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The European Union is making concessions on tariffs and subsidies, and the American Government are also making concessions on subsidies. It is important that the whole world should see that changes are also being made in the industrialising and emerging-market countries of the world. That formed part of my discussions with President Lula. A deal is available. Obviously, Europe and America have to contribute to it; so, too, do all the other parts of the world, which have to make it possible for trade to be opened up, not just in agriculture but in manufacturing goods and services. I believe that in the next few days we will see whether that deal is possible. We will do everything to make it happen.
Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock) (Lab): Is the Prime Minister aware that at the very moment when he was meeting the President of Russia for his welcome but delicate discussions to rebuild bilateral relations, without making concessions, MI5 officers were scurrying around London, talking and spinning to the media to do everything to undermine the Prime Ministers initiative? Is he not aware that things are out of control as regards our security and intelligence services, particularly MI5? The situation is worse than that during the Wilson period. There is no parliamentary oversight of the services conduct, whom they speak to and where they meet them. It is time that some control was brought by this place on their conduct, which ultimately undermines his policies and initiatives.
The Prime Minister: I do not agree with what my hon. Friend says, but he will be pleased to know that, as part of the opening up of the debate about our security services, there will next week be a debate on those very issues of our security. That has been made possible by the Government. We are making changes in the Intelligence and Security Committee so that it is more responsible to the House of Commons. My hon. Friend will have the chance to debate and examine the national security strategy that is put forward. There is more transparency than ever before in how we can examine and scrutinise the working of our security services.
Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP): Although I welcome the new extra package of aid for Africa in what seems a renewed commitment on the Gleneagles agreement, I remind the Prime Minister that less than 20 per cent. of what was agreed in Perthshire has made its way through. How will we catch up, given that only two years are left in the Gleneagles arrangement, and when can Africa expect the money?
The Prime Minister: Ten million more children will receive education as a result of a decision made only this week. That means that since 2000, when we set the millennium development goal, 44 million children will have received education and another 10 million will in the next year. That is us making progress towards meeting the goals set at Gleneagles. Take the provision of malaria nets: 100 million malaria nets have been promised, and they will save tens of thousands of lives as a result of our decision.
Take health as a whole. I was asked by the Leader of the Opposition, and probably did not reply in detail, about the issue of HIV/AIDS. The very fact that we
have agreed a timetable for $60 million to be spent over five years means that money will go directly this year, next year and the year after to HIV/AIDS and the alleviation of other diseasesfrom polio, to tuberculosis, to pneumococcus and other diseases that need to be treated. We are trying to turn promises at Gleneagles that were made sometimes more generally, without being time-specific, into concrete actions. I must say that that is possible only because we are part of a United Kingdom that has weight around the world in pushing the proposals and getting agreement from the big nations. It could not happen under the Scottish National party.
John Battle (Leeds, West) (Lab): My right hon. Friend has long championed the millennium development goals as a means of tackling poverty internationally. As a result, our country is recognised as a world leader on committing aid. I congratulate him on persuading other European leaders to do their bit to honour their Gleneagles commitments. I ask him to ensure that the millennium development goals are not jettisoned as we try to tackle the current fuel and food crisis. What we need nowperhaps more than everis the longer-term strategic thinking that he has spelled out this morning.
The Prime Minister: I am grateful to my right hon. Friend, who was taking a huge interest in these matters long before he was a Member of Parliament and who has taken the same interest for all the time that he has been one. I congratulate him on the proposals that he has put forward to us over time on meeting the millennium development targets.
My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. The easiest thing in the world at the moment would be for countries faced with their own economic difficulties to cut the aid and support that they give the poorest countries, but that would be short-sighted and the wrong decision to take. Why? Because there is not only a moral obligation on our part to honour the commitments that we have made, but we will not solve our problems over food, energy, climate change and economic development unless we can involve the poorest countriesthe developing countries and the emerging markets. That is why it is right to give $10 billion to support agriculture in Africa. That is why it is right also to give $100 billion in public-private money to fund energy-intensive and energy-efficient developments in the poorest countries. That is why it is also right that $60 billion is committed over five years to make sure that the health commitments that we have made are properly honoured. I will continue to argue that this is the time for us to build a stronger relationship with the developing countries, not to weaken our commitments to them.
