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  • >>The Prime Minister (Mrs Theresa May): I am sure that the whole House will join me

  • in offering our condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives

  • and were injured in the gun attack in Quebec City on Sunday, and in paying tribute to our

  • former colleague Tam Dalyell, who died last Friday. He was an outstanding parliamentarian,

  • and I am sure that all our thoughts are with his friends and family.

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

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

  • >>Peter Heaton-Jones (North Devon) (Con): I associate myself with the remarks made by

  • the Prime Minister and the tribute paid to the victims in Canada and to the family of

  • Tam Dalyell.

  • North Devon is quite rightly concerned that the current review of health services across

  • the county may result in the loss of some acute services at our hospital in Barnstaple.

  • For some residents, the nearest alternative could be three hours away. Will my right hon.

  • Friend assure me that she will listen carefully to those concerns, because I want to be able

  • to say to North Devon that we are the party of the NHS?

  • >>The Prime Minister: I thank my hon. Friend for his question. I can reassure him that

  • this Government are absolutely committed to ensuring the best possible healthcare for

  • patients right across the country. I recognise that concerns have been expressed locally

  • about the North Devon district hospital. I understand that there are no specific proposals

  • at the moment, but I know that the input of local communities will remain crucial throughout

  • the process, and I can assure him that of course it is this party in government that

  • is putting the extra funding into the NHS and showing how we value it.

  • >>Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab): I join the Prime Minister in offering condolences

  • to all those who died in the horrific attack, fuelled by hate, in Quebec, and we should

  • send our solidarity to everyone in Canada on this sad occasion.

  • May I also associate myself with the Prime Minister’s tribute to the former Member

  • for West Lothian, and later Linlithgow, Tam Dalyell? A Labour MP and former Father of

  • the House, he doggedly fought to expose official wrongdoing and cover-ups, from the miners

  • strike to Iraq. I am sure the Prime Minister would agree that Tam’s scrutiny and contributions

  • made this House a better place, and may I recommend to all Members his autobiography

  • The Importance of Being Awkward”? [Interruption.] And I am quite happy to offer my copy to the

  • Secretary of State for Brexit to have a good read of it. I am sure that he has probably

  • already read it.

  • At last week’s Prime Minister Question Time, the Prime Minister told the House:

  • “I am not afraid to speak frankly to a President of the United States”. What happened?

  • >>The Prime Minister: First, let me say that I was not aware of Tam Dalyell’s bookThe

  • Importance of Being Awkward”, but given the number of resignations that the right

  • hon. Gentleman has had from his Front Bench, I suspect that some of his colleagues have

  • indeed read it.

  • I am pleased to say to the right hon. Gentleman that when I visited the United States, I was

  • able to build on the relationship that we have with our most important ally and get

  • some very significant commitments from President Trump. Crucial among those was a 100% commitment

  • to NATONATO which keeps us safe and keeps Europe safe too.

  • >>Jeremy Corbyn: Downing Street has not denied that the Prime Minister was told by the White

  • House that the Executive order on travel to the US was imminent, so let us be clear: was

  • the Prime Minister told about the ban during her visit, and did she try to persuade President

  • Trump otherwise?

  • >>The Prime Minister: On the policy that President Trump has introduced, this Government are

  • clear that it is wrong. We would not do it. In six years as Home Secretary, I never introduced

  • such a policy. We believe it is divisive and wrong. If the right hon. Gentleman is asking

  • me whether I had advance notice of the ban on refugees, the answer is no. If he is asking

  • me if I had advance notice that the Executive order could affect British citizens, the answer

  • is no. If he is asking if I had advance notice of the travel restrictions, the answer is,

  • we all did, because President Trump said in his election campaign that he was going to

  • do this. The question is how you respond. The job of Government is not to chase the

  • headlines; the job of Government is not to take to the streets in protest; the job of

  • Government is to protect the interests of British citizens, and that is exactly what

  • we did.

