—
“clear guidance as to those powers and what is expected of us”.
Can the Prime Minister tell us when local authorities will get the guidance that they
>> The Prime Minister Everybody understands—we have seen it already,
across the country—that when there are local outbreaks, for instance in Weston-super-Mare
or in GP surgeries in north London, there have been local lockdowns and local crackdowns.
We have a very effective cluster-busting operation, which is designed to ensure that we keep those
outbreaks under control. Local councils understand how to do it, with the local resilience forums
backed up by the joint biosecurity centre. That is how it works and that is how it is
going to work, and it is a very effective way of keeping this disease under control.
I am not going to pretend to the right hon. and learned Gentleman or to the House that
this thing is beaten or that the virus has gone way, because clearly that is not the
case. We have to remain extremely vigilant, and local councils will be supported in doing
their vital work in implementing local lockdowns.
>> Keir Starmer May I now turn to the app? This really matters
because unless someone with covid-19 can name and identify everybody they have been in contact
with, the app is the only way of tracing unknown contacts. My hon. Friend the Member for Hove
(Peter Kyle) made precisely that point yesterday. He gave the example, “How on earth do you
trace everyone in close contact at a seafront or in a park without an app?” Up until last
week, the Government maintained that the app was “critical—another of their slides—but
at the weekend the Health Secretary downplayed the app, saying it was only ever additional
support. So which is it: critical or not?
>> The Prime Minister I wonder whether the right hon. and learned
Gentleman can name a single country in the world that has a functional contract tracing
app—there isn’t one. What we have—and what, I am afraid, has left the Opposition
slightly foundering—is a very successful NHS test and trace operation, which yesterday
they supported. Yesterday, they said it was good enough for this country to go forward
with step 3 of our plan, but today they are yo-yoing back again and saying that it is
not good enough. They need to make up their mind. They need to get behind NHS test and
trace, support it and take the country forward together.
>> Keir Starmer Germany. It had its app working on 15 June
and it has had 12 million downloads—I checked that overnight. [Interruption.] Twelve million—it
is way beyond. The Health Secretary said that we would have the app by mid-May—presumably
that was on advice. The Prime Minister said that we would have it by 1 June, but now Government
Ministers say that it will not be ready until the winter. We have spent £12 million on
this. Other countries are ahead of us. When are we going to have a working app?
>> The Prime Minister I am afraid that the right hon. and learned
Gentleman is completely wrong, because no country in the world has a working contact
tracing app. I have always been clear—we have always been clear—that the app would
be the icing on the cake. If we can get it to work, it will be a fine thing, but there
is not one anywhere in the world so far. What we do have is a fantastic NHS test and trace
operation that is already up and running, that is going to get better and better, and
that will be indispensable to our future success. I think that he should support it and, by
the way, that he should make it much clearer that he supports our programme going forward.
Since the right hon. and learned Gentleman mentions Labour councils and support for Labour
councils, perhaps he might clear up the position of yesterday and say once and for all that
Labour councils should now be encouraging children in their areas to go back to school.
We heard some warm words from him yesterday. Can he now confirm that he wants all children
who can go back to school to go back to school this month?
>> Keir Starmer Yes. The only U-turn here was the Education
Secretary on 9 June, who ripped up the Government’s plans to get children back into school before
the summer break.
There is a theme to these exchanges. Last week, I asked the Prime Minister about two
claims about child poverty. He said that absolute child poverty and relative child poverty
“have both declined under this Government”.—[Official Report, 17 June 2020; Vol. 677, c. 796.]
On Monday, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner ruled that the Prime Minister’s
answer was “mostly false”. The Prime Minister also said that there are 400,000 fewer families
living in poverty now than there were in 2010. On Monday, the Office of the Children’s
Commissioner ruled that that was simply “false”. He has been found out. He either dodges the
question or he gives dodgy answers. Mr Speaker, no more witnesses; I rest my case. Will the
Prime Minister do the decent thing and correct the record in relation to child poverty?
>> The Prime Minister I am happy to point out to m’learned friend
that actually, there are 100,000 fewer children in absolute poverty and 500,000 fewer children
falling below thresholds of low income and material deprivation. This Government, as
he knows, are massively increasing universal credit with £7 billion more to help the poorest
and neediest families in our country. We are getting on with it. We are taking the tough
decisions. He still cannot make up his mind.
