Speech: This Is Why Politics Is Broken

By Office of Wera Hobhouse, Apr 03, 2019 5:04

At least 50% of British people who want to stay in the European Union, but they are only represented by 10% of Parliament. This is why British politics is broken.


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"We know that 400 members in this house oppose a No Deal Brexit.

In my 2 years in parliament I have understood our flexibility and that we can, at a pinch, do anything.

We can revoke Article 50, we can agree to a People’s Vote or, with the motion from the Honourable Lady from Normanton, ask the EU for a long extension.

We won’t crash out by accident. If we do, it will be because of our active consent. It’s our choice.

I therefore want to address the question of what this house does want. This is the whole purpose of the indicative votes.

We know that every proposal so far has been defeated, some of them very narrowly. It is also true that in the case of the Customs Union and the People’s Vote, neither achieved an overall majority in this house – which is about 320 votes.

It is my belief that we are just half way through the indicative vote process. Many compelling options have not yet been proposed or voted on.

The People’s Vote proposal cannot stand alone. A new referendum always needs to have two choices. The People’s Vote supporters – about half the country – define just half of the ballot paper.

What is on the other half of the ballot paper? It is not for me to say what Brexit choice is on the ballot paper, but it can clearly be the Prime Minister’s deal. It can also be a Customs Union deal or Common Market 2.0, or No Deal.

All these individual Brexits have failed to achieve a majority.

None of them have been voted on in a combined offer with a People’s Vote.

Following the indicative votes on Monday, a lot of members immediately understood that the next indicative voting options would include composite motions – for example the PM’s deal plus a People’s Vote or a Customs Union plus a People’s Vote.

It seems to me that today’s agenda is specifically and deliberately designed to ensure that these composite motions are NEVER considered by parliament.

The indicative vote process has been a less divisive and less tribal process to find a majority position.

Testing the Prime Minister’s deal with a People’s Vote must be done, if indicative votes are to mean anything.

There are about 200 Conservatives who have voted three times for the Prime Minister’s deal, and it is government policy.

Add it to a People’s Vote, and we leave the EU in the way the Conservatives government want, subject to the people confirming it.

The Labour Party has held a double position for 6 months – both supporting a referendum and wanting a softer Brexit than the Prime Minister.

If the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition today come to an agreement about a soft Brexit option, the assumption is that it will pass into law without a People’s Vote and we will leave the EU on 22nd May.

An indicative vote on a Brexit deal plus a People’s Vote would force some difficult choices on to many members in this House, especially the Labour Party.

Does the Labour Party want to leave the EU with or without a People’s Vote?

Or do they only support a People’s Vote option when they know it will lose.

Today is possibly the last day of parliament taking control. Not because parliament has finished the indicative vote process, but because the original supporters are now scared of the outcomes.

Just when parliament could reach a majority – or at least try something that could command the support of 400 MPs – the process is terminated.

No wonder people say our parliamentary democracy is broken.

Where to go now for the at least 50 % of British people who want to stay in the European Union.

Where to go now for the million people who were on the Put It To The People march ten days ago.

Where to go now for the 6 million who signed the petition to revoke Article 50.

You do have representation in parliament.

But you are represented by about 10% of MPs.

This is why British politics is broken."

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