Darren raises post-Brexit education in Parliament

Brexit could have a devastating effect on public services, because they are funded by taxes and Brexit will cripple our tax receipts to the tune of up to £100 billion for 50 years (Berenberg Bank and OBR).

And as well as a possible tax receipt hit of £100 billion over the next 50 years, up to £100 billion of taxes will have to instead be spent on the EU ‘divorce bill’.

Education is a vital public service and so Darren raised it with the relevant minister, writing

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the effect on forecasted funding for her Department in the event that the UK leaves the EU and only operates as a member of the WTO in its trading relationship with the EU.

Robert Goodwill, a Minister of State for the Department of Education, replied

As part of our preparations for exiting the European Union, the Government is in the process of carrying out a programme of rigorous and extensive analytical work across departments. This programme will contribute to our exit negotiations with the European Union and inform our understanding of how EU exit will affect the United Kingdom’s domestic policies and frameworks. This Department’s interests will be fully considered as part of this process and we are planning for a range of scenarios, working alongside HM Treasury and the Department for Exiting the European Union.

It is perhaps disappointing that the government cannot deliver an answer on this forecasted funding.

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Darren challenges the governments on their Brexit plans for the South West

Brexit could have up to a -6% effect on UK GDP (LSE European Institute). There are additional challenges for the South West, with parts of it set to lose guaranteed EU funding. With these issues looming on the horizen, Darren asked the government whether they were planning for them. He wrote to them

To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what regional impact assessments his Department has conducted to measure the economic consequences of the Government’s model for leaving the EU; and what method of consultation and representation his Department has implemented with local authorities in the South West on negotiations with the EU and on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

Robin Walker MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Exiting The European Union

The Department for Exiting the EU, working with officials across government, is undertaking a comprehensive programme of analytical work to assess, across a range of scenarios, the economic impacts of exiting the European Union for all areas of the UK. However, it would not be appropriate to publish details that could undermine the UK’s negotiating position with the EU.

As part of our commitment to hear from every sector and region in the UK, the Government and DExEU Ministers continue to engage extensively with regional stakeholders, and intend to continue this work throughout the exit process.

Ministers in the Department have visited the South West of England twice since the creation of the Department, and plan to return in the near future.

DExEU and the Department for Communities and Local Governments are working closely with the Local Government Association and regional partners across the country to understand clearly issues related to exit and to identify any regional implications.

In other words, there has been no concrete progress made on any of the processes Darren asked about.

 

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Darren challenges the government on Brexit’s effect on public services

With Brexit looming, so is a potential ‘no-deal’ arrangement with the EU could have. This would be devastating for the economy, with trade tariffs implemented overnight on UK exports. And what is bad for the economy is bad for public services, because there is less tax money.

Darren wrote to Treasury and said the following:

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on forecasted funding for public services in the UK in the event that the UK leaves the EU and operates as a member of the WTO in its trading relationship with the EU.

Elizabeth truss MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, responded:

The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) produces forecasts independently of Ministers, doing so objectively, transparently and impartially, as required by law.

It is worth noting that the latest set of OBR forecasts, available here, do not include forecasts specific to different EU negotiation outcomes.

 

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Darren Jones MP asks the government about post-Brexit trade

Parts of the government’s argument for how they can make Brexit a success rely on changing the WTO rules. With this in mind, Darren wrote to the government and said the following:

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the Prime Minister’s statement of 10 July 2017, Official Report, column 26, on the G20 summit, what rule changes he has requested from the WTO relating to the (a) services and (b) digital sector.

Mark Garnier MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary

replied:

As the Prime Minister and Department for International Trade ministers have set out, the UK is a founding member and active participant in the ongoing work of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This includes an active involvement in services and the digital sector, where we continue to advocate for services trade liberalisation and are encouraging members to restart negotiations on the ambitious Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).

On the digital economy, we are working with other WTO Member States to achieve a positive outcome at the Ministerial Conference in December 2017. This includes working with developing and least developed countries as a core supporter of UNCTAD’s ‘eTrade for All’ initiative which seeks to improve the ability of developing countries to benefit from e-commerce.

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Darren Jones MP asks the government about post-Brexit trade arrangments

Darren asked:

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the UK operating only as a member of the WTO on the UK’s preparations for complying with the General Data Protection Regulation; and what key differences exist between the (a) WTO rules in respect of the digital sector and (b) those rules that exist by being a member of the EU.

Matthew Hancock, a minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, replied:

The Government is committed to ensuring the highest level of data protection for UK citizens now and in the future. To that end, the Data Protection Bill, as announced in the Queen’s Speech, will be introduced to Parliament in due course.

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Darren Jones MP asks the Government about Brexit’s effect on health funding

Darren asked:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on forecasted funding for his Department in the event that the UK leaves the EU and only operates as a member of the WTO in its trading relationship with the EU.

Philip Dunne, a Minister of State for the Department of Health, replied:

The Government has already said that it is in the process of carrying out a programme of rigorous and extensive analytical work across departments. This programme will contribute to our exit negotiations with the European Union and inform our understanding of how EU exit will affect the United Kingdoms’s domestic policies and frameworks. This Department’s interests will fully be considered as part of this process.

In the negotiations with the EU, the Government will prioritise securing the freest and most frictionless trade possible in goods and services between the UK and the EU. We want to see zero tariffs on trade in goods and to minimise the regulatory and market access barriers for both goods and services.