Talking about child poverty, the single biggest determinant of a child’s success is whether
he or she goes to school. The right hon. and learned Gentleman still will not say whether
children should go. I think it is absolutely infamous for him to come to the House one
day and say he supports the programme and then, the next day, not to confirm that he
wants kids to go to school now.
>> Ms Nusrat Ghani (Wealden) (Con) Seafarers, global key workers, have given
us goods from food to medicine during covid, but that is now under threat. Some 400,000
mariners are stuck on board their ships due to the failure of countries to agree crew
changes. The United Kingdom is the world’s leading maritime nation, and we are home to
the International Maritime Organisation, which gives us a unique responsibility. Will my
right hon. Friend the Prime Minister agree to meet the Chamber of Shipping to marshal
the global community to help to get our seafarers home and ensure that free trade continues
>> The Prime Minister My hon. Friend knows a great deal about the
subject whereof she now speaks. We remain fully committed to the welfare of all seafarers,
regardless of their nationality. We ask all states to do the same. I look forward to discussing
that in person with her.
>> Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) (SNP) [V]
I am sure the whole House will join me in passing on condolences to the family of the
three children who sadly lost their lives in a house fire in Paisley last Friday evening,
Fiona, Alexander and Philip Gibson—such a terrible tragedy.
This morning, we heard growing concerns from medical experts about the real risk of a second
wave of covid-19. At the same time, experts at the Fraser of Allander Institute outlined
the scale of the economic challenges ahead, with a raft of redundancies and business closures
if financial support is withdrawn. They warned that measures that risk a second wave of the
virus would delay recovery in Scotland until 2024. The health and economic emergency requires
an unprecedented response.
On Monday, the Scottish Government’s advisory group on economic recovery, led by independent
business leaders, published its initial analysis to secure a strong recovery. Will the Prime
Minister welcome those efforts to find a way forward out of this economic crisis?
>> The Prime Minister Yes, indeed. I would be only too happy to
study the documents to which the right hon. Gentleman refers.
>> Ian Blackford I am grateful to the Prime Minister for that
answer, and I am glad that he agrees that we need to take every action to study and
aid the economic recovery. I am sure he is aware that the Scottish advisory group has
called for an accelerated review of the devolved fiscal framework. Crucially, it has supported
a significant increase in access to capital to stimulate an investment-led recovery in
Scotland. Scotland can make different choices and invest in a strong recovery, but we can
only do it with the necessary financial powers. Our First Minister and our Finance Secretary
have already made a request for more borrowing powers. Will the Prime Minister implement
the recommendations of those business leaders and give the Scottish Parliament the economic
powers it needs to fuel a recovery in the wake of the pandemic, or will he put Scotland’s
economic recovery at risk?
>> The Prime Minister I respectfully remind the right hon. Gentleman
that, as part of our UK campaign against the coronavirus, Scotland has so far received
£3.8 billion in Barnett consequentials—a fact that I am sure is seldom off his lips
in his discussions with SNP colleagues. We will continue to invest massively in Scotland
because Scotland, like the whole of the UK, benefits from being part of the oldest and
most successful political partnership anywhere in the world. I congratulate the SNP, by the
way, on its U-turn—which could be copied with advantage by our friends on the Opposition
Front Bench—on education and getting all kids into school.
>> Robbie Moore (Keighley) (Con) The people of Keighley and I are sick of drug
gangs openly selling drugs on Keighley’s streets and grooming young, innocent children
to do their dirty work. Can the Prime Minister update me on what progress is being made to
deliver on our manifesto commitment to ensure that West Yorkshire police have the resources
and personnel they need to tackle those drug dealers, who are infecting Keighley’s soul?
>> The Prime Minister My hon. Friend is absolutely right to point
out the evil that is done by drug gangs around the whole country. County lines operations
have spread across our country, and we must roll them up. That is why we are tackling
them directly with every technological resource at our disposal, and that is why we are making
sure that we invest in another 20,000 police officers going to Keighley and across the
country as well.
>> Liz Saville Roberts (Dwyfor Meirionnydd) (PC)
Diolch yn fawr, Mr Llefarydd. Covid-19 has now broken out in three Welsh food factories.
There are 200 cases in Llangefni in Ynys Môn, 70 in Wrexham and 34 in Merthyr Tydfil. A
plant in Germany has also seen 1,500 workers test positive. The difference, of course,
is that German employees get sick pay worth 100% of their salary. Here, workers get sick
pay worth on average perhaps 20% of their salary, so they lose 80% of their salary.
