Ben Dean-Titterrell

Politics and beer

Month: December, 2016

Bernard Jenkin weekly: No.10

Week 12 December – 18 December

In a week when Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria launched a devastating assault on Aleppo,  Theresa May was not invited to a dinner of EU leaders during a summit on Thursday, and Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox put in an £11.7 billion bid to take full control of Sky, what did Bernard Jenkin do?

Speeches and written questions

Bernard Jenkin did not make any contributions in any parliamentary debates this week.

Voting record

Mr Jenkin voted four times this week.

On 12 December he voted: against a proposed amendment that would place a duty on HMRC to review annually the impact of Lifetime ISAs on automatic enrolment in workplace pensions; against a proposed amendment that would remove the provision for Lifetime ISAs from the Bill; against a proposed amendment that would allow a credit union to provide a Help-to-Save account; and for approving the draft Coasting Schools (England) Regulations 2016.

Select committees

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee was the only committee Mr Jenkin sits on that carried out any oral evidence hearings this week. The committee questioned representatives from the Electoral Commission about the role and purpose of referendums.

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Bernard Jenkin weekly: No.9

Week 5 December – 11 December

In a week when MPs voted overwhelmingly to back a motion that backed the Prime Minister’s plan to activate Article 50 by the end of March next year, the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson got himself in trouble for saying Saudi Arabia is involved in proxy wars, and the Supreme Court heard the government’s appeal to an earlier High Court ruling that said Parliament would have to vote on the activation of Article 50, what did Bernard Jenkin do?

Speeches and written questions

Mr Jenkin spoke several times this week during one debate on Wednesday about the motion to back the governments plan for Brexit. His first contribution to the debate was an intervention while Ken Clarke, MP for Rushcliffe, was speaking. He said that he welcomed what he saw as Mr Clarke agreeing with the idea that Parliament should be supreme. Mr Jenkin added, “Is it not rather odd that we now have a Supreme Court that sees itself as a constitutional court able to direct that this House shall have to do something, which has always previously been our right?”

When Mr Jenkin next spoke he began his speech by saying he found the speech by Labour MP Andy Burnham, which had just preceded him, refreshing. He spoke of the need to, as he put it, “take on board the points made about healing divisions and adopting the right tone.”

He spoke of the need to, as he put it, “take on board the points made about healing divisions and adopting the right tone.” Mr Jenkin stressed that the UK has been a member of the EU for less than 50 years and said that while we debate the issue hotly now, “all the controversy will pass, and we will look back with much more equanimity than we feel today.”

The MP for Harwich and North Essex then took an intervention from John Redwood, a fellow Conservative MP and Brexit supporter, who said that it people should unite and not look for “possible or imaginary problems” regarding Brexit if the UK is to have the best negotiating position. Mr Jenkin said he agreed with Mr Redwood.

Mr Jenkin outlined that he saw two aspects to the motion the House was debating, that the government will produce a plan for Brexit and that most members of the House would vote for the activation of Article 50 by the end of March 2017. He said that this raises the question of why there is a the need for a Supreme Court case on the issue, “it prompts the question of why there is a court case, and why the courts have chosen to become involved, particularly once the motion is carried. We do not need a court to tell the House that it is sovereign.”

“The House could stop Brexit whenever it wanted, as it could stop anything else that a Government do if it chose to do so. It is unfortunate that a different kind of judiciary is developing, as I do not think that Parliament ever voted for that.”

After taking an intervention from SNP MP Angus MacNeil in which he warned that rushing into Article 50 may leave the UK without a trade deal with the EU after the negotiations were concluded, Mr Jenkin asserted that “a great deal of industry is quietly preparing for the possibility that there will not be an agreement.”

Later in his speech Mr Jenkin said that the government should look to put as little as possible into and not overload the agreement with the EU after Article 50 is activated. He made several suggestions about a couple of negotiating positions the government should take.

“Our opening pitch should be very simple. We should make an offer—a zero/zero offer: we will give EU countries zero tariffs on their exports to our country, if they will give us zero tariffs on their imports from us.”

