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European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:50 pm on 22nd October 2019.

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Labour, Tottenham 4:50 pm, 22nd October 2019

I am very grateful to have just a few moments to make a contribution to this important debate.

I think it has now been 1,216 days since the referendum, and it is clear that all of us in this House are weary and fatigued by, and some of us are certainly fed up with, the “Groundhog Day” of constant debate about this subject. In my constituency only the weekend before last, two men were knifed to within an inch of their lives. While we were sitting in the debate on Saturday, I saw an email from a constituent who was complaining that his 10-year-old son had just been mugged. I would so much prefer that we were talking about law and order and crime in our country. This morning, the GP practice that served me and my family growing up in Tottenham for most of my life was described as inadequate by the inspectorate. Again, I wish we were discussing health in this Chamber, not constantly returning to this issue.

As I reflect on where we are, and think about very good colleagues and friends on the Opposition Benches who are minded to vote for this Bill, I think of what connects constituencies such as mine and their constituencies in other parts of the country, and that is most certainly a degree of deprivation and poverty that our country should have escaped from by 2019 but is very real on our high streets when we look at the proliferation of betting shops and abandoned shops, when we visit our estates, and when we look at the prospects for too many of our young people.