Early Parliamentary General Election

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:03 pm on 19th April 2017.

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Photo of Roger Godsiff Roger Godsiff Labour, Birmingham, Hall Green 2:03 pm, 19th April 2017

I, too, will be voting against the motion today, because it is totally unnecessary. I say that as somebody who voted leave on 23 June last year and who has had a grudging respect for how the Prime Minister has conducted herself since she took over. However, her justification for holding a general election is quite frankly disingenuous. To suggest that she needs a mandate to negotiate Brexit is ridiculous. She was given that mandate on 24 June by a majority of the British people, and it is now up to her to carry it out. If she wants to have another election or referendum at the end of the process, so be it, but as my hon. Friend Mr Winnick said, to justify it now is purely opportunistic.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister says that she needs a larger majority because the business of the House is likely to be disrupted by Opposition parties or by the House of Lords. She ought to look back to what happened when the Wilson Government were in power between 1964 and 1966. He had a majority of four. The Callaghan Government governed for five years in the 1970s without any majority. If she fears what could happen in the House of Lords, she should do exactly what Tories have done in the past and flood the place with her own people to ensure that she gets her way. There is no justification for her argument that she needs a larger majority in order to get business through the House.

To take the arrogant view that the electorate should concentrate purely and simply on one narrow issue is to treat the electorate with contempt. I can speak only for my constituents, but when they consider the issues, they will be asking questions. Why is every school in my constituency losing out under the new funding formula? Why is the city council having to make horrendous cuts? The Government have cut the support grant. Why are waiting times at local hospitals increasing? There are just not enough staff.