Ben Dean-Titterrell

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Tag: EU

Bernard Jenkin weekly: No.13

Week 30 January – 5 February

In a week when MPs voted overwhelmingly to give the government power to activate Article 50, thousands joined protests around the world against President Trump’s travel ban, and a judge in Seattle suspended the travel ban nationwide across America, what did Bernard Jenkin do?

Speeches and written questions

Mr Jenkin spoke many times in Parliament this week, mainly when he made a statement to the House of Commons in his role as chair of the Public Administration and Consitutional Affairs Committee.

First however he contributed to a debate on Brexit on Thursday 2 February. He asked the Brexit Secretary David Davis whether after activating Article 50 the government will “take that opportunity to frame the negotiation by making it clear that we expect to agree the framework of our future relationship, as specified in article 50?” Mr David replied by saying that Mr Jenkin was quite right and the issue he raised would be thew first the government would need to resolve at the beginning of the negotiations.

Later that day Mr Jenkin made his statement to the House as chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, the statement focused on the committees recently published report into the National Health Service. Mr Jenkin started his statement by laying out how the NHS has consistently made the same mistakes repeatedly over the last several years despite multiple reports into the problems within the organisation.

“In its report “Learning from Mistakes”, which was published last year, the Public Health Service Ombudsman highlighted the fear of blame that is pervasive throughout the NHS. That fear drives defensive responses and inhibits open investigations, which in turn prevents NHS organisations from understanding what went wrong and why. That also undermines public trust and confidence, because the public can see that NHS organisations are failing to learn from mistakes—if they did, that would drive improvement.”

The MP for Harwich and North Essex said the committee’s report “Will the NHS never learn?” concluded that “if the Department of Health is to achieve its policy of turning the NHS into a learning organisation, it must integrate its various initiatives to tackle the issue and come up with a long-term and co-ordinated strategy. That strategy must include a clear plan for building up local investigative capability, as the vast majority of investigations take place locally. We will hold the Secretary of State for Health accountable for delivering the plan.

Mr Jenkin also commented on the establishment of the Health Services Investigations Branch, “The Government accepted our recommendation, and HSIB is due to be launched in April. It will conduct investigations into the most serious clinical incidents, and is intended to offer a safe space to allow those involved in such incidents to speak openly and frankly about what happened.”

He brought his statement to a close by expressing his hope that the government will implement the committees recommendations, “There is an acute need for the Government to follow through on their commitment to promote a culture in which staff feel able to speak out and in which the emphasis is placed on learning, not blame. I very much hope that they will implement PACAC’s recommendations as a step towards achieving that as soon as possible.”

Mr Jenkin then took several questions from other members on the committee’s report, one of which came from Labour MP Justin Madders. He first said Labour welcomed the report and thanked those who contributed to it before asking about delaying the launch of HSIB, “To give HSIB the strongest start, it was the clear view of the Committee, HSIB, the Expert Advisory Group, HSIB’s chief investigator and even the Minister himself that legislation is needed, but, as of today, no legislation has been forthcoming. Given that, does the Chair of the Committee agree that it might be better to delay implementation to allow time for legislation?”

Mr Jenkin replied, “The answer is, as the hon. Gentleman suggests, for the Government to bring forward the legislation as quickly as possible. I know that efforts are being made in that direction, but perhaps the Minister will have something to tell us.”

Voting record

Mr Jenkin voted three times this week all on 1 February regarding the bill to give the government the power to activate Article 50.

He voted: against a proposed SNP amendment to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill that would decline giving the Bill a second reading; for a motion to give the Bill a second reading; and for setting out a three day programme for moving the Bill onto a third reading.

Mr Jenkin was loyal to the government and voted with the majority on all three votes.

Select Committees

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

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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.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.1

Week 10 October – 16 October

Firstly, welcome to the first edition of Bernard Jenkin weekly, the follow up to James Heappey weekly. Here, every week, I will summarise Bernard Jenkin MP for Harwich and North Essex’s actions in Parliament. This will include contributions and speeches made in debates, written questions submitted, any select committee hearings, and, when possible, expenses data. So, let’s get started.

