Early Parliamentary General Election (No. 2)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:40 pm on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrats, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Leader of the Liberal Democrats 11:40 pm, 9th September 2019

It is a delight to follow Sir Alan Duncan, who made a thoughtful contribution to this debate in this important time for Parliament, by stark contrast to the beginning of this debate, which I am afraid was not a very edifying spectacle for our constituents who are watching this, many of whom are worried about what is happening in our country right now. The braying, the bluster—Britain deserves better.

I commend Amber Rudd for the brave decision that she took at the weekend. We are in exceptional times, and in the face of a Prime Minister who is prepared not only to shut out of his party more than 20 individuals who have given it great service, but to shut down Parliament, potentially to flout the rule of law and to inflict on the British public the consequences of no deal as outlined in the Yellowhammer report, I think it is time that others in the Conservative party examine their consciences about what they can do and the role that they are playing in all this.

In his speech, the Prime Minister goaded those of us on the Opposition Benches who disagree with his dash for an election and said that it is because we are afraid that he will win. Well, I say to the Prime Minister that people in this country are afraid. They are afraid of a no-deal Brexit: a no-deal Brexit that—according to his own Government’s analysis, which he is trying to keep secret even in the face of this House voting for it to be published—will mean shortages of fresh food, rising prices, delays and disruption to fuel supplies in the south-east, and severe, extended delays for medical supplies. So it is no wonder that people are afraid, and the Prime Minister should treat this matter with more seriousness.