Parliament

Business of the House

Published date : 06 July, 2023
I thank the Leader for giving us the business and, again, endorse the remarks that the shadow Leader has made about standards. I wish to add my own remarks about the 35th anniversary of the Piper Alpha tragedy. I am sure our thoughts are very much with all those who continue to be affected by the tragic events that took place 35 years ago to this day.

I also wish to say how pleased I am that the Leader of the House enjoyed her visit to St Giles’ Cathedral yesterday for the service of thanksgiving. I hope she did not suffer from a bout of sword envy when she saw Dame Katherine Grainger carrying out that duty yesterday.

This week sees the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the NHS, the inspiration for which came from the experience of the Highlands and Islands Medical Service, established in 1913. I add my own words of thanks for the contribution NHS staff, past, present and future, have made and will make to our collective health and wellbeing as a nation.

Last week, I asked the Leader of the House to make time for debates on why six police forces in England continue to remain in special measures and on why NHS staff sickness in England has hit a record high. There are, alas, no signs of any debates forthcoming on those issues. Can I add to that list a request for a debate on why 28 NHS trusts and integrated care boards across England are in similar special measures, so we can find out what the Government intend to do about that?

This week, members of the Orkney Islands Council agreed that they should explore options for alternative models of governance, including exploring their Nordic connections. There have been some suggestions that they might wish to rejoin Norway and exploit those historical links. It is easy for Members on the SNP Benches to see the attractions of being part of a small, prosperous, energy-rich, independent country of 5.5 million people, so the only question is the constitutional means by which that could be given effect, if a part of the UK wished to leave. Asking for approximately 5.5 million friends, could we have a debate on how that might happen please?

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