Published:

Maytheresa
Theresa May MP: "Following last evening’s vote to give away civil
liberties, there has been much speculation about what promises the
Prime Minister had to make to win. So that hon. Members might be better
informed before the debate on 24 June in the name of the Democratic
Unionist party, can we have a statement from the Northern Ireland
Secretary on the Government’s plans for expenditure in Northern
Ireland?"

Harriet Harman MP, Leader of the House: "The shadow Leader of the House
asked about yesterday’s debate and vote on the Counter-Terrorism Bill.
I say again that the Government’s concern is for the safety of people
in this country and for the protection of our civil liberties. The Bill
was scrutinised by the Select Committee, there was extensive debate in
the House, and now it goes to the Lords. I ask her to spare us her
crocodile tears over civil liberties: we introduced the Human Rights
Act 1998 against opposition from the Conservatives, who plan to abolish
it. That legislation is one of the most important defences of civil
liberties to have gone through the House in recent years."

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Simon Hughes MP, Liberal Democrat: "On the matters the Leader of the
House announced, will she—before the debate in the name of the
Democratic Unionist party—put in the Library a record of all the
meetings between Ministers and DUP Members since the Easter break, to
save us all having to spend lots of public money on freedom of
information exercises? We will then know exactly when the meetings
happened, with whom and on what subject."

Ms Harman: On the point about meetings between Ministers and others,
there are processes, by way of parliamentary questions, whereby
information can be elicited. Such questions should be answered promptly
and accurately, and a similar process applies with freedom of
information requests. There are processes for asking about meetings
that have taken place and what happened at them. The hon. Gentleman
knows that civil servants are not present at all meetings with
Ministers.

Mike Penning MP interjects: Why not?

Ms Harman: The hon. Member for North Southwark and Bermondsey (Simon
Hughes), like all Members, will have been in meetings with Ministers
where civil servants have not been present.

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