These are low-paid workers. For any future local lockdown to succeed, people will need
to be supported. Will the Prime Minister now commit to local furlough-like schemes for
>> The Prime Minister As I said in my statement yesterday, the coronavirus
job retention scheme—the furlough scheme—as well as what we have done for self-employed
people, which has also been considerable, and the expansion of universal credit have
been massive commitments by our Government to the workforce of this country. We will
continue to make those commitments and, as I said yesterday, if we have to move back—obviously
we do not want to—to local lockdowns, or indeed a national lockdown, nobody should
be penalised for doing the right thing. So there is the right hon. Lady’s answer.
>> Caroline Ansell (Eastbourne) (Con) Eastbourne’s dependence on tourism and its
position as a coastal community mean that it has been particularly hard hit. Indeed,
this very weekend we were to stage our international tennis tournament, which puts us on the map
and brings in millions of pounds. In that light, may I ask my right hon. Friend the
Prime Minister to look at a reduction in VAT so that the hospitality sector can get back
on its feet and be part of the recovery to get our country moving?
>> The Prime Minister I will certainly look at all proposals that
my hon. Friend makes on taxation. As she must know, they are a matter for the Chancellor
and for the next Budget, although what we have already done is give business rates holidays—pushing
back business rates right until the end of next year—and huge coronavirus loans, bounce-back
loans and grants of £25,000 for every business. What we will also do is support tourism across
the whole of the UK, and I hope that she will put the welcome sign above Eastbourne this
summer, so that people can enjoy its attractions.
>> Jessica Morden (Newport East) (Lab) [V] In order to access benefits quickly, people
with unpredictable terminal conditions, such as motor neurone disease, are having to prove
that they have six months or less to live, and they risk losing their benefits altogether
if they live longer than three years. A year has now passed since the Government announced
their review into access to benefits for terminally ill people, but there is still no progress.
When are the Government going to act?
>> The Prime Minister We have massively increased our spending on
universal credit, but the hon. Lady raises an important point about access to benefits
for terminally ill people, and I will undertake, if I may, Mr Speaker, to revert to her as
soon as possible by writing.
>> Aaron Bell (Newcastle-under-Lyme) (Con) I have the honour of representing the market
town of Newcastle-under-Lyme, and I am very pleased to inform the Prime Minister that
our markets are now back. However, the town is also very proud of its hospitality sector.
It has purple flag status, recognising the quality of its early-evening and night-time
economy —the pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafés. I know that they will hugely welcome
what the Prime Minister said yesterday, but he knows they will need further support in
the months ahead. Can I ask him what the Government intend to do to support the hospitality sector?
>> The Prime Minister I refer my hon. Friend to what I said to our
hon. Friend the Member for Eastbourne (Caroline Ansell) just now. We will continue to support
the hospitality sector in all the ways that I have described, but, of course, what could
also happen is that people in Newcastle-under-Lyme could be encouraged to enjoy themselves sensibly,
in a covid-secure way, and keep the purple flag flying above it.
>> Dr Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire) (SNP) [V]
The ongoing impact of covid on international travel threatens over 100,000 jobs in the
aerospace industry, including hundreds in my constituency. Will the Prime Minister commit
to protecting vital aerospace jobs and invest in a green aviation recovery to reduce future
>> The Prime Minister The hon. Lady has an extremely important point.
It is one that we are working on very intensively now in Government, so that we use the opportunity
of this crisis to bounce forwards with new low-carbon technology that will continue to
drive the UK’s formidable aerospace industry.
>> Alberto Costa (South Leicestershire) (Con) I have been contacted by Cotesbach and Shawell
parish councils, along with the excellent Harborough District councillor Jonathan Bateman,
about a proposed new waste processing facility in my patch. All I ask the Prime Minister
is if he would help me organise a meeting with the relevant Minister, so that I can
put forward the views of my constituents on this issue.
>> The Prime Minister We have of course invested a huge amount in
south Leicester. The local growth fund is expected to deliver 2,700 jobs and 5,000 new
homes, but, as I am sure the House will understand, this is a planning decision, with which this
Government obviously cannot involve themselves.
>> Mohammad Yasin (Bedford) (Lab) [V] Public Health England and the joint biosecurity
centre are undergoing a deep dive in Bedford to understand why the infection rate in my
constituency is so high. The pillar 2 commercial mass-testing cases are still not being included
in the individual totals for England. How does the Prime Minister know that the people
of Bedford and Kempston are safe to embrace his new lockdown-easing measures when he does
not know how many people are infected with coronavirus?