Sir Peter Tapsell (Louth and Horncastle) (Con): Bearing in mind the fact that Japan has already banned the futures market in rice and that India has banned the export of rice, did the Prime Minister make any suggestions to other members of the G8 about steps that could be taken to curb the speculative manipulation of world food markets in ways that could threaten the social stability of many of the poorest countries?
The Prime Minister:
The hon. Gentleman makes a very important point about the operation of markets in food. The fact is that 26 countries have placed bans on exports of food. Therefore they are making it impossible
for other countries that may be able to and should have access to food to deal with famine to have that support. I think that the hon. Gentleman would agree that only 7 per cent. of rice is traded internationally. The biggest problem is not speculation, but production. It is important to recognise that we must get countries in different parts of the world that have either cut back production of these basic staples or are simply producing for themselves, to think of themselves as exporters for the future. That is why it is important to stimulate what some people call the green revolution a second timebut this time not only in Asia, but right across the world.
Tony Lloyd (Manchester, Central) (Lab): My right hon. Friend referred to his discussion with President Medvedev about Iran. Was he able to impress on the Russian President that Russias interest in making sure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons is just as big as everybody elses? Was my right hon. Friend able to get a commitment from President Medvedev that Russia would use its undoubted influence with Iran, which we need it to apply, to make sure that Iran does not take the road to nuclear weapons and that Russia will play its part in bringing Iran to the table?
The Prime Minister: I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who is an expert on this issue, as he is on many foreign policy issues. He knows that an offer has been made to Iran that it abandons its nuclear weapon ambitions and is instead given the guarantee of civil nuclear power. He also knows that that is part of an international offer that Russia is very much at the centre of and supports. Our discussions at the G8 on Iran included Russia promising that it would stick with us in this effort. First, we must try to get Iran to agree to the new offer that has been made, and then, if Iran is not prepared to take up that offer, we will have to consider further sanctions, I hope with Russian support.
Russia has made the offer that we have also made, and which has now come from the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia as well, that there should be a uranium enrichment bank that is held outside the countries that would benefit from itthat is, the nuclear powers making uranium available on terms that would mean that there was security of supply. Iran could be one of the first countries to benefit from that. That is very much a real proposal that is gaining ground throughout the world. I hope that as part of our discussions with Iran and other countries, the idea of an internationally recognised and validated uranium bond or bank can help us to solve these very difficult problems about avoiding nuclear proliferation.
Alistair Burt (North-East Bedfordshire) (Con): May I reinforce the sentiment not only in this House but among many of our constituents about the need to see an urgent end to the Doha round? World conditions are making that even more imperative. If the ministerial meeting on 21 July is not a success, what is the Governments fall-back position? Does it include considering whether the EU might take unilateral action to reduce its trade barriers in order to break the deadlock?
The Prime Minister:
The hon. Gentleman is right that the EU can do things; it has already offered unilaterally to remove many of its restrictions on trade with Africa. As he will agree, the importance of a world trade
agreement is that every continent of the world is involvedthat is the prize. It would not be enough for the EU to take action and for America not to reduce its agricultural subsidies, and it would certainly be of no great benefit to the poorest countries of the world if some of the major continents were not involved. He is absolutely right that we must move forward with an attempt to get an agreement on 21 July. I believe that the director general of the World Trade Organisation is about to produce additional proposals for that. We will give him the support that we can in getting an agreement.
As I say, not only Europe and America but the developing countries and emerging markets must play a part in making this deal possible. I talked to President Lula, Prime Minister Singh and President Mbeki, all of whom have a major part to play in making this possible. I am convinced that these major world leaders want this deal to happen; we must now get through the remaining difficulties that have been the bottleneck to negotiations succeeding over the past year. I think that that is possible, and all our efforts over the next few days will be towards making it possible.
