First Prime Minister’s Questions turns into the ‘York MPs Show’

Asking away – Julian Sturdy and Rachael Maskell at PMQs
3 Jun 2015 @ 5.45 pm
| News, Politics

Not one but both York MPs starred in the first Prime Minister’s Questions of the new Parliament.

David Cameron was congratulated and condemned in turn by our parliamentarians at the lunchtime shouting match in the House of Commons on Wednesday (June 3).

First up was Julian Sturdy, the Conservative returned to his York Outer seat at the General Election last month.

Julian Sturdy asks his question

He began with a quick massage of his boss’s ego, saying: “Thanks to the Government’s careful financial stewardship York’s economy continues to grow with unemployment a fraction of what it was five years ago.”

Then came the question:

However, can the Prime Minister assure me that his offer of devolution will percolate right through the great county of Yorkshire, empowering rural communities and cities like York to deliver a Yorkshire Powerhouse that rivals Manchester or London?

In his reply Mr Cameron said people claiming unemployment benefit in York Outer “has come down by 74% since 2010”.

On the creation of the “Northern Powerhouse” the Prime Minister said:

We are making good progress with that but certainly yes we want to see more money, more resources, and more powers devolved to those cities, and if we take for instance the York, North Yorkshire, and East Riding Local Growth Deal, that is creating at least three thousand jobs, allowing 4,000 homes to be built.

Challenged on housing

Rachael Maskell asks her question

The last MP to be called in the first PMQs was the new member for York Central. Labour’s Rachael Maskell tackled the PM on housing, saying:

Under the right-to-buy plan, three social houses will need to be sold to generate enough revenue to build one new one, leaving 1,500 families in York without a home for well over two years.

Is that what the Prime Minister means by aspiration?

David Cameron began his reply by congratulating the York Central MP on her election victory.

He went on:

There are two things we are doing to provide these replacement houses. One is obviously that for every housing association that sells a home, it has that receipt and is able to build a new house. We are also making sure that councils sell off the most expensive council houses when they become vacant.

The verdict

Both our MPs gave their reaction to PMQs.

One was chuffed with their reply:

I am delighted that the Prime Minister recognises the strength of the Yorkshire economy and that we need greater powers to create more jobs and tackle the north-south divide head on.

However, it is essential that everyone in Yorkshire benefits from devolution, regardless of whether they live in a city or in the countryside.

– Julian Sturdy

The other not so much:

I am determined to ensure that we have adequate, high quality social  housing and reducing the number will not help the 1495 people on our waiting list.

York needs more housing, not less, and I will be speaking up for everyone in the city who needs somewhere to live.

– Rachael Maskell