- Posted by: Valerie Vaz MP
- Category: News
I raised with the Leader of the House that the Government’s position on the White Paper on Brexit is quite confusing. There was an agreement and then a White Paper over which two Cabinet Ministers resigned because they did not like it. The Prime Minister has now agreed to the amendments, so it is not clear where that leaves the White Paper. If it is the same White Paper, why did the two Cabinet Ministers resign? Should we not have a second White Paper, the miserable Brexit plan mark II?
You can read my speech below:
I thank the Leader of the House for announcing the forthcoming business, and for the debate on proxy voting, although I still feel that that could have been held next week, rather than waiting until September.
I am not sure why the Opposition half-day debate was taken from us last week when business seems so light for next week. There is no specific debate on Monday, other than on strengthening the Union. I am hoping that that will be expanded to cover all unions—the European Union, for example, or even trade unions—but I am pleased that the Government have found something for us to discuss next week.
The list of ministerial responsibilities has been published for June 2018. My parliamentary assistant has been very assiduous in marking up the list—the green colour represents the leavers, and yellow represents the remainers. As there seems to be lots of movement, will the Leader of the House ensure an updated June 2018 list of ministerial responsibilities before the House rises?
On restoration and renewal, the Shadow Sponsor Body has now been set up and we have a Chair. Sadly, however, the lovely Members in the other place outnumber Members in this place on the body, and I hope that when the legislation comes forward that will be rectified. Will the Leader of the House say whether there have been any draft instructions to consult, and when the legislation will come before the House?
Later, as the right hon. Lady has said, there will be a debate on the independent complaints grievance delivery report, and I congratulate everyone who took part in that report. My hon. Friend the Member for Brent Central (Dawn Butler), the shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, will be responding. That is appropriate, given that she was at the first meeting in Downing Street, and led for the Opposition on the delivery review. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for York Central (Rachael Maskell) who has used her great expertise as a trade unionist to enhance the quality of the discussion and report. I also add my thanks to all the staff, some of whom had to carry out their own jobs alongside working on this report. I thank all the experts and Members who have been involved and served on both review bodies.
I particularly want to thank the Leader of the House, and acknowledge her determination and commitment to seeing this through. It has not gone unnoticed that there will now be a workable solution. The culture in this place will change.
I am so pleased that the Prime Minister listens to business questions. Today, she is visiting the border. But it is quite confusing, isn’t it? There was an agreement. Then there was a White Paper, over which two Cabinet Ministers resigned because they did not like it. The Prime Minister has now agreed to the amendments, so it is not clear where that leaves the White Paper. If it is the same White Paper, why did the two Cabinet Ministers resign? Should we not have a second White Paper, the miserable Brexit plan mark II? What about the other White Paper on the withdrawal agreement, which was due to be published on 18 July? The Vote Office confirmed that the Government have cancelled it. When will it be published?
Will the Leader of the House look again the bizarre situation of the Government not voting against Opposition motions? We have got to the stage where we have an oral statement in certain situations, but yesterday two very important statements, on social care and school funding, were put out in written form. It is not right that we cannot hold the Government to account on those two most important matters. Will the right hon. Lady please review the situation? If the Government do not like the motions, they should vote against them.
The School Teachers’ Review Body report is usually published before the end of recess. Will the Leader of the House say when it will be published? Schools are already setting their budgets. They want to know whether they will be responsible for lifting the pay cap. They are already struggling with the funding formula, so I hope they will not be responsible for lifting it and that the money will come from central Government. May we therefore have a statement on the matter from the Secretary of State for Education?
Mr Speaker, I want to add my thanks to you and your office for their unfailing courtesy; the Deputy Speakers; the Clerk of the House for his judgements; the House staff; the Serjeant at Arms and his office; Phil and the Doorkeepers; Hansard; the House of Commons Library on its 200th anniversary for its fantastic independent advice, which has integrity running all through it; the police and the security; the cooks and the cleaners; and everyone who keeps this place in working order. I also want to thank my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle upon Tyne East (Mr Brown) and everyone in the Opposition Whips Office for all their hard work behind the scenes, and of course everyone in my office.
Yesterday was Nelson Mandela Day. The Nelson Mandela Foundation is dedicating this year to fighting poverty, honouring Nelson Mandela’s leadership on and devotion to fighting poverty and promoting social justice for all. He said: “It is easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.”
I wish everyone a peaceful recess.