Business of the House

Part of Whorlton Hall – in the House of Commons at 11:03 am on 23rd May 2019.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield 11:03 am, 23rd May 2019

May I add my congratulations to Philippa, who is retiring? I have known her for all her career here. She is a wonderful woman because she can combine ruthless efficiency with being really kind, pleasant and supportive. That is a very interesting synthesis. I thank her for all her work and all the help she has given me.

I had an eerie feeling after the two Front Benchers had spoken, because the E-word was not mentioned. Here we are in this democratically elected House, but no one seemed to have the courage to mention that the European elections are taking place today. [Interruption.] In response to SNP Members, it was mentioned by their spokesman. Could we have an early debate on how we tackle the issue of democratic participation in this country? Even in a good year, the turn-out in European elections is poor. The turn-out in general elections is not that good. Some people argue for compulsory voting. It is a very important day today. People should go out and vote, because when they do not, good people do not get elected, and nasty and even nastier people do get elected. Let us have a good democratic vote today, and let us have a good discussion about how we increase participation in democracy.