>> The Prime Minister As I think the Leader of the Opposition himself
confirmed just now, we do have a pretty good estimate of what is happening in the country.
Overall, we think the numbers have moved down from, say, one in 400 four weeks ago to maybe
one in 1,700 today. The incidence continues to decline across the country. Where there
are particular outbreaks and particular hotspots, such as in Bedford or elsewhere, we now have
the resources of our test and trace operation and the joint biosecurity centre, which are
getting better and better the whole time, to implement those local crackdowns and cluster-busting
>> Rob Butler (Aylesbury) (Con) Many market traders and independent business
owners in Aylesbury have told me how much they appreciate the tremendous help that they
have received from the Government during the coronavirus crisis, but we do know that, sadly,
many people will still lose their jobs in the months ahead. I wonder if my right hon.
Friend could ensure that Government Departments will work together to provide both the resource
and expertise that are necessary for people to learn new skills so that they are fully
equipped to take on new and different types of work in the future.
>> The Prime Minister Yes, indeed. I thank my hon. Friend for what
he is doing to represent his young constituents. It is vital that we invest in people’s skills
during what will unquestionably be economically difficult times. We are not just investing
in training through our new £2.5 billion national skills fund: we also want to encourage
as many in-work placements as possible and get people the live experience that they need.
>> John Spellar (Warley) (Lab) Prime Minister, the rehabilitation of offenders
is supported right the way across the political spectrum, but the current operation of the
Disclosure and Barring Service is a major obstacle to people turning their lives around.
It is inefficient, unfair and, frankly, discriminatory. The Lammy report dealt with this in some depth
nearly two years ago, so we do not need any more commissions or inquiries. We need action
and an end to the endless Home Office obstruction and delay. You can break the logjam, Prime
Minister. Will you do it?
>> The Prime Minister The right hon. Gentleman raises an incredibly
important point. Any MP will have had very hard cases caused by the DBS system. It is
important for the protection of children and young people, but we are considering the Supreme
Court’s judgment and will set out our opinion in due course.
>> Ruth Edwards (Rushcliffe) (Con) May I welcome my right hon. Friend’s announcement
yesterday that we can start to reopen our economy? Will he join me in praising the fantastic
charities and volunteers across Rushcliffe, including the West Bridgford Community Helpers,
Cotgrave Super Kitchen and the Friary, who have worked so hard to support vulnerable
people throughout the lockdown?
>> The Prime Minister I have absolutely no hesitation in commending
and congratulating all the groups that my hon. Friend mentions—the Friary, the Cotgrave
Super Kitchen and West Bridgford Community Helpers. I congratulate them all.
>> Sammy Wilson (East Antrim) (DUP) The Prime Minister stated that when we leave
the EU at the end of this year Northern Ireland will still remain a full part of the United
Kingdom. But I have in my hand a letter received by the management of the port of Larne only
this week, stating that it has to prepare to become a border control post, and 14 acres
of land has been looked at for car parking, for lorry parking and for construction. There
is a sense of urgency, as the proposals have to go to the EU by the end of the month. Can
the Prime Minister explain how Northern Ireland can remain a full part of the United Kingdom
if people coming from the rest of the UK into Northern Ireland have to pass through a border
control post? Would he advise management to tear this letter up as well?
>> The Prime Minister I have not seen the letter the right hon.
Gentleman describes, but I can tell him absolutely categorically that there will be no new customs
infrastructure for the very simple reason that, under the protocol, it is absolutely
clear in black and white that Northern Ireland is part of the customs territory of the whole
of the United Kingdom. We will be joining the whole of the United Kingdom in our new
independent trade policy and doing free trade deals around the world.
>> Stephen Crabb (Preseli Pembrokeshire) (Con) Right now across the country, there are a
lot of employers speaking to their staff about redundancies ahead of the furlough scheme
unwinding. Sadly, for many families, it will be a hard landing, moving from furlough to
benefits. I know that my right hon. Friend has done a huge amount already, and he deserves
enormous credit for it, but can I really encourage him, as he thinks about his going for growth
strategy, also to consider ways to strengthen the safety net at this time?
>> The Prime Minister I thank my right hon. Friend, and he is quite
right that there will be tough times ahead for people and for families. That is why we
have massively increased universal credit. We stand by, as we have throughout this crisis,
to help the British people through it.
