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Business of the House
24th June 2021

 
Kevin Brennan Labour, Cardiff West
Further to the question from Mr Mitchell, no one is taken in by the Leader of the House’s sophistry on this subject. Everybody knows that he is seeking to avoid giving the House a meaningful vote on whether it agrees with the Government’s decision temporarily to reduce the amount of aid being sent to the poorest countries in the world. There is no need for him to dilate widely on this; he used to occupy a semi-recumbent position over there and regularly criticised the Executive for exactly this kind of jiggery-pokery. Why does he not come clean with his own side and allow a proper vote—not one rolled up with all such other expenditure in the estimates, but one that would truly meet the test set for him by Mr Speaker?


Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 
I object to what the hon. Gentleman is saying. Trivialising the estimates does not understand their importance. One of the fundamental things that this House does is approve the expenditure proposed by the Government. It is lost in the mists of constitutional time. It is a debate on the whole of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s budget, and it is possible to vote against it. It is a full day’s debate, but I challenge the Opposition again: if they want to debate this so much, we have given them lots of Opposition days, so why have they not used one on it? It is because they do not really want to get this message across to their voters, because it is a policy that has enormous support with the electorate. Our ultimate bosses like this policy. They back this policy and they think it is proportionate under the economic circumstances. The law set out very clearly what the requirements were with the 0.7%: if the target is not met, a statement must be laid before this House. If the hon. Gentleman does not like the law, he should have put down an amendment when the Bill was passed.

 

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. You can also apply if you’re the family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland.

Cardiff and the Vale's Citizen Advice Bureau (CAB) are offering specialised help for anyone who needs help to apply.

You can apply directly at gov.uk/settled-status EU 

Or if you need further help, use the CAB's Citizens Rights Service which you can access by phoning 01446 509897.

 

BBC: Dyson Report
24th May 2021


Kevin Brennan Labour, Cardiff West
I welcome, in general, the tone that the Minister has adopted today in response to this. He said in his statement that

the need for public service broadcasting and trusted journalism has never been stronger.

He is absolutely right about that. That was also the conclusion of our Select Committee, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, when we recently reported on the future of public service broadcasting. This is an example of an era of journalism that was infected with a poisonous culture which unfortunately, in this case, spread to the BBC, which should have been displaying different kinds of values in its journalism. I just want to read a short quote from the National Union of Journalists parliamentary group, which said in its statement:

It’s important for us to also reiterate that the BBC is not its management, past or present. The BBC and the values and principles of public service broadcasting it personifies is in fact our members, and all its staff, who do the work that makes the corporation an entity that is valued at home and throughout the world.

Does the Minister agree with that statement?

John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Minister of State

I do agree with that statement. There is no question but that the challenge posed by fake news and disinformation, which are circulating at a level we have never previously seen, makes it all the more important that there are trustworthy, reliable places where one can go without questioning the validity of what is being reported, and the BBC represents that above all else. I read with great interest the Select Committee report that the hon. Gentleman referred to, and in large part the Government completely agree with it, certainly, the importance of public service broadcasting —that has never been less, as was powerfully set out by His Royal Highness Prince William in his comments about this episode.

Arms Trade: Yemen
20th April 2021

Kevin Brennan Labour, Cardiff West

I want to take this opportunity to remind colleagues of the human consequences that the arms trade and conflict in Yemen can have on people. Four years ago, in April 2017, my constituent Luke Symons was stopped at a Houthi checkpoint in Sana’a and detained. He has been held in prison ever since for no reason other than that he holds a British passport.

Luke’s is a very typical Cardiff story in many ways. The rapid growth of Cardiff as a coal exporting port in the late 19th and early 20th centuries brought many Yemeni and Somali sailors to the city. Luke comes from one of those Cardiff Yemeni families who still have relations in the country. On a visit to Yemen in 2014, he met his future wife and settled there before the conflict broke out. They desperately tried to leave, but were unsuccessful before Luke was detained.

I appeal to the UK Government to redouble the efforts they have already made to secure Luke’s release and secure safe passage for him and his wife and child to the UK. I thank the Foreign Secretary and the Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly, for their efforts so far.

I also appeal to Luke’s Houthi captors, during this holy month of Ramadan, to release him. His grandfather, Bob Cummings, who has a deep and abiding love for the people of Yemen and the middle east from his time as a merchant seaman, has campaigned tirelessly for Luke’s release. Luke’s grandmother, Sheila, who played a big part in his upbringing, is very ill and deeply worried about his welfare. It would be an act of mercy and compassion and would show the Houthi leadership in a good light if, after four years of this sad affair, that young man of 29 years, who is simply caught up in events and has committed no crime, could be reunited with his wife and child and wider family. That is the plea from the family to his Houthi captors, and I sincerely hope it will reach them and their hearts.

European Football Proposal
19th April 2021

Kevin Brennan Labour, Cardiff West

This super league proposal is the sporting equivalent of a billionaires’ gated community, with a football favela for everyone else on the other side of the fence. Could the very robust response that the Secretary of State says he wants from the Government include the Prime Minister ringing up, or perhaps even texting, the former No. 10 spin doctor Katie Perrior, who also worked on his mayoral campaign and whose public affairs agency is promoting the super league launch? Will the Prime Minister tell her that this is one occasion when insider connections will not win any traction with the Government, and that this betrayal of football fans and the ethos of fair competition in sport will be blocked by the UK Government using urgent legislation in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech?

Oliver Dowden The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

I am very happy to give the hon. Gentleman an assurance that we will take the robust action that is necessary. In fact, I think the best place to start—it is where I started—is speaking to the president of UEFA and the leadership of the Premier League and the FA. I hope that their actions can stop the proposal in its tracks, and I think we will see some very robust action from them. I have been clear, and I am happy to be clear again, that if that does not work, the Government stand ready to act. We will not wait for it not to work; we are working through the options for measures now and stand ready to take them at the appropriate juncture.

Business of the House
15th April 2021


Kevin Brennan Labour, Cardiff West
May we have a debate on the dangers to the taxpayer of incompetent capitalist government? Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre has pointed out that the Test and Trace system in England, which has been outsourced to private companies, cost twice as much as the system in Wales where local government has been used.

I had a very disturbing report from one of my constituents that he had received the test results of two children from England, despite the fact that he has lived in Cardiff for 35 years. When I contacted the Department of Health and Social Care, they told me that it was probably because the wrong mobile phone and email details had been entered, and that no process was in place to amend customer details. The Government have allocated £37 billion to cover the cost of the Test and Trace system over the next two years, and it cannot even amend incorrectly entered customer details!

The Leader of the House talked about the unacceptable face of capitalism earlier, about British Gas’s behaviour, but what about the incompetent face of capitalism?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I note that of the tests carried out in Wales, 64% have been provided by Her Majesty’s Government. Had we left it to the Welsh Government and the public sector in Wales, only 36% of tests would have been carried out. I think that shows the effectiveness of Her Majesty’s Government—the United Kingdom Government—at getting things done. What the hon. Gentleman is proposing is that things do not get done. I, for one, am in favour of action, not of dither and delay.

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