You won’t have been able to miss that last night (Tuesday) there was a debate and vote, widely referred to as the vote to stop a No Deal Brexit.
The official wording of the Bill starts, “That this House has considered the matter of the need to take all necessary steps to ensure that the United Kingdom does not leave the European Union on 31 October 2019 without a withdrawal agreement …”
During the debate, many MPs spoke, including the Isle of Wight’s MP, Bob Seely. We’ve picked out Hansard’s copy of what he said, so you don’t have to wade through the 132 pages of it.
Of course you should read the full text (below), but the crux of what he was saying was, “we need to deliver on a deal.”
He spoke of “binding the hands of the Government as they seek to negotiate a better deal”, being “counterproductive,” referencing his time in Basra.
He also asserted that Pro-EU campaigners concerns of “protecting the rights of Parliament” were “ironic”, stating his view that staying “in the European Union, which “would do far more damage to the rights of Parliament than this Government ever would.”
The full text
Mr Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con):
The crux of the debate tonight is whether we seek to bind and obstruct our Government in a critical period, as they seek options between the current withdrawal deal, which has been rejected three times by lots of people in this House, and no deal, which is actually a series of mini deals.
I am sure that the former Chancellor of the Exchequer and my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin) have been engaged in negotiations at a far more senior level than I, but I do find it a little bizarre that we could seek to bind the hands of our Government at this point if those right hon. Gentlemen trust the people in power, and I have to say that I do.
I was engaged a bit in some of the negotiations with tribal Afghan leaders. I also conducted village negotiations in the Basra marshes in 2008 and 2009. Showing the limits of our negotiating power and showing what we were willing or not willing to do would have fatally undermined some of the conversations that happened to try to protect British troops and to try to stop ourselves being attacked. Therefore, binding the hands of the Government as they seek to negotiate a better deal is counterproductive, although I understand the concerns.
The reason why this debate is so bad tempered is that it has gone on for three years. We hear tedious clichés, such as “a blind Brexit”, “a Tory Brexit” and “I’m not here to stop Brexit, but…”. The hon. Member for Vauxhall (Kate Hoey) said that many people on the Opposition Benches were using this no-deal Brexit motion simply as another means to stop Brexit.
My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve) quoted Thomas More. I have been in this House for two years, and I feel like quoting Macbeth: “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day”.
That is how I feel, because all we talk about is Brexit. I want us to get on and talk about lots of other things that are important to us. In fact—if Members do not mind me mixing my cultural references—it feels like groundhog day.
Pro-EU campaigners are concerned about protecting the rights of Parliament. I find that slightly ironic coming from people who want to stay in the European Union, which would do far more damage to the rights of Parliament than this Government ever would.
I want a deal, but I accept that the most important thing is to deliver, in order to have trust in politics. I am also aware that neither side is perfect, and that there are people now sitting on the Government Front Bench who could have voted for a deal but did not, just as there are people on the Opposition Benches who could have voted for a deal but did not. But we need to deliver on a deal. The reason I am against the motion is that it would provide another extension, and then we would simply continue in a debate that would become endless and tedious. We need to bring this to an end so that we can deliver on our manifesto commitments in other areas to the British people.
The Isle of Wight MP voted with the Noes, one of the 301 Noes, losing out to the 328 who voted for the Ayes.
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