Foreign Affairs Committee

Part of Exiting the European Union (Agriculture) – in the House of Commons at 3:55 pm on 19th March 2019.

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Photo of Joan Ryan Joan Ryan Independent, Enfield North 3:55 pm, 19th March 2019

I thank the hon. Gentleman, the Chair of the Committee, for those remarks, which I think are well received and well deserved by my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford South. I take them as an endorsement of all that I am saying about the way in which he has served the Committee, the House and the country. I know that the Chair of the Committee and, for that matter, all its members do not want this to happen and have made that clear in their own way.

Membership of Select Committees is fundamentally a matter for the House of Commons. It should not become the subject of mean-spirited manoeuvres by party leaderships who do not brook dissent. Labour’s move is the latest indication of how its leadership is unable to handle criticism, alternative viewpoints or any dissenting voices—a very worrying development in a democratic Parliament. This Parliament works through the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Inter-Parliamentary Union to help other Parliaments around the world to learn from our examples and our experience to be good, democratic Parliaments, to strengthen democracy and to strengthen parliamentary democracy in particular. This move by the Leader of the Opposition absolutely cuts across and undermines all those aims, all of that mission and all that work.