Please find the text of Dr Hudson's speech below:
I welcome the measures in the Queen’s Speech to support policing, which will not only secure safer streets for all, but go more widely across the country to cover rural crime. In Cumbria, we have seen the re-election of our Conservative police and crime commissioner, Peter McCall. I pay tribute to Peter, to our chief constable, Michelle Skeer, and to all of Cumbria police for their efforts to keep us safe, especially with the added challenges of the pandemic.
I very much welcome the Government’s plans to tackle rural, wildlife and animal-related crime. The Government have announced measures in this speech to improve animal welfare, both here and globally. As a veterinary surgeon, that is something I welcome strongly. The action plan for animal welfare contains much-awaited measures to recognise animal sentience in law and plans to tackle puppy smuggling, pet theft, ear-cropping in dogs and livestock worrying.
The plans to end live exports of animals for fattening or slaughter are welcome, but in parallel, we need to help the farming sector to adapt. We need to bolster the local abattoir network to reduce travelling times and distances so that UK animals can be born, reared and slaughtered locally. By promoting high animal welfare standards here in the UK, and by using animal welfare chapters in our free trade deals, we can be a beacon for the rest of the world.
It would be an excellent use of some of our international aid budget to help farmers in the developing world to farm and rear animals more sustainably. On that note, I welcome the comments last week in the Chamber from my right hon. Friend the Chancellor that the UK economy will be on a stable footing in the coming months. Accordingly, I urge the Government to reinstate the UK’s commitment to 0.7% of GNI being spent on international aid as soon as possible.
The Queen’s Speech also contains welcome measures to protect and support our environment through the Environment Bill. I strongly support the Government’s plans to focus on improving mental health support and provision in our country, which has come into sharp relief in the pandemic.
In addition, I welcome plans to improve connectivity, not only physically with buses and trains, but virtually with improved broadband and mobile phone coverage. The measures on the lifetime skills guarantee and flexible access to education are to be applauded. I look forward to working with the Government for the learners of Cumbria.
Our Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee inquiry on land-based education raised serious questions over Askham Bryan’s planned exit from Newton Rigg and Cumbria. I reiterate our call for the Government to confirm whether Askham Bryan is within its legal rights to sell the college and its assets. If it is, we are asking the Government to ensure that it does the right thing so that we can secure a long-term future for education in Cumbria.
In conclusion, I welcome the proposals in the Queen’s Speech. They are progressive and ethical, and I look forward to working with Government.