Prime Minister – in the House of Commons am ar 28 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Giles Watling Giles Watling Ceidwadwyr, Clacton

If he will list his official engagements for Wednesday 28 February.

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I know the thoughts of the whole House will be with the friends and families of Lord Cormack and Ronnie Campbell. They were dedicated parliamentarians.

This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I will have further such meetings later today.

Photo of Giles Watling Giles Watling Ceidwadwyr, Clacton

I thank my right hon. Friend for his answer. I am certain that everyone in this Chamber will agree, whatever their political standpoint, that we should be able to think, speak and vote without fear or favour, but today I need to ask about the painful subject of dental care in Clacton, which is in crisis. Our integrated care system has found the money, and a private firm has found the students, to massively increase dental appointments in my patch, but paper-pushers in NHS England keep citing spurious reasons to prevent this groundbreaking initiative from being deployed. Does my right hon. Friend agree that is scandalous, should be dealt with and those people blocking it held to account?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

Our dentistry recovery plan will make dental services faster, simpler and fairer for patients, including in Clacton, and will fund around 2.5 million more appointments. The matter that my hon. Friend raises, as he will know, is a local matter, so the integrated care board will determine whether it wishes to support the pilot proposal in Clacton, but I know that the Minister for Public Health, my right hon. Friend Dame Andrea Leadsom has written to my hon. Friend about the proposal, and I hope that her letter addresses his concerns.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Leader of HM Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

May I join the Prime Minister in his remarks about Lord Cormack and Ronnie Campbell?

Tory MPs spent last week claiming that Britain is run by a shadowy cabal made up of activists, the deep state and, most chillingly of all, the Financial Times. At what point did his party give up on governing and become the political wing of the Flat Earth Society?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

This is another week when the right hon. and learned Gentleman just snipes from the sidelines, because he has absolutely nothing he can say about what he will do. We are getting on with delivering on the people’s priorities: the number of small boats is down by a third; NHS performance is improving; inflation is continuing to fall; and while we are delivering a significant tax cut for millions of working Britons, his incoherent energy plans would put taxes up for everyone across the country.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Leader of HM Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

The Prime Minister’s predecessor, Elizabeth Truss, spent last week in America trying to flog her new book. In search of fame and wealth, she has taken to slagging off—[Interruption.] They made her Prime Minister, now they cannot bear talking about her. In search of fame and wealth, she has taken to slagging off and undermining Britain at every opportunity. She claimed that, as Prime Minister, she was sabotaged by the deep state. She also remained silent as Tommy Robinson, that right-wing thug, was described as a hero. Why is the Prime Minister allowing her to stand as a Tory MP at the next election?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I do not believe that a single Member of this House supports Tommy Robinson, but if the right hon. and learned Gentleman wants to talk about former leaders and predecessors, the whole country knows his record: he sat there while antisemitism ran rife in his party; and he backed not once but twice a man who called Hamas “friends”. To their credit, the shadow Chancellor, the shadow Home Secretary and, indeed, the shadow Foreign Secretary refused to back the former Labour leader, but he did not, because he is spineless, hopeless and utterly shameless.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Leader of HM Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

I have changed my party for the better; the Prime Minister is being changed by his party. He is letting the right hon. Member for South West Norfolk stand because he is too weak to do anything about it. It is the story of his leadership. When the Tories refuse to accept any blame for the ruin of the past 14 years, one wonders who they think has been running the country all this time. Thankfully, the former Prime Minister is on hand again to help: it turns out that it is all the fault of the media, the corporate world and—bizarrely—the President of the United States.

Winston Churchill once said:

“The price of greatness is responsibility.”

