Parliament Sovereignty

In response to a recent campaign concerning Amendment 7 of the EU Withdrawal Bill, David said:

"The Government has announced that a new Bill will be introduced to implement the withdrawal agreement so that the deal that the UK reaches with the EU can be put directly into UK domestic law. This includes the agreement reached on citizens’ rights, any financial settlement and the implementation period.

This also means that Members of Parliament in the House of Commons and Members of the House of Lords will be able to debate, scrutinise and vote on the final agreement made with the EU. The commitment provided to both Houses of Parliament that they will have a meaningful vote on the final deal will not be affected. This will take place as soon as the deal is agreed and before the European Parliament votes on it. There can be no doubt that Parliament will have a full opportunity to have its say on the final agreement.

The Government has listened and will continue to listen to suggestions from Members of Parliament to improve the legislation relating to the UK’s exit from the EU. Legislators should work together to ensure that the UK can pursue a smooth and stable exit from the EU. This is in everyone’s interest."

More information about the campaign can be found here.

Voting Age

In response to the campaign on lowering the voting age, David said:

"There has been a rising level of interest in the issue following the Scottish Independence Referendum, however, most polls do show that a majority of adults oppose the change. In the 16-18 cohort, there is a modest majority of 16 year olds in favour, 17 year olds are evenly balanced, and 18 year olds are against.

In the UK, there is no single moment when someone moves from childhood to adulthood; instead responsibilities and permitted activities build up over time. For example, a person must be 17 before they can leave home without parents' consent or hold a license to drive and 18 before they can sit on a jury or buy alcohol. I think this illustrates that, so far, we have viewed attaining adulthood as a process rather than a single event.

It is notable that most democracies consider 18 the right age to enfranchise young people. So far in the EU, only Austria and Scotland have lowered the voting age to 16 for national elections.

 Of course, it is important that young people take part in politics, but there are more factors than voting age to take into account when considering how to increase youth involvement in politics. A 2009 report by the Youth Citizenship Commission stated that the voting age is not the principal factor in encouraging young people's interest and involvement in politics and citizenship."

More information about the campaign can be found here.

Committee Selection Rules

In response to the campaign on committee selection rules, David said:

"These motions have been designed to ensure that the Government's working majority is available right across Parliament, both on the floor of the House and in committees. Where there is an even number of members on a committee there will be equality with other parties. A committee with an odd number of members will see a majority of one. 

This is simply about ensuring that detailed legislation can be dealt with in committee, rather than the Commons at Report Stage having to reverse amendments made by an Opposition-controlled committee. When the Labour Government was faced with a similar situation in 1976 they passed a motion for a majority of one in Standing Committees. 

Parliament plays a vital constitutional role, scrutinising, and often enhancing legislation. However it is also important that the Government is provided with the opportunity to implement the legislative commitments made in the Queen's Speech and to ensure that we leave the European Union in an orderly fashion."

More information about the campaign can be found here.

DUP Confidence and Supply Agreement

In response to the campaign on the DUP confidence and supply agreement, David said:

"At this crucial time, the Prime Minister formed a Government in the national interest. With the most seats and most votes, only the Conservative Party has the ability and legitimacy to do that. The Conservative Party have had a strong relationship over many years with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and have finalised a confidence and supply deal. I know there are a number concerns with this approach that I want to address directly.

We are committed to re-establishing inclusive, devolved government in Northern Ireland. The approach and objectives as set out in the Conservative Party Northern Ireland manifesto remain unchanged, and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland continues to work to restore a Northern Ireland Executive as soon as possible.

Governing in the national interest means delivering a successful Brexit that works for the whole country. It means building on our economic record of more jobs, cutting the deficit and investing more in public services like the NHS. It means tackling the social issues we face in the country: issues like mental health, housing, and proper technical education for young people.

Matters of conscience like abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage are decided by free votes in parliament with no official Conservative Party position. MPs and Peers vote according to their own ethical and religious beliefs."

More information about the campaign can be found here.

Queen's Speech

In response to a campaign on the Queen's speech David said:

"The Queen’s Speech is about recognising and grasping the opportunities that lie ahead for the United Kingdom as we leave the EU. It is important to deliver the result of last year’s referendum and to make a success of Brexit. The British Parliament will therefore hold a two-year legislative session to ensure there is enough time for Members to fully consider the laws required to make Britain ready for Brexit.

This includes the Great Repeal Bill which, by converting existing EU law into UK statute, will enable the smoothest possible transition at the point of leaving.

The Prime Minister has been clear that we are leaving the European Union. In the recent general election, over 80 per cent of all votes cast were for parties that have accepted we have to respect the decision of the Referendum last June.

I am pleased that beyond Brexit there will be a number of measures to build a stronger economy so we can improve people’s living standards and fund the public services, such as our NHS and schools, on which we all depend.

The strong programme that Ministers have put together will tackle social inequality in this country and promote our economic prosperity. There will be a broad range of domestic initiatives including legislation on improving mental health, dealing with domestic violence and abuse, tackling extremism, supporting electric vehicles, commercial space flight, and strengthening the Union."

A full transcript of the Queen's speech can be found here.