Prime Minister's Questions

The most publicly-viewed, and least productive, part of the Parliamentarian's day when Ministers of the Crown are brought in front of the opposition and summarily raked over the coals. Of course, nothing is ever really asked and nothing is ever really answered, but it makes for good theatre.
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Re: Prime Minister's Questions

Post by Dominic Burrows »

Madam Speaker,

I made my position regarding motion 1 very clear at the time.
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Re: Prime Minister's Questions

Post by Will Croft »

Madam Speaker,

So then I would urge the Prime Minister to answer the question I put to her. Why does the Government she leads maintain confidence in the Member for Hartlepool's ability to oversee the Dome project?
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Re: Prime Minister's Questions

Post by Dominic Burrows »

Madam Speaker,

I have answered this question, he just doesn't like the answer that I have given. In none of the legislation that he has presented or supported would have prevented the member from Hartlepool's appointment to the New Millennium Experience - just because the leader of the opposition dislikes the member in question does not mean he is unsuitable for an appointment. However, It is rather ironic that the leader of the opposition continues to bang his anti-nepotism and anti-cronyism drum while he appoints the spouse of the Shadow Foreign Secretary to a senior appointment within his party. It's clearly a case of "do what he says, not what he does" for the Leader of the Opposition and the British people see right through him.
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Re: Prime Minister's Questions

Post by Will Croft »

Madam Speaker,

The Home Secretary has recently announced the Government's intention to end the practice of allowing private contractors to run some of the country's prisoners, a decision which will cost around £750 million. With violent crime on the rise, families become increasingly worried about pedophilia, and more and more taxpayer money being spent on expanding the size of the state, why does the Prime Minister feel comfortable spending hundreds of millions of pounds to renationalize prison services when that money is desperately needed elsewhere?
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Re: Prime Minister's Questions

Post by Dominic Burrows »

Madam Speaker,

The Home Secretary made it quite clear in his statement that the private prisons that had been in operation had not been cost effective. I take public spending incredibly seriously, Madam Speaker, and despite claims that private is always best this has not been the case with these prisons and the decision was made to revert the running of these prisons back into the public hands. Prisons are there to punish those convicted and provide rehabilitation for those who return to civil society - what prisons should not be are money making schemes where corporations can race to the bottom for their shareholder's benefit. So, yes, I am quite comfortable in ensuring that our prisons are well run, safe and effective. And, on the topic of spending I suggest the Leader of the Opposition pay close attention to the Chancellor during the budget debate so he can learn how an actual compassionate Labour Government actually invests in our public services instead of Conservatives who sell them off piece by piece.
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Re: Prime Minister's Questions

Post by Will Croft »

Madam Speaker,

So do I take that to mean that the Prime Minister is intent on U-turning on her Government's previous commit to support private industry? She has just said, before the House, that we Conservatives should be chastised for selling public industry, "piece by piece." Labour was first brought back to power in 1997, running on a manifesto that acknowledged that they were wrong to support re-nationalization of key industries. Now, according to the Prime Minster, and based on the actions of the Home Secretary, it seems that they have abandoned that key pledge in order to expand the size of the state and swallow up totally successful private companies. This is a shocking departure from previous Government policy, and a concerning indication that the radical MPs in the Social Campaign Group are exerting significant influence over the Prime Minister.

So I ask, Madam Speaker: what other industries does the Prime Minister intend to claw back into the hands of the state?
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Re: Prime Minister's Questions

Post by Dominic Burrows »

Once again, Madam Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition needs to listen to statements in this House. If he managed to tear himself away from the nearest camera he would be more than able to actually hear the words of Ministers instead of only hearing what he wants to hear. If he had listened to the Home Secretary's statement he would have heard that the prisons in question were not providing the long-term cost benefit required and that short-term cost savings had only been achieved by cutting standards and welfare provision for staff. That, Madam Speaker, is unacceptable that we had prisons where staff were not safe, where staff satisfaction was hitting rock bottom, and where healthcare services were being eroded away. The Conservatives may find that acceptable but I do not.

And, Madam Speaker, this Government is more than committed to supporting private industry - and I absolutely recognise the important part they play in our economy. But when private industry wants to get into the business of running public services they will be held to standards that the British people expect and they will be held accountable.
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Re: Prime Minister's Questions

Post by Will Croft »

Madam Speaker,

I listened carefully to what the Home Secretary said in his statement to the House, but it appears like the Prime Minister didn't. Let me remind her precisely what the Home Secretary said about the costs associated with private prisons:

To sum up so far, the argument in favor of privately managed prisons is their lower cost when it comes to providing services on overseeing prisoners.


The Home Secretary concedes, Madam Speaker, that there are indeed significant savings for the taxpayer when prisons are managed by private companies as opposed to run by the state. And let's be very clear: these aren't "short term" cost savings, Madam Speaker. The Government will have to spend nearly £800 million of taxpayer money to renationalize these prisons. That is a hefty sum, and is money that could be spent on treating the actual causes of crime rather than expanding the size of the state.

The Home Secretary argues that private prisons are incentivized to push for stronger sentences and greater deprivations of liberty. If that is the case, why doesn't the Government simply pass legislation to regulate their behavior, as successive governments have done for industries of all types, rather than subject the taxpayer to paying for this massive takeover of private firms?
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Re: Prime Minister's Questions

Post by Dominic Burrows »

Madam Speaker,

To attempt to characterise this as a takeover of private firms is a massive overreaction - overreactions we have, sadly, come to expect from the Leader of the Opposition. We are not taking over private firms, and I fully acknowledge the role that private firms play in our economy and I ecnourage them, but in this specific case we are taking the running of prisons back in house not taking over any firm. Private security firms will continue to exist, the Government is not buying any of them.
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