Now, the British public are not expecting greatness from this Prime Minister, just a bit of accountability. Does he not think it would be great if, just for once, the Tories took some responsibility?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

The right hon. and learned Gentleman talks about leadership, and about change, but when I learnt of something that I did not agree with, I suspended one of my MPs straightaway. When he learnt of vile antisemitic remarks made by a Labour candidate, what did he do? He instructed his team to defend him, he sent a shadow Cabinet Minister to campaign for him, and he personally backed him for days. That is the difference between us: I act on my principles; he has not got any.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Leader of HM Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

I cannot believe the Prime Minister said that with a straight face. The former Prime Minister continued on her American odyssey—this journey into the wild west of her mind—and claimed that Nigel Farage is the man to restore the Tory party. Will the Prime Minister confirm whether he, too, would welcome Mr Farage back into the Tory fold?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

In our party, we have a proud tradition of diversity and accepting everyone from every background—indeed, it is a proud record that puts Labour to shame. This is the party that delivered the first Jewish Prime Minister, the first female Prime Minister, the first black Chancellor and the first Muslim Home Secretary, and it is now led by the first British-Asian Prime Minister. While it seems that the right hon. and learned Gentleman can only champion men from north London, it is the Conservatives who represent modern Britain.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Leader of HM Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

So this diverse Tory party does welcome Nigel Farage. Two months ago, the Prime Minister said that

“the Tory party is a broad church. I welcome lots of people who want to subscribe to our ideals, to our values.”

That is the same Nigel Farage who said he agreed with the basic premise of Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of blood” speech and bemoaned the influence of the Jewish lobby. Is the Prime Minister simply too scared to stand up to the gaggle of Tory MPs who moonlight as GB News presenters, or does he genuinely think that Nigel Farage shares the ideals and values of the Tory party?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

The right hon. and learned Gentleman wants to talk about values, but tomorrow in Rochdale the people will have a choice of three former Labour candidates, two of whom are antisemites. The truth is, his party is so mired in hate that despite three ex-Labour candidates standing, he cannot back a single one of them. We expel antisemites—he makes them Labour candidates.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Leader of HM Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

The truth is that these are no longer the Tories your parents voted for, and the public can see it. The Prime Minister has lost control of his party to the hordes of redcoats and malcontents. The tin-foil hat brigade on his Benches and the extremists who wrecked the economy are all lining up to undermine him, humiliate him and eventually get rid of him. When will he ever stand up to them and end the pathetic spectacle of a Tory party that used to try to beat Nigel Farage now giving up and dancing to his tune instead?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

That is utterly shameless from someone who stood by while antisemitism ran rife in his party, oversaw the appalling situation in Rochdale and twice backed Jeremy Corbyn. In the last few weeks, we have seen Members of Parliament’s homes surrounded, their events disrupted and council meetings threatened. Just last week, we saw the very rules that govern this place abused because of intimidation. While the right hon. and learned Gentleman might want to bend to mob rule, we will face down the extremists and stand up for British values.

Photo of James Sunderland James Sunderland Chair, Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill

Two years ago last Saturday, Russian forces launched their heinous attack on Ukraine. The response of the British Government and the British people has been magnificent. I pay tribute to all those who have done so much, not least in my own constituency of Bracknell, where Ukrainian people have been so warmly welcomed. We must never bow to tyranny, so could the Prime Minister please assure the House that our support for Ukraine and all our NATO allies will continue to be unwavering?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I join my hon. Friend in thanking people up and down the country, including the people of Bracknell, for welcoming Ukrainian families into their homes and communities. During my visit to Ukraine in January I announced a major new package of support, including £2.5 billion of military assistance. Last week, we announced 50 new sanctions that target individuals and businesses that are sustaining Putin’s illegal war machine. Our support to Ukraine will never waver.