The Government is committed to ensuring leaving the EU is a success for the health and social care sector as well as the UK as a whole.

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Darren asks the government about Brexit’s impact on Services and the digital sector

Darren wrote:

To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what assessment he has made of the effect on the UK’s (a) services and (b) digital sector in the event that the UK leaves the EU and only operates as a member of the WTO in its trading relationship with the EU.

Robin Walker, the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Exiting The European Union, answered:

The UK Government is focused on getting the best possible deal with the EU to ensure that the Services and Digital sectors can continue to trade as freely as possible.

The Department for Exiting the European Union, working with officials across government, continues to undertake a wide range of analysis to support our negotiations. This is part of the government’s continued programme of rigorous and extensive analytical work on a range of scenarios.

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Darren Jones MP calls for more time for Parliament

The government has doubled the amount of time the house will be sitting for. Darren spoke in Parliament to call for doubling the amount of time each piece of law will be debated for. He did this because the amount of parliamentary time overall has been doubled.

WATCH HERE:

 

Read what Darren said here:

With the greatest of respect to right hon. and hon. colleagues, I have sometimes been a bit disappointed by my experiences as a new Member of Parliament. The first disappointment I commented on was the lack of answers to questions and our inability to hear either during Prime Minister’s questions. Indeed, a tweet I made on the subject was viewed more than half a million times and retweeted 10,000 times by the public, who no doubt share that concern. The fact that I have to take part in this debate today as a new Member without the ability to do anything substantive as an Opposition Member until, allegedly, October, is adding to my disappointment.

I, like many others, have looked towards politics since childhood as the route to achieving change in this country. I, like many other Members, have worked hard for years, election after election, to be elected to this House to try to achieve that change. Like in the children’s novel, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, I always assumed that if I made it to the end of the yellow brick road to this place I might find the wonderful wizard of government. Instead, much like Dorothy and her obviously disappointed dog, Toto, I have failed to find a Government of mandates, leadership or stature and instead, behind the curtain, I have found a group of middle-aged men protecting their egos in a bid to take over from a lame duck Prime Minister.

Of course I would not class the Leader of the House in that group of middle-aged men—but I am sure that she knows each and every one of them as they vie for the leadership of her party and, perhaps, try to take her position.

When Britain faces arguably her most challenging time since the second world war, with decisions taken here in this Parliament deciding what type of country Britain will be for the next generation, it seems to me that the Government need to step up to allow for accountability and opposition. As my hon. colleagues have said, this debate is about the lack of time being given to us, with Opposition day and Back-Bench business debates seemingly in short supply on the basis of simple parliamentary mathematics.

Many Government Members who campaigned to take back control and argued for parliamentary sovereignty for this place will no doubt share my concern. A. V. Dicey, the father of parliamentary constitutional theory, would be turning in his grave; the theories on which he built from Montesquieu on the separation of powers and the trias politica, which mean that power should be balanced between the Executive and the legislature, are not being followed because the Opposition are not being allowed to hold the Government to account. The balance is not as it should be. The taking back of control to this Parliament, as opposed to the Executive, is failing. With a Government entirely consumed by their chaotic management of Brexit, seemingly more interested in self-preservation than the national interest, it must be left to the Opposition to act as a party of government with a mandate for government in our manifesto to ensure proper debate on the issues about which my constituents are concerned.

Dare I say that it is no longer acceptable for Ministers to stand up and say, “Everything will be fine; we are a great nation”? Blind patriotism detached from the real world will only show us as a country out of touch and out of control. That is why we must be allowed proper time for debate in this House, to help the Government understand the reality of their inaction. My frustration at the news yesterday was a prime example, as Ministers decided to waste their time by briefing against each other instead of getting on with the job in hand. That frustration might have been calmed by the knowledge that I would have the opportunity to debate the issues of the day in a grown-up, professional and respectful fashion in this House, in the way my constituents expect of us and for the reasons they elected me to this House in the first place. But it seems that that most normal of asks is being thwarted by the Government, so it is with great disappointment that I find myself having to make this speech in support of the motion from my hon. Friend Valerie Vaz, arguing for what should be normal debate in this Parliament.

Although you might not be able to resolve my disappointment, Mr Speaker, at what I found behind the curtain of power, I hope that this House will put the national interest above power games and party political concerns and allow proper time for debate and scrutiny.

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Darren calls on Housing Secretary to build more Council Houses in Bristol

Darren has called on the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to build more council houses in Bristol. Read more

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Darren challenges the Prime Minister on Brexit

WATCH HERE:

At the moment, if we get no deal with the EU after Brexit we will be subject to WTO rules when trading with them. The Prime Minister had answered concerns about this by saying we could reform these rules.

Darren asked:

I thank the Prime Minister for her statement and note her efforts to reform the World Trade Organisation rules in order that they keep up with the services and digital sectors, which are crucial to the British economy. Does she agree that any reform of the WTO rules will take longer than the time we have left before the UK crashes out of EU without a trade deal in 2019?

The Prime Minister replied:

One point of my comments at the G20 was that we need to speed up how the WTO considers these issues. Looking at the trade rules around the digital economy is not being started from scratch; the WTO has been doing it for some time. We just need to ensure that we get on with it and get those rules set.

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