Foreign Affairs Committee

Part of Exiting the European Union (Agriculture) – in the House of Commons at 5:17 pm on 19th March 2019.

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Photo of Mike Gapes Mike Gapes Independent, Ilford South 5:17 pm, 19th March 2019

There have been times today when I thought I was listening to my own obituary, and it has been quite moving to hear some kind things said about me. But it is not about me, and it is not about my good friend Ian Austin either; it is about the way in which this Parliament works.

I have had the privilege and the honour to be a Member of Parliament for 27 years. For the vast majority of that time—19 years—I have been a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. I have also served on the Defence Committee, the Joint Committee on National Security Strategy briefly, the Liaison Committee and, for more than 10 years, the Committees on Arms Export Controls, formerly known as the Quad. I know that the only way that this Parliament’s Select Committees work and work effectively is if we produce unanimous reports. We get listened to and noticed only when we work on a cross-party basis and leave our party labels behind us. If we get a 9:2 split in a Committee, it is better that the two are from different parties and that the nine are from different parties, than if it goes the other way. That is how Parliament works, and it works effectively.