Photo of Stephen Flynn Stephen Flynn SNP Westminster Leader

Some 30,000 people dead; 70,000 injured; 1.5 million sheltering in Rafah; 300,000 living in feral conditions in northern Gaza; and, of course, 100 hostages still tragically held by Hamas. The horror of those numbers demands that this House have its say, just as it shows that this House should demand an immediate ceasefire. President Biden has indicated that the ceasefire may take place from Monday. Does the Prime Minister share his confidence?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

We have consistently called for an immediate humanitarian pause, which would allow for the safe release of hostages—including British nationals—and more aid to Gaza. We welcome progress on a deal. As the hon. Gentleman said, there has been progress, and we urge everyone on all sides to seize the opportunity. I have been clear that we must seize the momentum from this terrible tragedy to find a lasting resolution to this conflict that delivers on the promise of a two-state solution, and ensures that Israelis and Palestinians can live in dignity and security.

Photo of Stephen Flynn Stephen Flynn SNP Westminster Leader

We are approaching five months since this conflict began. In that time, this House has equivocated and, on three occasions at the United Nations, this Government have abstained when they could have voted for a ceasefire. Abstentionism is not leadership. Should this matter now come before the United Nations, with a ceasefire potentially in sight, will the Prime Minister use his Government’s vote to deliver that ceasefire?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

We support the United States’ draft resolution that was discussed with colleagues at the United Nations last week. But just calling for an immediate, full ceasefire now, which collapses back into fighting within days or weeks and does not include the release of hostages, including British ones, is not in anyone’s interests. We must work towards a permanent ceasefire. That starts with an immediate humanitarian pause, to get aid in and hostages out. I agree about the suffering of the people in Gaza; in this country we should be proud of everything we are doing to help them and to provide them with the lifesaving aid they deserve.

Photo of Jamie Wallis Jamie Wallis Ceidwadwyr, Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr

I am sure that we are all proud of our open Government, the availability of information and our open data, but with machine learning and artificial intelligence becoming more prevalent, does the Prime Minister agree that now is the time to look at licensing this information where it is to be used for commercial gain and to inform intelligence that will disrupt society and our economy?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I join my hon. Friend in his passion for AI. Like him, I am proud of our record at the forefront of the AI revolution, having created one of the world’s first AI safety institutes, established the “State of AI” report and hosted the world’s first ever global AI safety summit. I will ensure that he meets the relevant Minister to discuss his proposals to ensure that we can harness the opportunities of AI and protect ourselves against the risk that it poses.

Photo of Liz Saville-Roberts Liz Saville-Roberts Shadow PC Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Women and Equalities) , Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader, Shadow PC Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Attorney General)

Plaid Cymru has signed Full Fact’s pledge for an honest general election campaign. One of Full Fact’s four asks is to renounce deceptive campaigning tactics. There is evidence of egregious, misleading campaigning in Wales and elsewhere by the Conservatives in recent weeks. We all have a responsibility to campaign honestly, because the alternative is to be complicit in dismantling democracy. Therefore, will the Prime Minister sign Full Fact’s pledge for an honest election?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I was pleased to be in Wales just last week, and these are the facts on the ground: the Labour-run Welsh NHS is performing the worst in the United Kingdom; small Welsh businesses, including pubs and restaurants, are facing a crippling rise in their business rates; and Welsh farmers are being decimated by the plans of the Welsh Labour Government. Those are the facts in Wales and we will continue to point them out at every opportunity.

Photo of Elliot Colburn Elliot Colburn Ceidwadwyr, Carshalton and Wallington

There are 4,000 patients in Carshalton and Wallington facing uncertainty after landlords pulled out of discussions the day before their GP practice’s lease expired and then issued notice that it was trespassing. The local integrated care board has issued a very weak statement, and the local Liberal Democrat-run council is refusing to meet the practice and me. Those 4,000 patients are now unsure whether they will have a surgery to go to. Can the Prime Minister assure me that when such decisions are taken by landlords, there is appropriate infrastructure in place to support NHS patients before they are cast out to try to find somewhere else to go?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

As my hon. Friend will know, GP leases are commercial agreements between landlords and tenants, but he is right that everything that can be done should be done to ensure that GP surgeries do not have to close. That is why, in March last year, we commissioned a review into legislation governing these leases. The review will create a new framework that will make leasing to tenants, such as GP surgeries and other groups, easier and more accessible. But I know that his local residents will want this to be sorted as soon as possible, in order to take advantage of the extra appointments that we are creating so that people can get access to the primary care they need.

