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Written Statements

Thursday 11 September 2014

Cabinet Office

Statutory Register of Lobbyists

The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office (Mr Sam Gyimah): Part 1 of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014 provides for a statutory register of consultant lobbyists, which the Government are committed to introducing in good time before the end of the Parliament. The statutory register of consultant lobbyists will increase transparency by requiring those who lobby on behalf of a third party to disclose the names of their clients on a publicly available register.

Today the Cabinet Office is publishing a consultation document on the draft regulations which will provide for certain practical aspects of the register.

The consultation seeks views on draft regulations on: limitations on the duty to supply information to the registrar; the charging structure; the supply of VAT—registration information to the registrar by HMRC; and the detail of the information that lobbyists will be required to submit in information returns. The Cabinet Office is also seeking information from lobbyists that will allow the level of the charge in the draft regulation to be set at an appropriate level in the first year.

I have placed copies of the consultation document in the Libraries of both Houses and online at: http://www.gov. uk/government/consultations/statutory-register-of-consultant-lobbyists

Deputy Prime Minister

Recall of MPs Bill

The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Nick Clegg): Today the Government are introducing the Recall of MPs Bill to the House of Commons, with explanatory notes and an impact assessment.

The Bill puts in place a recall mechanism for MPs which is transparent, robust and fair. It strikes a fair balance between holding to account those who do not maintain certain standards of conduct, while giving MPs the freedom to do their job and make difficult decisions where necessary.

The Bill takes account of a number of helpful recommendations from the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee’s pre-legislative scrutiny report on the draft Bill which was published in 2011.

Under the Bill, there are two conditions for the opening of a recall petition; first, that an MP is convicted in the UK of an offence and receives a custodial sentence of 12 months or less; or secondly that the House of Commons orders the suspension of the MP for at least 21 sitting days—or at least 28 calendar days if the motion is not expressed in terms of sitting days.

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Where one of these triggers is met, an MP’s constituents will have an opportunity to sign a recall petition, calling for a by-election. If 10% of parliamentary electors in the constituency sign the petition, the MP’s seat will become vacant and a by-election will be held. The recall petition process does not prevent the unseated MP from standing in the by-election.

The Bill also sets out the framework for the regulation of campaign expenditure and donations at recall petitions.

A copy of the Bill and explanatory notes can be found on the website:


Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Open Water Market Ltd (Contingency Fund)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Dan Rogerson): The Water Act 2014 enables the introduction of retail competition for water and sewerage services for non-household customers in England. Open Water Market Ltd (OWML) has been formed to help enable delivery of this new market. It is anticipated that OWML will be designated a “public” entity.

New licence conditions have been agreed with the water companies to ensure OWML can raise sufficient income to fund its total operating costs in full from September 2014.

Parliamentary approval for additional resources of £2,919,950 for this new expenditure will be sought in a supplementary estimate for the water services regulation authority (Ofwat). Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £2,919,950 will be met by a repayable cash advance from the contingencies fund.


Rail Franchising (Southeastern)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Claire Perry): I can announce today the successful conclusion of negotiations for a new directly awarded franchise agreement with London and South Eastern Railway Ltd (LSER, trading as Southeastern), a subsidiary of Govia. This agreement will see LSER continue to run passenger rail services on the South Eastern franchise for three years and nine months until the start of the services on the next competed franchise, which is expected in the summer of 2018.

LSER will provide continuity of management and experience of the complexities of the routes during the major works at London Bridge, taking place as part of the Thameslink programme between January 2015 and January 2018, which will affect services throughout the franchise period.

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I recognise that LSER has not always met the expectations of passengers and so this agreement contains rigorous satisfaction and performance targets, with financial penalties if they are not met. I am determined that this contract will ensure an improvement for passengers on the franchise. To support this more customer-facing staff, including over 100 new staff members, will be provided across the network that will be able to provide advice and assistance for passengers at stations where their presence will be much appreciated.

This agreement sees over £70 million invested by the operator in increased and improved staffing and other improvements for passengers across the franchise. This

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includes £5.7 million spent on a deep cleaning programme and general improvement works at stations. LSER will increase passenger capacity on the franchise with 95,000 new seats introduced on services, including 1,050 on high-speed trains. They will also strengthen train services and improve performance and reliability through the reduction in splitting and joining of services.

This new contract includes improvements for passengers and better train performance at a reduced subsidy to Government. I am confident that this will secure the long-term value of the franchise and deliver real value for passengers and taxpayers.