From today’s debate in the House of Commons:
Mark Reckless (Rochester and Strood) (Con): We heard yesterday very little support for the Thames estuary airport proposition, but one proposal has been floated, with very little detail to it, by Lord Foster, which would cost at least £50 billion. He is looking to include a bridge, a barrage and various other things. Can my hon. Friend confirm that that is an absolutely preposterous proposal?
Jackie Doyle-Price: I am on record as describing that proposal as pie in the sky, and I have not seen anything to change that opinion.
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Mark Reckless would like to thank Muna Aden who has been gaining work experience in his Parliamentary office this week.
Speaking about her experience, Muna said:
My internship at Mark Reckless’s office at Westminster has been an invaluable experience. I enjoyed working in a building where the decisions made affect the rest of the country. I attended the Home Affairs Select Committee, which deals with the important issues such as forced marriages and current issues such as the response of the police at the August Riots. This allowed me to get first-hand experience of how the government deals with different things. The Justice Secretary, who was a witness at the Committee, addressed the possible changes to the UK sentencing laws.
This direct proactive experience has further enhanced my interest in law and in how it is made by Government. I attended Prime Minsters Questions, where I was able to see the debate from the public gallery situated between the Government and Opposition benches in the House of Commons. I was reminded on the first day of the importance of the location of my work experience placement when I passed the former Deputy Prime Minster, Lord Prescott, in the corridor and saw the Speaker of the House of Commons and Alice Cooper at lunch!
Mark hopes that Muna found the experience worthwhile and would like to wish her all the very best with her future studies.
Today I made a Dragon’s Den style pitch to the Backbench Business Committee, along with my colleague David Nuttall MP, Kelvin Hopkins MP for Labour, and Jim Shannon MP for the DUP, for the House of Commons to debate and vote on whether we should have a referendum on Europe.
We were backed by petitions signed by hundreds of thousands of voters. I am delighted to report that we were successful in our pitch and the Committee agreed that Parliament will debate and vote on our motion on Thursday 27th October.
The motion which we have proposed is:
“This House calls upon the Government to introduce a Bill in the next session of Parliament to provide for the holding of a national referendum on whether the United Kingdom
(a) should remain a member of the European Union;
(b) leave the European Union; or
(c) re-negotiate the terms of its membership in order to create a new relationship based on trade and co-operation.”
We have been made too many promises about Europe for too long by too many parties and too many governments. With the Euro-zone now the motor of European integration, it is time for Parliament to let the people decide. Do we want more of the same under the EU, or a Swiss style relationship, trading with Europe but governing ourselves.
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T1.  Mark Reckless (Rochester and Strood) (Con): If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Philip Hammond): Since I last answered Transport questions, the consultation on high-speed rail has closed. The Department has announced £155 million of investment from the first-round allocation of the local sustainable transport fund, concluded deals to put new carriages on key commuter rail routes, set out the next stages in the Department’s rail franchising programme and launched a consultation on proposals for new lane rental schemes to cut the number of rush-hour roadworks.
Mark Reckless: Many of my constituents who are not rich but were used as guinea pigs for RPI plus 3% by the last Government have no choice but to commute by coach, getting up at 5 or 6 am to get into London. Will Ministers welcome the statement by Southeastern yesterday that it will henceforth use the flex possibility to consider elasticities so that areas where people are not well off and where there is significant competition may see lower fare increases in future?
Mr Hammond: Absolutely. We are all in favour of competition. Train operators should note what is happening in the marketplace, and where coach operators are taking their business they should use the flexibility that they have to respond.