Kate Hoey (Vauxhall) (Lab): The Prime Minister should know that all of us in Parliament and outside Parliament who have campaigned on Zimbabwe for many years know that the seismic change in international attitudes to Zimbabwe, particularly the unanimous decision that it is an illegitimate regime, would not have happened without the personal dedication and commitment that he has given, not only at the G8 but over the past six months or so. I think that all Zimbabweans in this country will want to thank him. Does he agree that it would be absolutely shocking if something happened that allowed Mugabe still to attend the Beijing Olympics?
The Prime Minister: I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who has taken a long-term interest in the difficulties that are faced by all races in Zimbabwe as a result of the actions of the Mugabe regime. We are determined to move forward with sanctions, and it is very important that we get the support of the rest of the international community. I want to persuade other countries that this is now the right thing to do, and all our efforts in New York are about achieving that end. We must remember that this is a very important change, with an international envoy, international sanctions and an international arms embargo, and we are negotiating the details today and tomorrow.
Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): I wholeheartedly welcome the Prime Ministers statement, in the context of energy security and climate change, that the challenge cannot be resolved by one country or group of countries acting alone. Does that mean that having abandoned unilateralism in defence he is now abandoning unilateralism in climate change, and that the Climate Change Bill will be amended so that it spells out what we are prepared to do, which, according to the Bills own cost assessment, involves a programme of more than £200 billion, but that that is not unilaterally binding on this country and becomes legally binding only if sufficient other countries sign up to similar commitments?
The Prime Minister:
I agree with the right hon. Gentleman: this is an international problem that requires an international solution. We are 1 per cent. of the worlds population, and we need other countries to
work with us, not only the G8 countries but the whole of the rest of the world. I see a determination on the part of developing countries and emerging markets also to be part of a new agreement at Copenhagen, and I hope that we can work to achieve that.
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will also acknowledge that we need to make decisions in this country so that we can play our part in reducing our dependence on oil. That requires us to make a decision on nuclear power, which I hope all the Opposition parties will now support. It also requires us to make difficult decisions on wind power, on which we have not previously had the wholehearted support of Opposition parties. If we are to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, we will need to expand both nuclear power and renewables, and I hope that we can still build a consensus in this country on the need to do that.
Colin Challen (Morley and Rothwell) (Lab): In contrast to the backward, little England approach to climate change that we have just heard, may I urge my right hon. Friend to embrace the ideas that have been endorsed by President Sarkozy, Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Singh, and more lately by Lord Stern and Professor Ross Garnaut, who is advising the Australian Prime Ministernamely, that we should converge our carbon emissions on a per capita basis, which would provide us with the metric that we can use as a base mark to measure our concrete commitments?
The Prime Minister: Those are all issues that are part of the negotiations. I know that my hon. Friend is an expert on these matters and was part of a study that the Commonwealth undertook into these issues, and I look forward to hearing what he has to say further on that. The fact is that we have an opportunity over the next few months to get a worldwide agreement on cutting carbon emissions by at least 50 per cent.it could be higher than that for the European Union and the United Kingdom. We have the chance to get an interim target, and I believe that we also have the chance to get the developing countries and emerging markets to accept commitments that are binding for the future. That must be the primary goal, and I believe that we can get agreement around the kind of discussion that we had yesterday in Japan.
Mr. Andrew Mackay (Bracknell) (Con): Returning to the Prime Ministers G8 discussions on measures that will help people to cope in the current economic climate, will he now answer a question posed earlier by the Leader of the Opposition and do so by apologising to the House for stating very clearly at Question Time on 4 June that the majority of motorists would benefit from the road tax proposals, particularly bearing in mind his own Treasurys figures, which have just been published?
The Prime Minister:
I have spoken to the House on this matter on a number of occasions. I have made it absolutely clear, first, that our policy on tackling pollution
used to have the support of the Opposition parties, and secondly, that our policy is fair to people who have the least polluting cars as well as trying to take action against polluting. When I made the comments that I did on 4 June, the Leader of the Opposition said:
He says that next year, half of all motorists will be better off or no worse off; that is what he has just said.[ Official Report, 4 June 2008; Vol. 476, c. 765.]