Photo of Alyn Smith Alyn Smith Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (EU Accession)

One of the few good things to come out of Wednesday’s stramash last week was that the House united around a call for an immediate ceasefire. Now, I welcome that—that is progress. The Prime Minister was just given an opportunity by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen South (Stephen Flynn) to commit to the UK’s representatives in the United Nations and elsewhere articulating that position of this House. If they are not going to do that, what will he say to those of us who say this place really is just a sick pantomime?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

As I outlined previously, it is not right to call for an immediate ceasefire that would collapse instantly into more fighting and not do anything to get more aid into Gaza to alleviate the suffering that people are experiencing, or to make sure that we can safely remove hostages, including British hostages. That has been our consistent position. We have been calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire which will provide the conditions for a lasting and sustainable peace, but just calling for something that will collapse back into fighting is not in anyone’s interests. All our diplomatic efforts, at the United Nations and elsewhere, are targeted at bringing that about. I am pleased that in recent days progress has been made. We should keep pressure on all parties to come to a resolution.

Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne Chair, Environmental Audit Committee, Chair, Environmental Audit Committee

Does my right hon. Friend share my enthusiasm about Monday’s announcement of 27 new potential bathing water sites across the country, including three in Shropshire: two on the River Severn at Ironbridge and Shrewsbury, and one on the River Teme at Ludlow? How will those very welcome designations improve the quality of rivers in Shropshire and in the other areas under consideration?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

On Monday we launched a consultation on the largest ever roll-out of new bathing water sites: 27 potential new bathing waters in England, including an extra one on the River Teme in Ludlow in my right hon. Friend’s constituency. He is right that substantial improvements have been made in recent years. Almost 90% of designated bathing waters in England now meet the higher standards of good or excellent, up from just 76% in 2010; all part of our plan for water which, alongside those on the Conservative Benches voting for the strictest storm overflow targets and plans for unlimited penalties for polluting water companies, was opposed by the Labour party.

Photo of Tulip Siddiq Tulip Siddiq Shadow Minister (Treasury)

The parent of a two-year-old in the UK is currently spending more than £14,000 a year on a full-time nursery place. Last year the Prime Minister promised parents that in April 2024 there would be a new free childcare offer. With only a month to go, parents do not know whether they can access that offer, because of staff shortages and the lack of childcare spaces. Will the parents to whom the Prime Minister made that promise be able to accept the offer that he talked about last year, or is this another example of a broken Tory promise?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

We are delivering on what we said, which is 30 hours of free childcare a week for working parents of children from when they are nine months old until they start school. That is the largest ever expansion of childcare in our country’s history. Perhaps the hon. Lady might want to have a conversation with her Welsh Labour colleagues, who were given the funding to deliver childcare expansion in Wales, and what have they done? They have pocketed the money instead of matching our plans to support parents in England.

Photo of Alexander Stafford Alexander Stafford Ceidwadwyr, Rother Valley

The notorious crossroads between Ulley Lane and Treeton Lane, just outside Aughton in my constituency, is just one of several major road safety and highway issues that have been ignored for decades by Labour-controlled Rotherham Council. I will be presenting a petition to this place telling the council to end this chaotic mismanagement, but may I also ask for the Prime Minister’s support in urging both the Labour council and the Labour Mayor to listen to residents and get the junction sorted—to stop the huge tailbacks, save lives, get Rother Valley moving, and end this war against cars in my constituency?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

My hon. Friend raises an important point, and he is right to champion his constituents in this way. When Labour runs things, it does just run them badly. He can be assured that we have provided Rotherham Council with three quarters of a million pounds for safety improvements to local roads, and we are continuing to provide for his constituents with a further £1 billion allocated to his local area in the second round of the city region sustainable transport settlement. Because of the decision that we made on HS2, communities, towns and cities across the north and the midlands will receive billions of pounds for transport projects that will make a difference to him and his constituents far quicker than anything else that was planned.

Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Chair, Home Affairs Committee, Chair, Home Affairs Committee

Another 80 victims of the contaminated blood scandal have died since Sir Brian Langstaff made his final recommendations on compensation to the Government in April 2023, which was 321 days ago. Will the Prime Minister join the families who are lobbying Members of Parliament here today to explain why his Government have failed to implement any of those recommendations 11 months on?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I am acutely aware of the strength of feeling on this issue, and the suffering of all those impacted by this dreadful scandal. We have consistently acknowledged that justice should be delivered. I gave evidence to the infected blood public inquiry last year, and the Government have accepted the moral case for compensation, which is why on Monday, in the other place, we committed to bringing forward amendments to the Victims and Prisoners Bill at Report stage, with the intention of speeding up the implementation of our response to the inquiry.

Photo of Daniel Kawczynski Daniel Kawczynski Ceidwadwyr, Shrewsbury and Atcham

I thank the Prime Minister sincerely for the extra £244 million announced this week for transport investment in Shropshire, which comes on top of £300 million for the modernisation of our local accident and emergency services, levelling-up funds to modernise Shrewsbury town centre, and full funding for the north-west relief road, the ring road around Shrewsbury. These infrastructure projects will have a major benefit in Shropshire, and not just for us but for those who follow us. There is, however, one issue that I would like to raise with the Prime Minister: how Shropshire Council is funded to deal with adult social care costs. We have a disproportionately ageing population in Shropshire, and the council is struggling to meet those additional costs. What more can be done to help such councils deal with rising adult social care costs?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for the work he does representing his constituents. He is right about the pressures that are faced, particularly in rural areas, which is why the Government provided £600 million of additional funding for local government across the country, ensuring an increase of around 7.5% in resources available to invest in social care, but also an extra addition to the rural services delivery grant—an acknowledgement of the challenges of providing services in rural areas—with more funding for those rural councils to deliver.

Photo of Alison Thewliss Alison Thewliss Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

My constituent Lee Haywood in Dalmarnock is on a communal heat network and has seen both his standing charges and his energy bills absolutely soar. The heat network market framework was introduced in 2021, but the Minister in the Lords said in a letter last week that his “ambition” is that price regulation will only start in spring 2026. Is it this Government’s incompetence or Ofgem’s lack of powers that is letting down constituents who cannot afford to put on their heating this winter?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

As the hon. Lady will know, standing charges are a matter for the independent regulator, Ofgem, which is currently looking at all those things as part of a consultation. More generally, it is this Government who are providing considerable support to families across the country, including in Scotland, with their energy bills. I am sure she will join me in welcoming the recent announcement about the fall in energy bills, bringing them back to levels that we have not seen in a long time, on top of the cost of living support that the Chancellor has provided so that everyone in our country gets the help that they need.

Photo of Paul Bristow Paul Bristow Ceidwadwyr, Peterborough

Werrington Fields is a much-loved open space cherished by local residents and used by the nearby school as playing fields. Shockingly, Peterborough City Council proposed to fence off almost the entire area, rejecting a compromise that most residents and the school were happy with. Bizarrely, the local council seeks to blame the Secretary of State for Education, myself and even the Prime Minister. Will my right hon. Friend get behind my campaign to save Werrington Fields and make it clear—right here, right now—that this is a matter entirely for the local authority?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for championing his constituents on this matter. As he knows, last year the Education Secretary rightly rejected Peterborough City Council’s application to change the playing field land at Ken Stimson Community School from educational land to public open space. That decision ensured that children will have access to the open space that they deserve, but I am told by the Department that the council can provide for some of that land to be fenced and that the Department would be comfortable with that, provided that the overall site remains educational land. That is something that I know he wants to see, and the Department is ready to work with him to ensure that happens.

