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DeHavilland has published its briefing on the Private Members’ Ballot Bills for the 2013-14 Parliamentary session. The briefing discusses the confirmed Bills to be introduced by the twenty MPs successful in this year’s Private Members’ Bill Ballot.
With the Bills due to be formally introduced to the Commons today, the successful MPs have now confirmed their intentions. However, the full details of the Bills will not be fully known until shortly before their Second Reading is due to take place.
The Government had closed a quarter of NHS walk-in centres over the past two years, the Labour Party argued today.
During Prime Minister’s Question Time, Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband (Doncaster North) asked if the Government had made any progress on reducing waiting times for Accident and Emergency units.
In reply, Prime Minister David Cameron (Witney) accused the Labour Leader of double standards in his recent announcement that a future Labour Government would not reverse the current Government’s cuts to Child Benefit.
He added that the Government had made significant progress in reducing A&E waiting times.
Following on, Mr Miliband asked why waiting times had been rising under the Coalition Government.
In response, the Prime Minister claimed that waiting times were rising under the Labour Welsh Government.
The Labour Leader claimed that the number of people“waiting on trolleys had doubled”, arguing that this amounted to a crisis in A&E.
In reply, Mr Cameron defended his Government’s record on the Health Service, including 5,700 more doctors.
Building on this, he claimed that Labour’s spending plans would have amounted to reductions in the NHS.
The Labour Leader accused the Prime Minister of being“complacent” and“out of touch”. In addition, the Government had closed a quarter of NHS walk-in centres over the last two years, he added.
In reply, Mr Cameron laid the blame on provisions in GP contracts that Labour had overseen, explaining that this had limited the number of out of work hours worked by doctors.
Retorting, Mr Miliband accused the Prime Minister of“peddling a line” on GP contracts.
Moreover, the NHS Confederation had laid the blame for strains on A&E units at the door of structural changes put in place by the Government, the Labour Leader argued.
In response, the Prime Minister defended the structural changes to the NHS on the grounds that there were 18,000 fewer administration staff, whilst there were 6,000 more doctors.
Responding, Mr Miliband claimed that the NHS was“not safe” in the Conservatives’ hands.
Labour were“weak and divided” on the economy, Mr Cameron responded.
From the backbenches
Labour Shadow International Development Minister Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green and Bow) asked the Prime Minister to confirm that the failure to get the economy going would result in borrowing rising to£96bn. Responding, Prime Minister David Cameron said the Government’s priority was cutting the deficit. He also criticised Labour for having u-turned on its position on cutting Child Benefit for higher earners.
Conservative Backbencher Douglas Carswell (Clacton) said he was“delighted” that the Government had revisited plans on the recall of MPs. He asked if such a mechanism would include a recall ballot, ultimately allowing constituents to make the final decision on whether an MP could be removed. Responding, Prime Minister David Cameron said that whilst the“right approach” was to have a form of constituency mechanism, there should be an act of censure passed by a committee of the House.
Conservative Backbencher Mrs Eleanor Laing (Epping Forest) said that her constituents wanted a referendum on the EU. She asked if the Prime minister would welcome the Private Member’s Bill requiring an in-out referendum to be held by 2017. Responding, Prime Minister David Cameron said he would“certainly welcome” the Bill. He taunted Labour for not wanting to give the public a say on the issue.
Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr) asked the Prime Minister if his greatest achievement was “One Nation Labour.” In reply, Prime Minister David Cameron said“he hoped he could do better than that.”
Conservative Backbencher Julian Lewis (New Forest East) asked the Prime Minister to confirm that he would recall Parliament if any decision was made to arm the Syrian rebels during parliamentary recess. Responding, Prime Minister David Cameron said this was not an issue at present as the Government had not made any decision to arm the Syrian Opposition.
Labour Shadow Justice Minister Robert Flello (Stoke-on-Trent South) asked why the reorganisation of the NHS had diverted attention and resources away from patient care. Responding, Prime Minister David Cameron said that the Government had made a decision not to cut the NHS and argued that billions more were being invested in the health service. If Labour was in power, it would be cutting the NHS, as was the policy in Wales, he added.
Conservative Backbencher Charlie Elphicke (Dover) asked the Prime Minister if he had received any representations from Labour on welfare reform. In reply, Prime Minister David Cameron said Labour had been“taking policy altering substances.” Last week Labour was in favour of child benefit but now the part had changed its mind, he added.
Labour Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle Upon Tyne North) asked the Prime Minister to assure the House that the Bill on lobbying would include a ban on people paying over£50,000 to Downing Street. Responding, Prime Minister David Cameron said the Bill would ensure the Government looked at funding from all third party lobbyists including Trade Unions.
Conservative Backbencher Sir Gerald Howarth (Aldershot) asked if the Government would seek further reform of the European Court on Human Rights. In reply, Prime Minister David Cameron said the Court clearly needed reform, adding that some changes had been achieved. However, he added that further reforms were needed.
Labour Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Chi Onwurah (Newcastle Upon Tyne Central) asked whether the Government would back the British industry by setting a decarbonisation target, given the tight result of the vote in Parliament yesterday. Responding, Prime Minister David Cameron argued that it did not make sense to fix a decarbonisation target now when a carbon target had not been agreed.
Liberal Democrat Backbencher Adrian Sanders (Torbay) asked if the Prime Minister would retire judges who failed to given prison sentences to paedophiles. In reply, Prime Minister David Cameron said the law clearly stated Parliament’s position on the matter and it was for judges to interpret that law.
