Early Parliamentary General Election

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:14 pm on 19th April 2017.

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Photo of Mark Durkan Mark Durkan Social Democratic and Labour Party, Foyle 2:14 pm, 19th April 2017

As someone who believes that the Prime Minister has presented the case for this election on an entirely false premise, I, too, will be voting against the motion. I was not asking for an election last week or the week before; I was arguing that any move to an election in the near future would not help the negotiations in Northern Ireland. My mind has not changed, so why should I pretend that it has?

I will not be gamed or goaded into voting differently by the Prime Minister’s actions and stances. She has accused others in this Parliament of playing games. In essence, her argument is that she has no confidence in Parliament. We have this bizarre situation in which, after having a referendum about taking back control and parliamentary sovereignty, the Prime Minister has pronounced that she has no confidence in Parliament. She does not trust the Opposition parties, on which she confers all sorts of exaggerated powers to block and correct. Then, of course, she has her complaints about the House of Lords. If Tory Members are concerned about the House of Lords, they should move to abolish it or to introduce competent, coherent and democratic reform, but they should stop using it as a prop in this argument.

This is also a false premise because the Prime Minister is pretending that she needs an election now so that she has a strong hand in the short term, but we know that what she is really after is a free hand in the longer term. She wants wriggle room on the periods of adjustment, the transitional arrangements and other things on which too many of her colleagues have been too strident.