In a week when Unilever briefly said it wouldn’t be providing Tesco with stock, Republican nominee for President of the United States Donald Trump was accused of sexual assault by several women, and the SNP held their party conference, what did Bernard Jenkin do?

Speeches and written questions

Bernard Jenkin spoke many times in Parliament this week, especially on the debates regarding Britain’s exit from the European Union.

His first contribution of the week came on Monday 10 October when he asked a question to the Brexit Secretary, David Davis. He wanted to make clear to Mr Davis and the rest of the House that leaving the EU meant leaving the single market and that the leave campaign had been clear on that from the start, “May I point out, as a director of Vote Leave, that it was made clear in our campaign that leaving the EU meant leaving the single market.”

Mr Jenkin also expressed his confusion at the way he sees the Remain campaign’s argument about single market membership now, “Is it not ironic that the remain campaign spent a lot of time telling us, “Oh, if you leave the EU you will have to leave the EU internal market.” Now they are all saying that there must be a way of leaving the EU and staying in the single market, even though all the EU leaders say that that is not possible.”

His next contribution in parliament came on Wednesday 12 October when he made an intervention to Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary. He wanted to know how Mr Starmer would vote if their was a vote in the House on invoking article 50, “This is the question that he has to answer: suppose there was a vote in this House; how would he vote? Would he vote against article 50 invocation, or in favour?”

Later in the debate he intervened while Stephen Gethins, an SNP MP, was speaking. The MP for Harwich and North Essex spoke of how Parliament and the Devolved Assemblies need to work together to answer questions about Brexit. He pointed to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, which he chairs, and an earlier visit he had made to Scotland.

“I have already visited the Scottish Parliament with my Committee to that end, and am offering to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament on those questions and how we should address them. I hope that the dialogue he wants will be in that spirit of co-operation.”

His final contribution of the week came in the same debate when he made a point to fellow Conservative MP John Redwood about how article 50 was included in the Lisbon treaty to make it less complicated to leave the EU, “Is it not also incumbent on the Government to be mindful that article 50 was not put into the Lisbon treaty to make it less complicated to leave the European Union? If we try to include too many things under article 50 that stray into mixed competences, we will finish up with an agreement that requires unanimity?”

He added that in his view it could be beneficial for withdrawal from the EU to be done in less than the two years stated under article 50, “In fact, it would be an advantage to business if we could complete this in a much shorter period than the two years specified under the article 50 process.”

Bernard Jenkin has not submitted any written questions so far in this Parliamentary session.

Voting record

Mr Jenkin voted four times this week, including three times on the Wales Bill.

On 12 September he voted on the issues relating to the Wales Bill. He voted: against a proposed amendment that would establish two distinct legal jurisdictions of England and Wales; against a proposed clause that would remove restrictions on certain public sector bodies bidding to operate a rail franchise that is made up of or includes rail services within Wales; and against a proposed clause that would make air passenger duty a devolved tax in Wales.

On 14 September the MP for Harwich and North Essex voted once on a piece of business that came without a debate. He voted: for approving the draft West Midlands Combined Authority (Election of Mayor) Order 2016.

Mr Jenkin way loyal to his party and voted with the majority on all four votes.

Select Committees

Bernard Jenkin sits on three House of Commons Committees. He chairs the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee as well as sitting on both the Liaison Committee and the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission.

None of the committees carried out any oral evidence sessions this week.

Expenses

Bernard Jenkin’s expenses records going back to 2010 are accessible on the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority website. Here I will only present the most recent data published by the IPSA, expenses for April and May of this financial year.

In April, Bernard Jenkin made 25 expenses claims, totaling £3,072.55. The data published says he did not make any expenses claims during May.

His largest claim during April was for £2,671.00 to pay for a PRU (Policy Research Unit) subscription, a scheme only open to Conservative MPs that lets them share researchers and save money as a result.

Most of his other claims were small claims to pay for travel costs within his own car. The lowest of these claims was for £0.32 to pay for a 0.7 mile journey within his own constituency.

All of Mr Jenkin’s claims were paid in full and none have had to be repaid to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.