Yesterday, working in my emergency department as a doctor, I looked around the waiting room and saw it all on display: people’s pain, their hopes, their fears, their courage. Whether it is a mother relying on food banks to feed her malnourished children or a father waiting too long for a cancer chemotherapy operation, this deal does nothing to improve lives. Just as the NHS is tasked with healing and prevention, so we are too in this House. Politicians and commentators continue to fuel the rhetoric and fan the flames of hatred. Parliament, once the symbol of hard-won rights through democratic discourse, is seeing voices forcefully suppressed by fear and intimidation. People are questioning the very character of our culture in order to tear apart the fabric of our society.
This deal, the language around it and the empty threats used to force us into supporting it are doing nothing to rebuild Britain. We can start the journey to rebuild Britain by looking at the rising use of food banks, the number of operations cancelled and the number of police on our streets. Now, more than ever in this place, we need to take a long hard look at ourselves and ask who we are. British people are tired of rhetoric, political games and uncertainty. In the absence of a Government who can lead—this Tory Government—it is imperative that the House set an agenda for repairing the deep wounds in our society. We need to dig deep in the coming days and ask what sort of leaders we want to be and how we are to heal our country once all is said and done.