“We should also offer an opportunity for mutual recognition of services agreements so that we can continue trading in services, as we do now. That, again, would be in everybody’s interest.”

Mr Jenkin finished his speech by speaking about the need for a simple repeal Bill to remove the European Communities Act from UK statute, “We need a repeal Bill of only a few clauses, setting out the principles by which we leave. It is worth reminding ourselves that the Czech Republic and Slovakia were one country and within six months of deciding to split, they split, and they are better friends now than they ever were before. That is the kind of relationship that I look forward to having with our European partners.”

Voting record

Mr Jenkin voted twice this week, both times on the motion calling on the government to activate Article 50.

On Wednesday he voted: for the Labour motion calling on the government to publish its plan for Brexit before Article 50 is activated; and for the government amendment to the motion which called on the government to activate Article 50 by the end of March 2017.

Mr Jenkin voted with the majority and was loyal to the government on both votes this week.

Select committees

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee carried out one oral evidence session this week. The session was for the committee’s inquiry into the government accounts.

Four MPs were questioned during the hearing: Craig McKinlay MP, Parliamentary Representative on the Financial Reporting Advisory Board, Dr John Pugh MP, co-author of Options to improve Parliamentary Scrutiny of Government Expenditure: a report to the Chancellor, and Rt Hon David Gauke MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Julian Kelly, Director General, Public Spending and Finance at the Treasury was also questioned during the session.

Bernard Jenkin weekly: No.8

Again, this is late. Was meant to be published weeks ago. Been busy.

Week 28 November – 4 December

In a week when David Davis admitted to MPs that the UK may continue to pay the EU for access to the single market after Brexit, MPs voted down a motion accusing former Prime Minister Tony Blair of misleading Parliament over the case for war in Iraq, and an ICM poll gave the Conservatives a 16 point lead over Labour, what did Bernard Jenkin do?

Speeches and written questions

Mr Jenkin spoke in one Parliamentary debate this week on the Chilcot Inquiry. He intervened while SNP MP Alex Salmond was speaking about his dissatisfaction at the answers given by the Cabinet Secretary when he was questioned by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee about whether changes to the flow of information to the Intelligence and Security Committee would a difference to a Prime Minister committed to a particular course of action.

The MP for Harwich and North Essex said that the committee did not necessarily take the advice of the Cabinet Secretary, adding “We will be making recommendations that we are confident will prevent such events from happening again.”

Mr Jenkin later tried to intervene and make another contribution to the debate when Chris Skidmore, Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office, was speaking. Mr Skidmore, however, declined to give way.

Voting record

Mr Jenkin voted four times this week on the Digital Economy Bill and the state pension.

He voted three times on 28 November on the Digital Economy Bill. He voted: against a proposed clause that would mean that the Secretary of State would have to include in guidance to maintained schools that pupils learn as part of sex education the risks and dangers of internet pornography and the legal age requirement to access it; against a proposed amendment that would require the Secretary of State to introduce a voucher scheme that would provide consumers with an alternative solution to their broadband needs other than that which is supplied by the provider of the universal service order; and against a proposed amendment that would ensure the entitlement and cost of over-75s TV licences remain with the Government.

On 30th November he voted a further one time on the state pension age for women. He voted: against a motion put forward by the SNP that would call on the government to take more action to help women affected by the acceleration of the increase in the state pension age.

Mr Jenkin voted with the majority and was loyal to the government on all four votes this week.

Select committees

Non of the committee which Mr Jenkin sits on carried out any oral evidence sessions this week.

Bernard Jenkin weekly: No.7

This edition of Bernard Jenkin weekly is, like the last one, late. Again, just busy with Uni stuff.

Week 21 November – 27 November

In a week when the Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his first autumn statement, Jeremy Corbyn gave a speech to the Confederation of British Industry, and the Institute for Fiscal Studies said workers would face a decade without real-terms wage increases, what did Bernard Jenkin do?

