Prime Minister's Questions: 1 July 2020

01 July 2020

In PMQs this week, MPs asked the Prime Minister about pillar 2 testing information, victims of the Troubles, support for the arts sector and more.

Questions from the Leader of the Opposition

The Leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer, focused his questions on the Leicester lockdown, the track and trace system, and the furlough scheme.

Mr Starmer asked the Prime Minister:

  • Why the Government was "so slow to act" on imposing restrictions on Leicester. Mr Starmer said that the Government had known for 11 days that there were increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases in the area.
  • Why local authorities did not get pillar 2 test results, which are tests in the local community. They only had pillar 1 data, which consists of results for NHS staff, care workers and tests in hospitals. They were not given the pillar 2 information for a week. Mr Starmer asked for assurances that no local authority would be "put in that position" again.
  • If he regretted telling the MP for Hove to "show some guts" when the latter raised concerns about an influx of visitors coming to coastal towns. Days later, Bournemouth beach was closed and a major incident declared after 500,000 people arrived.
  • Why three quarters of people with Covid-19 are not being reached by the track and trace system.
  • How many jobs he thinks yesterday's announcement will protect, referring to the Prime Minister's economic recovery plans announced yesterday in which he said many of the jobs furloughed will not return.
  • If the Prime Minister will extend the furlough scheme for sectors such as hospitality and tourism, which are "still at risk". Mr Starmer said that the Prime Minister's announcement yesterday amounted to only £100 per person.

Questions from the Scottish National Party's Westminster Leader

The SNP's Westminster Leader, Ian Blackford, asked about the Prime Minister's economic recovery plans and benefit sanctions.

Mr Blackford asked the Prime Minister:

  • What the Barnett consequentials were for the Prime Minister's economic recovery strategy that was announced yesterday. Mr Blackford said there was "not a single penny" for Scotland and that the Prime Minister's spokesperson "laughed" when asked about funding.
  • If he will continue to freeze benefit sanctions. Sanctions had been frozen for three months but it was announced yesterday that they would begin again. Mr Blackford called this "heartless".

Full list of topics and questioners

  • Conservative MP Richard Graham (Gloucester) asked about funding for a proposed eco-park and cycle route in his constituency.
  • Conservative MP Andrew Bowie (West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine) asked reports that the Scottish Government may close its borders to visitors from the rest of the UK due to coronavirus.
  • Conservative MP Nickie Aiken (Cities of London and Westminster) asked about the reopening of West End theatres.
  • Alliance MP Stephen Farry (North Down) asked about getting clarity on checks at the Northern Ireland border before the end of the summer.
  • Conservative MP James Sunderland (Bracknell) asked about the effect of China's National Security Law on the people of Hong Kong.
  • SDLP MP Claire Hanna (Belfast South) asked about the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee's evidence sessions that showed victims of the Troubles disagree with the Government's Troubles legacy proposals.
  • Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine (Edinburgh West) asked universal basic income to offset the impact of Covid-19, particularly on BAME people and women.
  • Conservative MP Shaun Bailey (West Bromwich West) asked about investment in his constituency.
  • Conservative MP James Daly (Bury North) asked about support for the creative sectors in his constituency.
  • Labour MP Bambos Charalambous (Enfield, Southgate) asked about support for the Chicken Shed Theatre and financial support for the arts sector.
  • Conservative MP Dr Neil Hudson (Penrith and The Border) asked about the possibility of saving a further education college in his constituency from closure.
  • Labour MP Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth) asked about saving jobs after the furlough scheme ends.
  • Conservative MP Jason McCartney (Colne Valley) asked about replenishing Arts Council funds.
  • DUP MP Ian Paisley (North Antrim) asked about investment in hydrogen, particularly hydrogen buses.
  • Conservative MP Duncan Baker (North Norfolk) asked about fraud and corruption in local government procurement.
  • Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden) asked about a cross-party Bill that would give all children on free school meals access to free internet and devices.
  • Conservative MP Greg Smith (Buckingham) asked about extending the enterprise zone status and business rate relief period.
  • Labour MP Stephen Timms (East Ham) asked about raising legacy benefits to the level of the Universal Credit increase.
  • Conservative MP William Wragg (Hazel Grove) asked the  reopening of beauty salons.
  • SNP MP Allan Dorans (Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock) asked about reopening the criminal inquiry into the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher.
  • Conservative MP Scott Mann (North Cornwall) asked about respecting distancing guidance for visitors to Cornwall.
  • Labour MP John Spellar (Warley) asked about discrimination in the DBS criminal record check scheme.
  • Conservative MP Mark Harper (Forest of Dean) asked about ensuring bus services run to get children back to school in September.

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