Exiting the European Union: Meaningful Vote

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:59 pm on 11th December 2018.

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Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 2:59 pm, 11th December 2018

I am almost lost for words. The hon. Gentleman does not accept that the House voted for a meaningful vote, the Government introduced the timetable for it, yet the Prime Minister disrespected Parliament.

We have reached a critical point. It is crystal clear that the Prime Minister is focused on running down the clock. Rather than buying time, she wants to run out of time. Her strategy now seems to be to present a binary option—her deal or no deal. That is not the case before us. Let me be clear: the Prime Minister has options, but she will not take them. She has checked out of listening mode. Despite facing resounding defeat, she is burying her head in the sand. We cannot let her. We cannot stand for this treatment. The Government cannot be allowed to treat this place with contempt.

That is why I wrote to Jeremy Corbyn, alongside Plaid Cymru, Liberal Democrat and Green colleagues, to urge him to table a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister. I say respectfully to the right hon. Gentleman that he will have our support if he tables a vote of no confidence. It is time for this Prime Minister to go. This is a time not for floundering, but for leadership. The Prime Minister has shown nothing but contempt.

We need answers. When will the House get to vote on the deal? Yesterday, the Prime Minister offered no assurances on the timeline. If her plan is to run this to the wire, to take all other options off the table and rob Parliament of its say, she should be ashamed of herself.

Today’s Treasury Committee report expressed disappointment that the Government's analysis did not model the deal. It also affirms that UK firms have no sympathy for a Government too frightened to put their deal to a vote, despite the fact that UK firms lost 2% of their value yesterday with the pound’s fall. Business is losing faith. The Prime Minister has put us in an economically and constitutionally unsustainable position. The SNP will not stand by while the clock ticks down. We will not allow the Prime Minister a free hand to reduce our options to a binary choice. Parliament cannot allow that. We must now take back control. It is time for the Prime Minister to move aside and let Parliament lead or let the people decide.

I say respectfully to the Leader of the Opposition that we want to work with him. We have a choice to put this matter above party politics, bring it to an end and bring this shambolic Government to an end with a motion of no confidence.