  • >>Jeremy Corbyn: On the day after the Executive order was made to ban refugees and visitors

  • from seven predominantly Muslim countries, why did the Prime Minister three times refuse

  • to condemn the ban?

  • >>The Prime Minister: I have made it very clear that we believe that this policy is

  • divisive and wrong, and that it is not a policy that we would introduce. I have also made

  • it very clear when asked about this that this Government have a very different approach

  • to these issues. On refugees, this Government have a proud record of the support that we

  • have given to them, and long may it continue.

  • >>Jeremy Corbyn: The Prime Minister said: “The United States is responsible for the

  • United Statespolicy on refugees.”

  • But surely it is the responsibility of all of us to defend the 1951 refugee convention,

  • which commits this country, the United States and 142 other states to accept refugees without

  • regard to their

  • race, religion or country of origin.”

  • President Trump has breached that convention. Why did she not speak out?

  • >>The Prime Minister: First, I have made absolutely clear what the Government’s view on this

  • policy is. Secondly, as I have just said, this Government and this country have a proud

  • record on how we welcome refugees. In recent years, we have introduced a very particular

  • scheme to ensure that particularly vulnerable refugees in Syria can be brought to this country,

  • and something like 10,000 Syrian refugees have come to this country since the conflict

  • began. We are also the second biggest bilateral donor, helping and supporting refugees in

  • the region. That is what we are doing. I have said that the US policy is wrong. We will

  • take a different view, and we will continue to welcome refugees to this country.

  • >>Jeremy Corbyn: I also wrote to the Prime Minister on this issue and received her reply

  • this morning. I hold in my hand her piece of paper. She makes no mention of the refugee

  • convention and does not condemn US action in that respect.

  • Last week, I asked the Prime Minister to assure the House that she would not offer up our

  • national health service as a “bargaining chipin any US trade deal. She gave no

  • answer. She also refused to rule it out when asked in the US, so let me ask her a third

  • time: will she rule out opening up our national health service to private US healthcare companiesyes

  • or no?

  • >>The Prime Minister: I could give a detailed answer to the right hon. Gentleman’s question,

  • but a simple and straightforward reply is what is required: the NHS is not for sale

  • and it never will be.

  • >>Jeremy Corbyn: I hope that that includes not having US healthcare companies coming

  • in to run any part of our national health service.

  • President Trump has torn up international agreements on refugees. He has threatened

  • to dump international agreements on climate change. He has praised the use of torture.

  • He has incited hatred against Muslims. He has directly attacked women’s rights. Just

  • what more does he have to do before the Prime Minister will listen to the 1.8 million people

  • who have already called for his state visit invitation to be withdrawn?

  • >>The Prime Minister: The right hon. Gentleman’s foreign policy is to object to and insult

  • the democratically elected Head of State of our most important ally. Let us see what he

  • would have achieved in the last week. Would he have been able to protect British citizens

  • from the impact of the Executive order? No. Would he have been able to lay the foundations

  • of a trade deal? No. Would he have got a 100% commitment to NATO? No. That is what Labour

  • has to offer this countryless protection for British citizens, less prosperity, less

  • safety. He can lead a protest; I am leading a country.

  • >>Stuart Andrew (Pudsey) (Con): Today it is inconceivable that somebody would be prosecuted

  • based on who and what they are. Will my right hon. Friend join me in welcoming the posthumous

  • pardon of some 49,000 men thanks to the Government’s Turing Bill which was enacted yesterday? Will

  • she also encourage those who are still alive to come forward so that their injustices can

  • be overturned?

  • >>The Prime Minister: I am very happy to join my hon. Friend in welcoming an extremely important

  • change in the law. We committed to it in our manifesto and have now delivered on it. Passing

  • Turing’s law has been a long-standing commitment for the Government. It is momentous and takes

  • action to right the wrongs of the past. Like my hon. Friend, I certainly encourage those

  • still alive to apply to the Home Office to have their offences disregarded.

