Tag Archives: house of commons

Kenneth Clarke’s speech in the Article 50 debate

Today, MPs began debating amendments to the Government’s White Paper entitled “The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union” in the Committee stage. We publish this speech from Kenneth Clarke (from last week’s Article 50 Commons debate) in the hope of putting some “backbone” (Alistair Campbell‘s word) into MPs as they contemplate a national cordless bungee jump into a dark abyss.

We don’t normally publish speeches by Conservatives, but this one has a particularly good section about Alice in Wonderland, and an excellent ending, referring to Burke:

I am very fortunate to be called this early. I apologise to my right hon. Friend—my old friend—but 93 other Members are still waiting to be called, so if he will forgive me, I will not give way.

Posted in Speeches | Also tagged , and | 38 Comments

Tom Brake’s speech in the Article 50 debate

The final Liberal Democrat contribution in the Article 50 debate came from Tom Brake. We have published all the others as it is important for us all to be aware of what our MPs did and said on this most momentous of decisions.

I hope that I am wrong, but I believe that the decision that the country took on 23 June will result in the biggest self-inflicted wound since our disastrous intervention in Iraq. That wound is festering and it will leave the UK permanently economically weaker, even after it has healed. I believe that, when Members of Parliament believe that a course of action is going to be a catastrophe, they have a duty to harry, assail and oppose the Government, not to acquiesce.

I respect those who voted to leave. They had, and have, genuine grievances about a lack of jobs or education prospects, and concerns about the changes they see in our society, including concerns about immigration. The Brexiteers claimed that leaving the EU would address those concerns by stopping the cancellation of urgent hospital operations—paid for, presumably, by the tsunami of cash that was going to come to the NHS post-Brexit—improving teacher shortages in our schools and boosting housing supply. It will not do any of those things. In fact, it will make them worse. I doubt that even the leave campaign’s most prominent pledge, to reduce immigration substantially, will be achieved. Why would it be? After all, the Prime Minister has spent many years seeking to reduce the level of non-EU immigration, and nothing changed there.

What leaving the EU will do with certainty is diminish us as a nation and reduce our influence and international standing. That has already happened. Brexit has forced our Prime Minister, a born-again hard-line Brexiteer, to line up with Trump—indeed, to walk hand in hand with him. While European leaders and Canada condemned his Muslim ban, our Prime Minister’s initial response was to say, “Not my business.” Worse, she immediately offered him, with indecent haste, a state visit—far quicker than any other US President—which I am sure had absolutely nothing to do with her desperation to secure a trade deal, any deal, with the protectionist Trump.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

ICYMI: Sarah Olney’s speech in the Article 50 debate: We can’t build country without fear & poverty by turning our back on our neighbours

When I think of the country that I would like my generation to give to our children, I think of a country that lives without fear, poverty and inequality, but we cannot build that world by turning our back on our neighbours, closing the door to our friends, turning a blind eye to tyranny or walking hand in hand with intolerance.

Sarah Olney has got the hang of making great speeches in the House of Commons pretty quickly. In the Article 50 debate, she spoke from the heart while revealing the obfuscation of the Government as they try to deny people the true information about the consequences of Brexit. Here is her speech in full:

In this country, we have settled, through a process of trial and error, on a system of parliamentary democracy as the most effective form of governance. The importance of Parliament’s role was once again asserted by the Supreme Court last week. The responsibility of parliamentarians is clear: to take decisions in the best interests of the country with particular regard for the needs of their constituents. I believe that leaving the European Union will be hugely damaging for this country; the British people, through the referendum, narrowly expressed a different view. It is now up to Parliament to take account of the result of the referendum and decide what is in the best interests of the country.

There is no evidence, and none has been presented, that the best interests of the country will be served by the immediate triggering of article 50 and the pursuit of the hardest Brexit possible. It seems to me an abdication of responsibility to say that the only factor that can be considered in deciding whether to trigger article 50 is the result of the referendum. “The will of the people” cannot be tied down to one single point and be presumed never to change or waver. It should not be assumed that the decision of a narrow majority of people, willing and entitled to express a view on 23 June, should be the only thing to determine the fate of the whole population for now and many decades into the future. This is not the end of the debate; it is only the beginning.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 3 Comments

In full: Tim Farron’s speech in the Article 50 debate

Tim Farron spoke in the Commons debate on Article 50 this afternoon. Here is his speech in full:

She is not in her place now, but I want to pay tribute to the hon. Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Dr Johnson) for her excellent maiden speech.

