In an emotional Prime Minister’s Questions marking the end of the Cameron era, Robin Walker, Worcester’s MP was able to speak up for the city and thank the outgoing Prime Minister for all he had done for the country and for Worcester.
A week on from getting a question by chance, when he asked about trade and investment from around the world in the aftermath of the referendum, Robin was allocated the final Conservative question on the order paper for the Prime Minister’s final session.
David Cameron received tributes from all sides of the House including from Labour, SNP and Northern Irish MPs. He was told by Peter Lilley, one of the most experienced and longstanding MPs in the House of Commons that he was the most able performer at the dispatch box in his thirty year career and he was cheered on entering the House as well as given a standing ovation when he left.
Robin drew the comparison with the situation when the Prime Minister took office in Downing Street and he began work as Worcester’s MP, asking:
“Ten years ago today, I was applying to become the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Labour-held Worcester as my right hon. Friend was uniting the then Opposition and preparing them for government. Like many Conservative Members, I entered this House in the week when he became Prime Minister. Since that time, unemployment in Worcester has halved and apprenticeships have doubled. We have more good and outstanding schools, and these are beginning to receive fairer funding. Wages are up and taxes are down. May I thank my right hon. Friend for all his service to our nation and for the legacy of improved life chances that he will leave behind?”
The Prime Minister replied:
“I thank my hon. Friend for his kind remarks. We have seen unemployment fall in all these constituencies and the claimant count going down. More importantly, we now see 450,000 fewer children in households in which nobody works. Think of the effect of having a parent or a loved one in work helping to put food on the table and providing a role model for their children. That is really what this is all about, and I thank him for his kind remarks.”
Commenting, Robin said:
“It was an incredible privilege to be able to ask a question at such an historic moment and I wanted to ensure, amidst all the excitement of the recent leadership election and the buzz of PMQs that David Cameron’s years of service and achievements were remembered. I well remember arriving to see him when he was leader of the opposition and I was a newly minted candidate and the impressive figure that he cut as the person who was bringing together and uniting our party. He set out to reduce unemployment, improve life chances and increase opportunity and all of these he must be measured as a success. I have said before that I am sorry to see him go and I think in time the country will come to realise what a great leader we have lost.”
“I am excited about the opportunities to build on this legacy. Unemployment is low but I would like to see it lower still. Wages have risen over the last five years and particularly in the last two with the move to a national living wage but we have further to go. Taxes have been cut for the lowest paid but I would like to see more of this. Apprenticeships have increased but we need to support them more than ever. I am looking forward to working with Theresa May, a worthy successor to Mr Cameron in the years to come to ensure that this progress and prosperity for Worcester continues. In particular, having campaigned on school funding throughout my time as MP, I want to see the first steps we have taken followed up and more progress in the near future.”
Notes to Editors
For the transcript of Prime Ministers’ Questions on the 13th July see:
For the video see:
For Robin’s previous comments on employment and wage growth see:
For the doubling of apprenticeships see:
For Robin’s latest comments on his long running fairer funding campaign see:
For evidence of wage growth from the National Office of Statistics see:
|Gross Weekly Pay||Year||Worcester||Cumulative % change Worcester||West Midlands||Great Britain|
|Hourly Pay F/T workers||2010||11.59||11.57||12.54|
|Source: Nomis Constituency Profile for Worcester, Earnings by Workplace Time Series https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/lmp/wpca/1929380363/report.aspx?town=Worcester|
For Robin’s comments on rising wages and lower taxes see:
For Robin’s previous PMQs see:
DAVID CAMERON’S TOP ACHIEVEMENTS SINCE 2010
- The economy has been turned around with the deficit as a share of GDP cut by nearly two thirds;
- There are 2.5 million more people in work with the security of a pay packet;
- There are over 1.4 million more children in good or outstanding schools;
- We have introduced the new National Living Wage – giving people over 25 on low wages a pay rise – and we have lifted 4 million people, and rising, out of income tax altogether;
- Almost 2.9 million new apprenticeships have been created;
- We now have a welfare system that rewards hard work, with a cap so no family can earn more out of work, than the average family earns in work.
- We have protected the living standards of our elderly by delivering the triple lock on the basic state pension;
- Our corporate tax system will be the most attractive in the G20 by 2020, bringing jobs and investment into this country;
- The NHS has been protected in real terms;
- Crime is down by over a quarter;
- We are building a bigger and stronger society including through the National Citizen Service;
- We have introduced same-sex marriage;
- Infrastructure: we have the biggest road investment since the 1970s and the biggest rail investment since Victorian times;
- Over 700,000 new homes have been delivered since 2010;
- We delivered the 2012 London Olympics;
- We are keeping our promises to the poorest people in the world, and protecting our security, by maintaining our commitment to aid spending;
- Britain is stronger in the world again – we are meeting the NATO two per cent target for defence spending with new aircraft carriers, world-class equipment for our armed forces, and the military covenant enshrined in law.