Mr. Elliot Morley (Scunthorpe) (Lab): I congratulate the Prime Minister on the real progress that has been made on climate change, although there are clearly details to be decided between now and the UN summit in Copenhagen in 2009. He will have seen the outcome of the GLOBE International legislators conference in Tokyo, which was presented directly to the Japanese Prime Minister and involved the participation of Members on both sides of this House in a very valuable way. Two of the contributions at that forum came from Barack Obama and John McCain, who gave very strong support to real changes in the American position on climate change. Has that position been noted by the leaders of the G8 plus 5, and has it had an influence on them?
The Prime Minister: The G8 itself has said that we look forward to a situation where there can be, under an international agreement, a 50 per cent. cut in carbon emissions by 2050. Equally, we note that John McCain has made a commitment that is similar, and indeed goes beyond that, as has Barack Obama. We look forward to next years Copenhagen negotiations knowing that there is a growing degree of support for an international agreement that will contain a very big cut in carbon emissions but also support for developing countries and emerging markets so that they too can play their part in reducing carbon emissions in the longer term.
Mr. David Heathcoat-Amory (Wells) (Con): Further to the Prime Ministers comments about the importance of the Doha trade round, does he recognise that the protectionist tendency still runs strongly in France and other European countries? That conflicts with and compromises the British position, which is agreed by Members of all parties, for open trade and the reduction of trade barriers for the benefit of the poorest countries. Will he ensure, therefore, that the British Government are represented directly, at a high ministerial level, in future Doha trade negotiations, and that we offer to participate in liberal trading measures with poorer countries regardless of the attitude of protectionist countries in Europe?
The Prime Minister: We do that already, but as I have said before, the key thing is to get a world trade deal. It is to everybodys advantage, particularly those in developing countries, that there are not just bilateral agreements, but that everyone plays their part in making world trade move more freely. I referred to the comments of the President of France a few minutes ago. He urged people to move from their protectionist sentiments, and he called on Argentina and Brazil to make possible a world trade deal. There is a common European position, which is being put at the ministerial gathering on 21 July.
Tuesday 15 JulyConsideration of Lords amendments to the National Insurance Contributions Bill, followed by consideration of Lords amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill, followed by a motion to approve the draft Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) (No.2) Order 2008.
Wednesday 16 JulyOpposition day [18th allotted day]. There will be a debate on fuel duty followed by a debate on trade unions and the Warwick agreement. Both debates will arise on an Opposition motion followed by, if necessary, consideration of Lords amendments.
Thursday 17 JulyMotion to approve a statutory instrument relating to freedom of information. The House will be asked to approve resolutions relating to the Intelligence and Security Committee, followed by a general debate on the Intelligence and Security Committee annual report 2006-07.
Tuesday 22 July Proceedings will start at 11.30 am. Motion on the summer recess Adjournment, followed by consideration of Lords amendments to the Crossrail Bill. The House will not adjourn until the Speaker has signified Royal Assent.
I note that the right hon. and learned Lady has just announced that the business for next Monday has been changed. Last week, in business questions, she announced that next Mondays business would be the remaining stages of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. We first learnt of a change to next Mondays business at 11.25 this morning. On 12 May, the Bill was described by the Health Secretary on Second Reading, in Hansard at column 1065, as a flagship Government Bill. It will now not be debated in this House until October. Can we have an explanation from the right hon. and learned Lady as to why that Bill was pulled from next weeks business at the last possible moment, and will she give an absolute commitment that the decision had nothing whatsoever to do with the forthcoming Glasgow, East by-election?
During Prime Ministers questions yesterday, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Hague) offered the Leader of the House cross-party support to enable the Government to pass legislation to raise deposit protection levels from £35,000 to £50,000 before the recess. She said that she would consult her colleagues on that matter. Are the Government now willing to introduce that legislation before the recess?
As Leader of the House, the right hon. and learned Lady has a responsibility to ensure that Ministers give correct information in this House. Last month, when desperately trying to defend his changes to vehicle excise duty, the Prime Minister claimed that
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