  • >>Angus Robertson (Moray) (SNP): We on the SNP Benches associate ourselves with all the

  • comments thus far about the tragic deaths in Quebec City and about the passing of Tam

  • Dalyell. Respect for him was held across the political parties and he served with great

  • distinction for more than 40 years.

  • The Prime Minister had a successful international visit this last weekto Ireland. She spoke

  • publicly about her commitmentthis is importantnot to have a hard border on these islands, to

  • the continuation of free movement of peoples on these islands and to protect and enhance

  • trade. Given that people will be watching this not just in Britain but in Ireland, will

  • she take this opportunity to explain how she will deliver those sensible, important outcomes?

  • >>The Prime Minister: Those are absolutely the outcomes that we want to see. I was very

  • pleased to meet the Taoiseach and to discuss with him the joint intent that both his Government

  • and mine have to ensure that we do not see a return to the borders of the past in Northern

  • Ireland. We focus on the land border that is between Northern Ireland and the Republic

  • of Ireland. Of course, the issue of movements from Ireland affects other places as well;

  • it affects ports in Wales and Stranraer. Therefore, it is an important issue for us and we have

  • agreed the work that we are going to do together to deliver what I believe will be as frictionless

  • a border as possible. Also, one of the objectives that I set out in my plan for our negotiating

  • objectives is to retain the common travel area.

  • >>Angus Robertson: We on the SNP Benches very much welcome what the Prime Minister has just

  • said on all those issues. Of course, we also welcome the intensifying of negotiations between

  • the UK Government and the devolved Administrations ahead of triggering article 50. The Prime

  • Minister has very helpfully explained that it is perfectly possible for parts of these

  • islands to be in the single market, without hard borders, with free movement of people,

  • while at the same time protecting and enhancing trade with one another. That is very, very

  • welcome, so will she give a commitment to work with the Irish Government and a commitment

  • to work with the Scottish Government to deliver all those thingsor will we just have to

  • get on with it ourselves?

  • >>The Prime Minister: First, the right hon. Gentleman is right that following the meeting

  • of the Joint Ministerial Committee plenary on Monday morning, we agreed to intensify

  • discussion on issues related to the bringing back of powers from Brussels and where those

  • powers should lie within the UKto intensify that in the run-up to the triggering of article

  • 50 and beyond the triggering of article 50.

  • On the other question, the right hon. Gentleman really should listen to the answers that are

  • given, because he is trying to imply something that is not there. [Hon. Members: “Oh!”]

  • Yes. We are very clear that we want to see a frictionless border between Northern Ireland

  • and the Republic of Ireland, but I am also clear that one of the objectives of our negotiation

  • is to see as frictionless a border as possible between the UK and the rest of the European

  • Union. Of course, if he is so worried about having a frictionless border between Scotland

  • and countries in the EU, he should not want to take Scotland out of the EU by wanting

  • to see it independent. [Interruption.]

  • >>Mr Speaker: Order. We should not have to allow for the reaction from the SNP Benches

  • to every answer before we proceed to the next question.

  • >>Mrs Maria Miller (Basingstoke) (Con): EU nationals provide a vital and expert service

  • in my local hospital in Basingstoke and, along with thousands of others, they face an uncertain

  • future. I know that this is something that the Prime Minister wants to give priority

  • to and to sort out. Will we be hearing more about it in the forthcoming White Paper?

  • >>The Prime Minister: My right hon. Friend makes an important point about EU nationals.

  • I would like to confirm my intention and expectation that we will be able to offer that reassurance

  • to EU nationals living in the UK, but I also want to see reassurance offered to UK nationals

  • living in the EU. I hope and will be working to try to ensure that this is an issue we

  • can deal with at a very early stage in the negotiations. It was one of the objectives

  • I set out in the plan. It will be referenced in the White Paper and I can inform my right

  • hon. Friend and the House that that White Paper will be published tomorrow.