>> Janet Daby (Lewisham East) (Lab) [V] I have been contacted by hundreds of my constituents
about racial inequality in the UK. We had the Lammy review of the justice system, we
had the race disparity audit in the workplace, and we now have the independent review of
the Windrush scandal. What is the Prime Minister’s timeframe for implementing those recommendations?
>> The Prime Minister Actually, we are getting on with implementing
a huge number of the recommendations we have already had. Sixteen of the Lammy recommendations
have been implemented. A further 17 are in progress; two of them we are not progressing.
The Home Secretary will set out further what we are going to do later—before recess—about
Windrush with Wendy Williams’s report, and we will go on with our cross-governmental
commission to ensure that we stamp out racism and discrimination across this country and
throughout our system of government. We take it exceptionally seriously, and I am glad
that the hon. Lady raised it.
>> Ian Levy (Blyth Valley) (Con) As we exit the covid crisis, we will need
essential minerals to supply the UK’s steel, cement and brickworks, which will help build
our homes, hospitals and infrastructure of the future. Mining them here in the UK in
a sustainable way is not just better for the environment but reduces reliance on foreign
imports. Will my right hon. Friend please assure the people of Blyth Valley that he
and his Government will do all they can to encourage investment and support jobs in this
>> The Prime Minister Absolutely. I can certainly say to my hon.
Friend and to the people of Blyth Valley that we are going to do absolutely everything we
can in the course of our infrastructure revolution to ensure that UK steel manufacturers are
at the front of the queue for the great projects that we are going to construct. We have already
identified about £3.8 billion worth of opportunities.
>> Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck (South Shields) (Lab) My constituent Elizabeth Smurthwaite contracted
coronavirus in her care home and was refused admission to hospital. This Government’s
policy of discharging patients with coronavirus into homes has led to over 16,000 deaths.
Sadly, Elizabeth has since passed away. Last week, the Health Secretary said that he accepted
responsibility for these deaths in our care homes. Does the Prime Minister?
>> The Prime Minister Of course this Government accept responsibility,
and I accept responsibility, for everything that has happened throughout this crisis,
but I will say that what happened with the discharge of patients into care homes was
all done according to clinical decisions, as the NHS has confirmed, and actually there
was a 40% reduction between January and March in the number of people going from the NHS
into care homes. Thankfully, we are now seeing a massive reduction, thanks to the efforts
of care workers and our care home action programme, to get the numbers of deaths in care homes
down to the levels we would expect to find this year.
>> Mrs Flick Drummond (Meon Valley) (Con) Last week, fatal conflict resumed in Ladakh
on the line of actual control between India and China. What are the implications for British
interests of a dispute between a Commonwealth member and the world’s largest democracy
on the one side, and a state that challenges our notion of democracy on the other?
>> The Prime Minister My hon. Friend is absolutely right to draw
the attention of the House to a very serious and worrying situation, which we are monitoring
closely. Perhaps the best thing I can say to her is that we are encouraging both parties
to engage in dialogue on the issues on the border and sort it out between them.
>> Matt Rodda (Reading East) (Lab) The last few days have been very difficult
for our town. I offer my deepest condolences to the families of those who died in the dreadful
attack in Forbury Gardens on Saturday evening. It is impossible to imagine what they are
going through. My thoughts are also with the injured and their families, and with all those
who have been affected by this terrible attack. I thank Thames Valley police and the other
emergency services for their swift and effective response and for the incredible bravery shown
by officers. Will the Prime Minister ensure that the investigation now receives all the
resources it needs and that our town is properly supported? We have a strong and diverse community.
We can and we will get through this together.
>> The Prime Minister Yes, indeed. I thank the hon. Member for his
question and for how he expressed it, because I think the whole House shares his feelings
of support for the police and acknowledges their bravery in running towards danger, as
well as that of the members of the public who themselves intervened. It was a really
extraordinary moment, but it was also an appalling crime and an appalling tragedy.
Obviously there is a case that must now be properly proceeded with, and I just make two
comments. First, if there are any lessons that we need to learn about the way we handle
things in the future, we will of course learn those lessons and this Government will act
in this Parliament. Secondly, as I said yesterday to the House, and I think it is a common view,
we will not let this kind of attack—this kind of senseless murder—distract us or
in any way allow us to be intimidated or to change our way of life.