Principles of Democracy and the Rights of the Electorate

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 4:23 pm on 26th September 2019.

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Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Labour, Dulwich and West Norwood 4:23 pm, 26th September 2019

To be absolutely clear, the reference to a surrender Bill—the language of “traitors”, the language of “surrender”, is the language of war, and that is being used by our Prime Minister, in an utterly irresponsible and reckless way.

As I was saying, the Government have done nothing to prove that they respect and take seriously the values and views of my constituents. We have a Government who have failed to provide assurance that communities will not face job losses, shortages of food and medicine, and lower environmental standards; and a Government who are prepared to put at risk peace in Northern Ireland, casting aside the Good Friday agreement.

Democracy is a process of governance, not a moment in time. In a context where the Government have failed to reach out, failed to engage and reassure, and failed to provide evidence and win the argument, the only option is to allow that process to continue—to hold another vote, not on the same proposition as the first, but on what we now know, to allow people to vote again on whether they have confidence that the Government have been able to negotiate a deal that can secure their future, protecting their jobs and security.

I say this again: my constituents are not remoaners; they are engaged citizens—internationalist and outward-looking in their views and values, worried about their families, their communities and their future, and this Government have ignored, denigrated and failed to reassure and convince them. They deserve better than this failing Government and our reckless, irresponsible Prime Minister. They deserve more democracy, not less. They deserve a people’s vote.