[7th Allotted Day]

Part of Points of Order – in the House of Commons at 12:12 pm on 11th January 2019.

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Photo of Rupa Huq Rupa Huq Labour, Ealing Central and Acton 12:12 pm, 11th January 2019

I absolutely do. In fact, we must think of all the money that this is racking up—never mind the £39 billion just for the split.

We have seen the no-deal notices, one of them recommending that Britons should vary their diets to avoid bananas and tomatoes in future. There are 3,500 troops on standby. Our great nation has descended into a “Dad’s Army”-style farce. “Just getting on with it” is easier said done when all the “it” that we should be getting on with is so interconnected.

Last year, in the sixth-richest country on earth, we saw 600 deaths from homelessness, including one here on our very doorstep. We know from the UN report on extreme poverty that 14 million of our fellow citizens are in extreme poverty. The NHS is haemorrhaging EU staff. Hoarding insulin is now a thing—that never used to be the case. The Home Secretary has left now, but desperate people being washed up in dinghies on our shores underlines the need for international co-operation at a time when we are turning away from our neighbours. We have heard about the coarsened climate of “them and us”, not only “them” as the EU and “us” on this side, but in this debate—the leavers and the remainers.

As Layla Moran pointed out, Brexit has cost us dear from the public purse. We have two new Departments, Brexit planning across the entire civil service, and costly experiments creating a dress rehearsal with motorways in Kent. That is even before we get to the £39 billion that perplexes some Conservative Members. Every Government analysis shows that this will contract our economy by 9%. The best deal, obviously, is the one that we already have as existing members with a seat at the table rather than paying out to remain aligned. We know that what was promised was always improbable; now we know that those outlandish policies were undeliverable and the process was illegal.

As D-day looms, we need a plan B to break this logjam, impasse, gridlock, deadlock, cul de sac. We must have the meaningful vote that has been so hard resisted by the Government so as to reassert the sovereignty of Parliament. Thank you, Mr Speaker, for your role in changing the relations between the legislature and the Executive as you have done. We all thank you for that—although it was nothing to do with the Conservatives; they resisted every drop of it.

The last thing we need now is a blackmail Brexit with guns held to our heads. Increasingly, by the end of last year, good will, as well as time, was in decreasing supply. We have all this parliamentary game-playing when the functioning of our country, and people’s lives and livelihoods, is at stake. Given the magnitude of all this, it is time for calm action. We need a fresh assessment of the will of the people. It is 2019 now, not the middle of 2016, when circumstances were so different. Trump had not even been elected then, and it feels like he has been there for 50 years already.

We should extend article 50, given that there is only one deal on the table. As we have heard, “Nous n’allons pas renégocier le deal.” They have said it to us in every language. So that one deal has to be put to the people—to the electorate—for endorsement as to whether they think it is a good one. What are the Government scared of? We need a people’s vote with the option to remain, as we know what that looks like—to remain and reform, because we know it could be better. Now that is what I call taking back control.