Early Parliamentary General Election

Part of Deferred Divisions – in the House of Commons at 8:56 pm on 4th September 2019.

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Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin Chair, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee 8:56 pm, 4th September 2019

I beg your pardon. The right hon. Gentleman says that accusingly, but I certainly did not vote for it. I remember walking through the No Lobby on Second Reading with remarkably few people, and I said to them, “Don’t worry. This House will rue the day that it passed this piece of legislation.” We should now be rueing the day, because that legislation has put this House in a position where it can endlessly wound a Government but avoid killing them.

If the Leader of the Opposition has so much contempt for how this Government are conducting their affairs, and this Government no longer have a majority, why does he not table a motion of no confidence? It is because there is fear in this House about facing the consequences of a general election because of how this House has conducted the whole Brexit affair for the past three years.

I asked how this will be resolved, and I can tell the House that putting it off again and again will not make the political outcome of the eventual general election any easier for a great many colleagues. The Prime Minister, in his inimitable style, is showing leadership and courage at last. He is trying to resolve this issue.

“Leave” and “remain” were the words on the ballot paper. There was no reference to deal or no deal, but the Prime Minister of the day made it quite clear that we would leave the European Union, and this House has conspired again and again to delay that happening.

People in the constituencies of Opposition Members, particularly in remain-voting constituencies, should ask themselves what mandate they have for putting off this decision again and again. It is democracy in our country that is paying the price, and it is the rise of far more extremist parties that will be the result if this House carries on putting off the decision.