Hansard bottles it… Here’s the draft transcript of today’s exchange in the Commons between Sharon Hodgson and Nick Herbert. The Police Minister does of course have the option of contacting Hansard if he’s been misquoted. That’s why we have a draft version published first.
Mrs Hodgson: As the Minister is no doubt aware, Northumbria police force, which covers my constituency, has recently confirmed that it is to make 450 civilian staff redundant immediately and it is imposing a recruitment freeze on all front-line posts, all because of the cuts made by the Home Secretary. Does the Minister think that those cuts to front-line policing will make my constituents safer?
Nick Herbert: I do not accept that those are cuts—
Hon. Members: What was that?*
Mr Speaker: Order. Opposition Members’ hearing is playing tricks with them. They did not hear what they thought they heard.
Nick Herbert: Mr Speaker, I am in very good company today.
The hon. Member for Washington and Sunderland West (Mrs Hodgson) said that these were cuts to police staff. In all, there are more than 6,000 members of staff in Northumbria police force, including police officers, and I repeat that our determination is to do everything we can to support forces in making savings to the back office, in order to protect the front line and the visible and available policing that the public value.
*This is Hansard speak for ‘Hon. members started howling’.