Liberal Democrats have always been proud internationalists. It was the Liberals who backed Winston Churchill’s European vision in the 1950s, even when his own party did not do so. Since our foundation, we have been champions of Britain’s role in the European Union and fought for co-operation and openness with our neighbours and with our allies. We have always believed that the challenges that Britain faces in the 21st century—climate change, terrorism and economic instability—are best tackled working together as a member of the European Union.

Being proud Europeans is part of our identity as a party, and it is part of my personal identity too. Personally, I was utterly gutted by the result. Some on the centre left are squeamish about patriotism; I am not. I am very proud of my identity as a northerner, as an Englishman, as a Brit, and as a European—all those things are consistent. My identity did not change on 24 June, and neither did my values, my beliefs, or what I believe is right for this country and for future generations. I respect the outcome of the referendum. The vote was clear—close, but clear—and I accept it.

But voting for departure is not the same as voting for a destination. Yes, a narrow majority voted to leave the EU, but the leave campaign had no plans, no instructions, no prospectus and no vision. No one in this Government, no one in this House and no one in this country has any idea of what the deal the Prime Minister will negotiate with Europe will be—it is completely unknown. How, then, can anyone pretend that this undiscussed, unwritten, un-negotiated deal in any way has the backing of the British people? The deal must be put to the British people for them to have their say. That is the only way to hold the Government to account for the monumental decisions they will have to take over the next two years.

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged , and | 49 Comments

ICYMI: Nick Clegg’s brilliant speech on Article 50 Bill

I am so proud of Nick Clegg who made one of the speeches of his life, and one of the best I have ever heard in Parliament, in the Article 50 Bill yesterday. You would hope that such a momentous decision would bring out the best in our MPs.  It certainly did for Nick whose oratory was mature, passionate, honest and searingly critical of a Government acting in its party’s, not the national interest, Watch it here.

The full text, including the interventions, is below:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 22 Comments

Parliament is going to have to do better than today

What a depressing spectacle we witnessed in the House of Commons today.

A government which had just had a kicking from the Supreme Court for trying to do something unconstitutional should have been subdued and its representatives should have had their tails between their legs. But why should it, when its main opposition party lay prostrate in front of it.

Rather than look sheepish, David Davis was smug.

It should be so different. We should be building up to a dramatic parliamentary occasion. Gavin Williamson, the Government Chief Whip, shouldn’t be able to sleep at night because he’s worried about whether votes will be won. As it is, he could spend the next couple of weeks lying on the sofa with a beer watching re-runs of The Thick of It.

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged , and | 20 Comments

Nick Clegg challenges David Davis over Brexit

Nick Clegg has had a right go at David Davis over the lack of Parliamentary Scrutiny over Brexit. He questioned after Davis made a statement to the Commons.

From the BBC:

Former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, now his party’s EU spokesman, says the Commons has a “rightful role of scrutiny”.

David Davis suggests that Mr Clegg “cannot tell the difference between scrutiny and micro-management” – to some degree of uproar in the House.

Labour MP Angela Eagle says this is “the first time I’ve ever heard Parliamentary sovereignty described as micro-management”.

His intervention was well received:

Afterwards, Nick tweeted:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 32 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 23rd Jun - 4:22am
    It's important that you note we currently have little influence and in the next parliament I would abandon the "no deals" pledge. On the informal...
  • User AvatarTom 23rd Jun - 4:06am
    So it'll be Sir Vince versus Sir Ed. Brilliant! What a great image for a party that is supposed to be against privilege and patronage....
  • User AvatarMichael BG 23rd Jun - 2:20am
    Firstly we need to recognise that it is unlikely we will be in the EU and have mass immigration from the EU into the UK....
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 23rd Jun - 2:00am
    Lorenzo Cherin Your comments suggest you have no idea whatsoever of what the real SDP and real Liberal Party were like when the two merged....
  • User AvatarMichael 23rd Jun - 1:59am
    @ Paul Holmes Lord Ashcroft polling has Brexit has the top issue . clearly this is both pro and anti brexit. 28% against 19% for...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 23rd Jun - 1:44am
    By the way, I want to praise Norman's call for a new kind of politics that rejects abuse, aggression and name-calling. This is a vote...
Sat 1st Jul 2017