Labour/Co-operative Backbencher John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness) asked if the Prime Minister planned to allow a parliamentary committee to block the public’s decision to recall an MP. In reply, Prime Minister David Cameron said constituents should be able to call for the recall of their MP. However, he believed it was right that before a recall there should be some sort of censure by the House of Commons in order to avoid“vexatious” attempts.
Conservative Backbencher Mr John Baron (Basildon and Billericay) asked if the Government would seek to equalise financial incentives for the Territorial Army with regular forces. In reply, Prime Minister David Cameron affirmed it was right to shift the balance between regular and reserve forces, but insisted that recruitment policies should be honed.
SDLP MP Mark Durkan (Foyle) asked if the Prime Minister would extend Britain’s G8 pledge on hunger to the EU directive on biofuels. He argued that the directive was adding to carbon emissions and higher fuel prices through land grabs. Responding, Prime Minister David Cameron said that the production of biofuels should not undermine food security. He added that there was merit in what Mr Durkan had said.
Conservative PPS to Minister Michael Fallon Dr Therese Coffey (Suffolk Coastal) praised the work of volunteer lifeguards who saved a number of swimmers off the Suffolk coast, and asked the Prime Minister to join her in thanking volunteer coastguards. In reply, Prime Minister David Cameron did and said the RNLI was really“one of our emergency services.”
Labour Backbencher Ann McKechin (Glasgow North) asked the Prime Minister whether British taxpayers' money would be used to fund the mortgages of foreign nationals who bought property in the UK. Responding, Prime Minister David Cameron said the Chancellor would make an announcement on this shortly.
Conservative Backbencher Philip Davies (Shipley) asked why it cost hospital patients more to watch television a week, than it did for a prisoner. In reply, Prime Minister David Cameron said the system of charges had been made by the last Government, but added that the decision was a matter for individual hospitals. He added that Justice Secretary Chris Grayling was clamping down on the availability of televisions in prisons.
Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader Elfyn Llwyd (Dwyfor Meirionnydd) said that the slashing of the Legal Aid budget would lead to quality legal advice being preserve of rich and privileged. He asked if this was by design or by accident. Responding, Prime Minister David Cameron said that the Legal Aid bill needed to be grappled with. Responses to the consultation on the issue would be considered, he continued, but stressed that difficult decisions had to be taken.
Conservative Backbencher Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford) encouraged the Prime Minister to restore the UK as a manufacturing powerhouse. He said a loan of£50,000 from the Regional Growth Fund had created 12 jobs in Staffordshire. In reply, Prime Minister David Cameron said there was“encouraging news” about the economy healing but the UK had to“stick to the plan” and avoid the“chaos and confusion” caused by Labour.
Labour PPS to Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy Bridget Phillipson (Houghton and Sunderland South) asked why the Prime Minister kept making promises he could not keep, highlighting that he had promised there would not be any more top-down reorganisation. Responding, Prime Minister David Cameron stressed that the Government had promised it would not cut spending on the NHS and argued that it had kept this promise.
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Co-Chair for International Affair Martin Horwood (Cheltenham) asked why the downgrading of Cheltenham A&E unit would be going ahead with the consideration of the consultation. In reply, Prime Minister David Cameron said there was no single cause of A&E issues, but added that the Government would continue to invest in the Health Service to address this
Labour Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Mr Tom Harris (Glasgow South) asked why the Government’s reaction to the recent lobbying scandal had led to an“all-out attack” on trade unions. Responding, Prime Minister David Cameron said that there was a problem with the influence of third parties on Parliament, pointing to the role of APPGs. The Coalition Agreement had included provisions to bring forward a lobbying register, he continued, and the Government would also bring forward measures to ensure that the trade unions“behaved properly.”
Conservative Chair of the Public Administration Select Committee Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex) asked what the reasons were for delaying the decision on an alternative to Trident. In reply, Prime Minister David Cameron said he was strongly commitment to the renewal of the UK’s deterrent on a like-for-like basis. He added that there he was in favour of a submarine-based deterrent.
Labour/Co-operative Backbencher Jim Dobbin (Heywood and Middleton) said he had visited Drummer Lee Rigby’s family who were his constituents. He asked the Prime Minister to join him in commending the people of Middleton for the support they had shown the soldier’s family. Responding, Prime Minister David Cameron commended the support shown by Middleton constituents.
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee co-chair for Justice and Equalities Dr Julian Huppert (Cambridge) asked if the Prime Minister would support campaigns for the introduction of plain packaging on cigarettes. In reply, Prime Minister David Cameron said the position of the policy was clear.
In the latest in our series, SNP Westminster LeaderAngus Robertson MPand Deputy LeaderStewart Hosie MPspeak to DeHavilland about Scottish independence, Europe and life in Parliament.
Elected MP for Moray in 2001, Mr Robertson is the leader of the Westminster Group of the SNP, in addition to being its spokesperson on foreign affairs and defence. He was the Election Co-ordinator for the SNP's successful Scottish Parliment elections in 2007 and 2011.
Mr Hosie serves as Deputy Leader and Chief Whip of the SNP Westminster Group, in addition to being the Party's spokesperson on economy and Treasury matters. He sits on the Commons Treasury Select Committee and has been the MP for Dundee East since 2005.