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Theresa May leads questioning of Harriet Harman on deals with DUP

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."

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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