Photo of Kevan Jones Kevan Jones Llafur, North Durham

After yesterday’s revelation that Nick Read, the Post Office CEO, is under investigation following an 80-page report written by the former head of HR at the Post Office, do the Prime Minister and the Business Secretary have confidence in Nick Read’s leadership at the Post Office?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

It would clearly be inappropriate for me to comment on an investigation before it has been completed. Our focus remains working closely with the Post Office to ensure that it delivers justice for postmasters caught up in this historic scandal, which is why we will imminently bring forward the legislation that we promised.

Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara Ceidwadwyr, North West Cambridgeshire

A few years ago, there was a proposal to build nearly 7,000 houses in a beautiful part of my constituency near the villages of Castor and Ailsworth, against the wishes of local residents. I worked with the local community, and together we were able to stop the development. However, efforts are now being made to include this land in a revised Peterborough local plan. Does the Prime Minister agree that it is very important that the voice of the local community is heard and that it is unacceptable that developments can take place in this circuitous way, especially when other, more suitable land is available in and around the city of Peterborough?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

My right hon. Friend raises an important issue, and he is right to say that the local community should always have their voice heard. It is important that councils bring forward local plans, but this must be done in close consultation with local communities, because their voices matter. As I understand it, the Peterborough local plan is still under preparation and there are opportunities to provide comments on the draft plan, so I commend him for continuing to support his local community to ensure that their voice is heard.

Photo of Sarah Owen Sarah Owen Llafur, Luton North

The Prime Minister talks about things going backwards. The UK is the only western G7 power in recession, with seven consecutive quarters of no growth. That is the worst since records began in 1955. Can the Prime Minister tell the businesses going bust, the families struggling to pay their bills, and the people being made homeless why this recession, which has his name written all over it, is a good thing for our country?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

The hon. Lady might want to check some of the facts that she just outlined to the House; they are not quite right. Perhaps she would like to explain to the country why her party is stuck with a completely incoherent energy policy that will saddle working families with £28 billion of higher tax rises and higher energy bills.

Photo of Jonathan Gullis Jonathan Gullis Ceidwadwyr, Stoke-on-Trent North

Since 2019, the Prime Minister has had our backs in Stoke-on-Trent North, Kidsgrove and Talke, with record funding for our local transport, over £200 million for Stoke and Staffordshire to repair potholes, over £30 million to improve our bus network with cheaper fares and new and extended routes, funding to upgrade Kidsgrove and Stoke-on-Trent railway stations and bringing back the Stoke to Leek line—and this week Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire have seen a tenfold increase in transport funding year in, year out. I know the Opposition like to talk down Stoke-on-Trent North, Kidsgrove and Talke, but isn’t it true that this Prime Minister and this Conservative party are the only ones with a plan to improve and better connect our communities and fix our broken roads and pavements?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

As ever, my hon. Friend is a fantastic champion for Stoke-on-Trent, and he is right: over the next several years, his area will receive 10 times as much as it currently does to invest in local transport schemes as a result of this Government’s decision on HS2. But he is also right to say that after years of being neglected by the party opposite, it is this Conservative Government that are levelling up across the country and in Stoke-on-Trent, championed by fantastic MPs like him.

Photo of Jamie Stone Jamie Stone Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Armed Forces), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

The advent of the Cromarty Firth green freeport is most welcome. What discussions has the Prime Minister had with the Scottish Government, who will be responsible for ensuring that there is a robust road network associated with the freeport and that there will be sufficient housing for the influx of workers who we hope will contribute to our dream of the fabrication of offshore renewable structures?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I welcome the hon. Gentleman’s support for the freeport. We are taking advantage of our Brexit opportunities to deliver two freeports in Scotland to attract jobs and investment in the industries of the future. With regard to infrastructure investment, not only do we provide the tax benefits for a freeport but £25 million of seed funding is available to the freeport, in discussions with the Government, that can be used on local infrastructure improvements that make sense to develop the opportunities that the freeport provides.