Speeches and written questions

Mr Jenkin made one contribution this week during a debate on the impacts of Brexit on higher education. He gave a speech of considerable length in the debate

The MP started by cautioning against the use of negative language when talking about Brexit and higher education and said that in his experience universities were keen to make the best of leaving the EU.

He stated that there were three main issues facing the government in regard to higher education post-Brexit. Firstly there’s the issue of foreign students from the EU. Mr Jenkin said that outside the EU universities  could finally charge EU students full fees rather than the reduced ones they are currently obligated to charge, “It is actually going to be an advantage to the universities sector if we can charge EU students full fees. At the moment, the British taxpayer helps to fund those students.”

Second the MP for Harwich and North Essex said the issue of EU funds for universities would not be as much of an issue as many are making it out to be. He suggested that having left the EU the government would no longer have to subsidise European universities, “We should be able to afford to pay more into our universities to fund more research and support our universities more effectively as a result of leaving the European Union, because we will no longer be forced to pay to subsidise universities elsewhere in the European Union.”

The final issue Mr Jenkin raised the issue of collaboration between EU and UK universities. He dismissed the idea that collaboration would end as “potty”, adding “If I am correct, we have four universities in the world rankings top 10. We have 10 of the top 50 universities in the world—more than any other country outside the US. Two are in London—the same number as are in the entirety of the rest of the EU.” He asserted that it would not be in EU univerities’ interests to sever ties with UK institutions.

He finished in his speech in typical pro-Brexit fashion by claiming that “Outside the EU, our universities have as great a future, if not a greater future, than they would if we remained in the EU.”

Voting record

Mr Jenkin voted nine times this week on a few issues but mainly on aspects on the Higher Education Bill.

On 21 November he voted seven times on the Higher Education and Research Bill. He voted: against a proposed opposition amendment that would have restricted how repayment terms for student loans could be modified after the loan was agreed; against a proposed amendment that would have reversed the change made last year that changed student grants into loans; against a proposed amendment that would have required UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to commission research on the effects of the absence of arrangements for post study work visas and assess how such arrangements could operate in the UK and their effect on the higher education sector and the UK economy; against a proposed amendment that would ensure Teacher Excellence Framework measures, a scheme to asses the quality of higher education, were subject to scrutiny by, and approval of, both Houses of Parliament; against a proposed amendment that would require the Office for Students to be assured about the maintenance of standards and about students’ and the public interest before issuing authorisation to grant degrees; against a proposed amendment that would place a duty on the Secretary of State such that before giving directions to the UKRI in regards to research priorities, the Secretary of State must consult the devolved administrations; and for moving the Bill onto a third reading.

On 22 November Mr Jenkin voted only twice. He voted: against an opposition motion that would call on the government to abandon its plans to bring in additional selective education and concentrate on providing the best education possible for all children; and against an opposition motion that would call on the Government to use the Autumn Statement to address the underfunding of the NHS and guarantee sustainable financing of the NHS.

Mr Jenkin voted with the majority and was loyal to the government on all nine voted this week.

Select committees

None of the committees Mr Jenkin sits on carried out any oral evidence sessions this week.

Bernard Jenkin weekly No.6

This edition of Bernard Jenkin weekly should have been published on Sunday 20 November. I was really ill that weekend and I just haven’t found the time to do it till now. I’ll try and make sure this doesn’t happen again. 

Week 14 November – 20 November

In week when Present-elect Donald Trump continued continued to prepare his administration for when he becomes President of the United States next January, Russia withdrew its signature from the International Criminal Court, and Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May launched their new car show, what did Bernard Jenkin do?

Speeches and written questions

Bernard Jenkin did not speak in any Parliamentary debates this week.

Voting record

Bernard Jenkin did not vote in any divisions this week.

Select Committee

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs committee was the only committee on which Mr Jenkin sits that carried out any oral evidence sessions this week.

It carried out two sessions, one where the committee asked questions to Lord Kerslake, former Head of the Civil Service, and Lord Lord Butler, former Cabinet Secretary, about the work of the civil service.

Another session was on how the NHS can learn from its mistakes in which the Minister of State for Health, Philip Dunne, was questioned by the committee