Repeal of the European Communities Act 1972

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:15 pm on 12th June 2018.

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Photo of Peter Grant Peter Grant Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 2:15 pm, 12th June 2018

The hon. Gentleman makes a valid point. It seems like the definition of an enemy of the people is not based on where they take the decisions but on whether the decision finds favour or disfavour with Her Majesty’s Government. That is not democracy, Mr Speaker. We are heading to dictatorship if someone’s integrity or patriotism is judged on whether or not they agree with the minority of people who sit on the Government Front Bench.

As I have said, and I shall come back to this later, I am not a fan of the House of Lords. I do not think that it is a democratic institution, but it is not the real threat to our democracy. The real threat to such democracy as we have in these islands does not come from people who disagree with what I say or with what the Government say but from those who use terms such as “traitor” or “enemy” to denounce anybody who holds or expresses a view that differs from their own.

This weekend, we will mark the second anniversary of the murder of one of our colleagues. Possibly the last words she heard in this life were “death to traitors”. Surely in the name of God we should know that, when we allow the language of hatred to become normalised, the actions of hatred will follow. Today, someone has pleaded guilty to planning to murder another of our colleagues. I say to colleagues on all sides that we can disagree passionately and fervently with each other, but please get the language of violence out of the vocabulary of this debate and of all debates, not just in the few days before we remember Jo’s sacrifice but every day thereafter, so that Jo and others did not die in vain.

As I have mentioned, the SNP are not fans of the House of Lords, but when the House of Lords has passed amendments to turn a bad Bill into a slightly less bad Bill, we will seek to retain those amendments. Let us be clear that, even with those amendments, this is still a bad thing. It will be damaging to all our interests, but if we can make it the least bad thing that we possibly can, we will have achieved something.