UK’s Withdrawal from the European Union

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 4:28 pm on 14th March 2019.

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Photo of Janet Daby Janet Daby Labour, Lewisham East 4:28 pm, 14th March 2019

Since I became an MP, many people have asked me what it is like in this House at this time. I have always said to them that it is a very difficult and painful time in the House. There are not only Divisions in the Lobbies, but divisions within our own parties, in terms of our thoughts and feelings around Brexit, and our frustrations and energies. The disturbing feeling that we have is how it feels for the public. What plays out in here is often how the public feel, and vice versa. These are difficult and trying times, not only for us as a nation but for individuals, for our communities, for our constituencies and for our nation. It is a very difficult time.

The weight and seriousness of the decisions that we have to make mean that we cannot take them lightly. We need to show leadership and direction for our country, and we need to make the right and the best decisions. It is not good enough for us just to throw out our own—sometimes selfish—views and strong opinions, and to think only about ourselves and not the wider context. We must consider that point.

I agree that we should have voted down the deal in the meaningful vote, as we did the first time and the second time. But there is no point in bringing it back to the House a third and a fourth time. It would be a waste of time in this Chamber and it should not happen. We should be mapping a way forward, and the way forward is to extend article 50 and then consider how to progress. There is no other way.

In our conversations, we are failing to tackle some of the issues that we need to. People in our country are suffering and in grief because we are missing these matters—because we are not discussing them and decisions are not being made in this Chamber. These are real, tangible issues such as in-work poverty, the housing crisis, the climate change crisis and improving our education system. We need to be thinking about these things and so many others, including public services and tackling serious youth violence. It is not good enough just to invest in the police; it is a partnership, and we should be investing in partnerships to tackle this problem. I will therefore be supporting an extension to article 50 and I invite others to join me.