Mr Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities.
The Secretary of State for International Development (Justine Greening): In the week of international women’s day, I offer warm congratulations to my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Mr Cash), whose International Development (Gender Equality) Bill completed its progress through Parliament yesterday. The Government have been proud to support that Bill. Since the last session of International Development questions I have set out a new approach to economic development in a keynote speech at the London stock exchange. Yesterday, in a speech hosted by Plan UK I set out the UK’s determination to play our role in tackling early and forced marriage, alongside female genital mutilation. [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker: Order. It must be quite difficult for right hon. and hon. Members to hear the Secretary of State, and it is discourteous. Let us have some hush for the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr Lilley).
Mr Lilley: Will my right hon. Friend tell the House what she is doing to ensure that economic partnership agreements prioritise development, and that if developing countries do not meet the EU deadline of October this year, they will not lose preferential access to the EU market?
Justine Greening: I assure my right hon. Friend that we are working extremely hard to make sure that we achieve as much progress as possible on the EPAs before the deadline he mentions. We have been influencing stakeholders on both sides of the negotiation. He will be aware that some progress has been made in parts of Africa, but there is a long way to go. He is right that it is critical to get this work successfully concluded.