  • >>Jonathan Reynolds (Stalybridge and Hyde) (Lab/Co-op): Prime Minister, your responses

  • today have been deeply unsatisfactory. The President of the United States has advocated

  • torture, misogyny, racial discrimination, sexual assault and isolationism. The leaders

  • of Canada and Germany were able to respond robustly, but your response was to jump on

  • a plane as soon as possible to hold his hand. Does this country not deserve a leader who

  • is willing to stand up for British values?

  • >>Mr Speaker: Order. I have issued no response and the hon. Gentleman not only should not

  • breach parliamentary protocol but should not tempt me.

  • >>The Prime Minister: I will tell you what standing up for British values is. I and this

  • Government introduced the first Modern Slavery Act in this country. I have ensured that stop

  • and search has reduced, because I do not believe that anyone on the streets of this country

  • should be stopped and searched because of the colour of their skin, and I ensured justice

  • for the families of Hillsborough.

  • >>Mrs Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet) (Con): In light of the fact that most of the countries

  • covered by the Trump ban have a total bar on the admission of Israeli citizens, should

  • the protestors not be calling for that ban to be lifted as well?

  • >>The Prime Minister: I thank my right hon. Friend for pointing that out. It is absolutely

  • right that the House should be aware of the discrimination around the world and of that

  • ban, particularly for those who are Israeli citizens. We are consistent: we do not agree

  • with that approach and it is not one that we will take. I wait for the day when the

  • right hon. Member for Islington North (Jeremy Corbyn) stands up and condemns it too.

  • >>Chris Elmore (Ogmore) (Lab/Co-op): My constituent Dianah Kendall suffered a bleed on the brain

  • in 2012 and has struggled to work since, but was due to retire in September. Government

  • changes to her state pension retirement age mean that she will now not retire until 2022.

  • This injustice has short-changed 2.6 million WASPI women and brings shame on this Government.

  • Will the Prime Minister think again and support Dianah and the millions of women who deserve

  • fairness in retirement?

  • >>The Prime Minister: On the issue of those who are known as the WASPI campaign, I refer

  • the hon. Gentleman to the fact that, as I am sure he knows, we committed more than £1

  • billion to lessen the impact on those worst affected, so no one will see their pension

  • age change by more than 18 months. There is a wider point: we need to be realistic when

  • considering pension ages about the fact that people are living longer. If we want to carry

  • on having an affordable and sustainable pension system, we need to equalise the state pension

  • age for men and women faster and to bring forward the rise.

  • >>Will Quince (Colchester) (Con): I welcome the £450 million announced in the autumn

  • statement to fund a trial of the digital railway. Given the new fleet of trains on order and

  • the economic growth opportunity for our region, does the Prime Minister agree that the great

  • eastern main line has the most compelling case for that pilot?

  • >>The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend is absolutely right about the importance of transport links

  • for economic growth. I understand that digital signalling could increase capacity on commuter

  • trains by up to 40%, hence the investment of £450 million for trials over the coming

  • years to which he rightly refers. I know that the Department for Transport is considering

  • where those trials should take place, but we certainly recognise that the great eastern

  • main line is one area that could benefit from those improvements.

  • >>John Nicolson (East Dunbartonshire) (SNP): A few moments ago, the Prime Minister tried

  • to claim credit for passing Stonewall’s Turing Bill. She did not; the Turing Bill

  • pardons all gay men found guilty of crimes no longer on the statute book. When will the

  • Prime Minister follow the Scottish Government and automatically pardon the living as well

  • as the dead?

  • >>The Prime Minister: It was during my time as Home Secretary that the legislation was

  • introduced that gives those who are alive the opportunity to apply to the Home Office

  • to have those offences that are no longer on the statute book expunged from their record

  • >>John Nicolson: They are not doing it.