Uk’S Withdrawal from the European Union

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:48 pm on 13th March 2019.

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Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Labour, Birmingham, Yardley 5:48 pm, 13th March 2019

This is the first time I have spoken in any of the Brexit debates, although I have a way of making my opinion well known to the public elsewhere. I am really sick of the way the Government have gone about this. They are now saying, “It is my way or the highway.” The highway is rocky and bad. They are asking hon. Members to walk down a road that has no surface, and we cannot see the end of it. They use the cover-all of saying, “We care about the national interest because we have got this really bad plan and you are not walking down it.”—as if we do not all care about the national interest.

Conservative Members do not own the national interest. It is not the same as nationalism. We all care about the national interest very deeply. I do not know how the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs could stand in front of us today and tell us how our food prices would go up, and how it would be awful for agriculture, and then not move every fibre of his being to end it.

Mr Duncan Smith talked about revoking, but let us be serious. If we cared less about being elected and more about the national interest, we would be having a deeply serious conversation about making this stop and talking about the things that people where I live talk about. Others have touched on the will of the people. We in this House are terrified of the people in this country. Why are we so terrified of them? People in this place say: “17.4 million think this because I think this and I am going to lay my opinion on to them”. We have nothing to be scared of because we have a responsibility to inspire people out there and to lead them somewhere. What has been missing from the very beginning of this horrid and torrid affair in British politics has been any semblance of the leadership and courage needed to take the country somewhere.

The reasons people voted leave are plentiful, and I will not pretend they all agree with me, but I am not scared of the people who voted leave in my area. I believe in parliamentary democracy, and if they do not like what I say, they can get rid of me. I am not frightened of that prospect. I only wish the Prime Minister had not been frightened of the people sitting behind her. She is certainly terrified of the people in the country. In the event of a no deal, people where I live will face not only the same levels of poverty and the same unstable jobs market, but much, much worse; they will be unable to afford food, which they can precious little afford now, and they will look up and say, “I thought there was going to be a golden era”, and then they will be angry. That is what people in here should be scared of. We should not be scared of the country.