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Exiting the European Union: Meaningful Vote

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:30 pm on 11th December 2018.

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Photo of Marsha de Cordova Marsha de Cordova Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Disabled People) 4:30 pm, 11th December 2018

I have had the honour and pleasure of serving Battersea for little more than 18 months, but it is clear to me, as it is to Members across the House, that the behaviour of this Government is unprecedented—unprecedented in their chaotic approach to managing Brexit, unprecedented in their contempt and disregard for Members of this House and the people we represent, unprecedented in their Ministers saying one thing and then going on to do another. At each stage of their handling of Brexit, the Government have attempted to avoid scrutiny and duck responsibility. They have tried to deny us a meaningful vote on the deal, they have tried to withhold legal advice, and they have tried to keep the economic impact assessments out of the public domain, and now the Prime Minister has pulled the meaningful vote just days after promising she would not do that, and just hours after her Government Ministers said she would not do it. It is a shameful record for any Government, but especially for this dysfunctional Government confronted with the magnitude of the political issue of Brexit.

I am angry not just because the Government are undermining parliamentary procedure, but because I know that my constituents are both angry and alarmed at what they see happening. I have received thousands of pieces of correspondence from constituents calling on me to reject the Prime Minister’s deal, and I have written back to each and every one of them saying I will vote against it; what do I tell them now? We are told that the vote will come before 21 January 2019, but that will only heighten fears of a no-deal scenario. My constituents need reassurance, but with this Government and this Prime Minister that is not something I can give.

My constituents need a Government who will not only sort out this Brexit mess but solve the other crises facing our country: the housing crisis, the crisis in social security, the crisis in our NHS.