Photo of Simon Fell Simon Fell Ceidwadwyr, Barrow and Furness

The AUKUS programme is not just a national endeavour designed to keep our nation safe; it is also an international partnership that speaks about our ambitious work across the globe to pursue security and contain threats. I want to personally thank the Prime Minister for his engagement with the Team Barrow initiative, which is bringing together senior civil servants, my council, BAE Systems and myself to drive this programme forward to make sure we can deliver those boats to time and to budget. That means improving and investing in the local area considerably. With that in mind, may I invite the Prime Minister to Barrow to meet not just the fantastic people building the boats of the future but to see how the programme is going to uplift Furness for the future?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

At a time of great instability around the world, with the war in Ukraine and in the Red sea, my hon. Friend is absolutely right to say that AUKUS is a game-changing defence and security partnership that will keep us safe and create thousands of jobs in the UK shipyards and the supply chain, building on the investment in places such as Barrow and Derby. He is a fantastic champion of what this industry means in his area, and the Team Barrow partnership is a crucial component of ensuring that AUKUS is a success. That is why the Chancellor provided millions of pounds of funding for a delivery board for Barrow. We have recently discussed this at Cabinet and I look forward to visiting my hon. Friend and his community to see the progress for myself when my diary allows.

Photo of Anna McMorrin Anna McMorrin Llafur, Gogledd Caerdydd

Last weekend, the Prime Minister posed for photographs with a group that shares extremist conspiracy theories on climate change and campaigns against net zero. Does he share their views?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

That is no way to talk about the Welsh farming community.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Second Church Estates Commissioner

My integrated care board tells me that only £2 million of the £120 million of capital that it receives annually is for primary care, which seems an unfairly small amount for our amazing family doctors and practice nurses who are, after all, the front door of the NHS. Can our local general practitioners have a greater share?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I thank my hon. Friend for his excellent and continued campaigning on health provision for his constituents. On his specific point, integrated care boards have the power to increase their primary care annual capital management budget, so long as they keep within the overall budget. I understand that he met a Health Minister earlier this week to discuss this further, and I will make sure that his proposals are very carefully considered.

Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Llafur, Wallasey

The Prime Minister has just told my right hon. Friend Mr Jones that, as a Minister, it is inappropriate for him to comment on the bullying allegations at the Post Office, yet he allows his Business and Trade Secretary to comment freely, loudly and often on Twitter. Is he content with her activities and behaviour in this respect?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

The Business and Trade Secretary set out her position explicitly and clearly in the House last week. Since then, and despite some of the claims made by the party opposite, the Department’s permanent secretary has completely refuted the claims that were made. Yesterday, the Post Office’s current CEO and the Department’s director of business resilience also refuted Mr Staunton’s recollection.

Our focus and priority is delivering justice and compensation for those who suffered a historic injustice. We are introducing legislation to right this wrong, and we will make sure that everyone gets the compensation they deserve.

Photo of Steve Double Steve Double Ceidwadwyr, St Austell and Newquay

The £132 million allocated to Cornwall from the shared prosperity fund not only kept our promise to the Cornish people to replace EU funding, but has supported dozens of businesses and funded projects across the duchy. However, the current round of SPF expires next year, so can the Prime Minister confirm that his Government will continue the shared prosperity funding and will continue to provide the support that the Cornish economy needs?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

It was great to visit my hon. Friend in his constituency the other week to see the delights of Cornwall. I wish everyone a happy St Piran’s day for next week.

Cornwall has been awarded over £130 million through the UK shared prosperity fund to deliver, I think, a hundred different projects across the county. Funding is confirmed for this spending review period up to the end of March 2025 but, as with all Government funding, decisions regarding the fund’s future are a matter for the next spending review. I assure my hon. Friend that we remain committed to an ambitious levelling-up agenda in Cornwall and across the country.