Foreign Affairs Committee

Part of Exiting the European Union (Agriculture) – in the House of Commons at 5:04 pm on 19th March 2019.

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Photo of Siobhain McDonagh Siobhain McDonagh Labour, Mitcham and Morden 5:04 pm, 19th March 2019

I thank my right hon. Friend, who is my friend in this place in the true meaning of the word. One of the most shocking things is that attempts were going to be made to remove my hon. Friend Luciana Berger from the Health and Social Care Committee while she was on maternity leave. Those were attempts by the Labour party —the Labour party of Barbara Castle, of Mo Mowlam and of the late, great Tessa Jowell. The party that introduced statutory maternity leave was considering removing a Member from a Committee while she was on maternity leave. Is that not an indication of how much we have lost our values and sense of who we are?

Whether it is the Conservative party having to remove people because of Islamophobia or the Labour party having to remove people because of antisemitism, we all have to stand up in our parties to extremism and totalitarianism. I say that with regret, but I hope that Government Members do not believe that I do not mean them too—I do. They need to watch their constituencies and their membership. If we move away from where the quiet, moderate majority lie, they will become disaffected with our politics.

Membership of the Foreign Affairs Committee is a small, arcane matter for this House, but it exemplifies the problems that all parties are experiencing. However uncomfortable it is and whether or not it means that some people on our side of the House will choose not to speak to us after this debate, we have to stand up, because for evil to triumph, it only needs the majority of us to say nothing.