Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:54 pm on 27th March 2019.

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Photo of Wes Streeting Wes Streeting Labour, Ilford North 2:54 pm, 27th March 2019

I wholeheartedly agree.

With the limited time I have, I wish to say something about the trust that the public have in us as Members of Parliament and in the House of Commons. It is difficult, particularly when the country voted one way and some of us, myself included, voted a different way. It has been a difficult process trying to navigate our way through something that is completely unprecedented in the history of our country—trying to remove ourselves from the most sophisticated political and economic alliance the world has ever seen. It took seven years to organise a two-week sporting event, the London Olympics; it is not necessarily surprising that it has taken more than two years for us to try to negotiate our way out of the European Union.

What is completely unforgivable is the way the Government have botched the negotiations at every turn and failed to try to achieve consensus. At every single stage, when amendments have been tabled, whether on the single market or the customs union, or on different negotiating priorities and different principles, the Prime Minister has said, “It’s my way or the highway.” That is why we are in the bind we are in now. Whatever our particular views on the referendum, we all have a responsibility to try to break the deadlock, which is what the right hon. Member for West Dorset is trying to achieve—to test the will of the House to see whether there is some way to achieve consensus and to try to find a way through this damaging and unprecedented period of our history. That is the responsibility that now rests on our shoulders. All of us, when we go through the Division Lobby imminently, have a responsibility to show our country that Parliament is taking control of the process, and that we are determined, as Members of Parliament, to act in the interests of our constituencies and our countries at every point.

Whether we voted leave or remain, and whichever options we choose to vote for, we do so for one reason and one reason alone: the furtherance of our national interest—defending the jobs, livelihoods, hopes and prospects of the people who send us here. Whatever our differences, I think that this House is full of people with honour and integrity. We have the opportunity in the coming days and weeks to show that to be true.

The Speaker put forthwith the Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Resolution, 25 March).

The House proceeded to a Division.