- Posted by: Valerie Vaz MP
- Category: News
I asked the Leader of the House when the debate on the meaningful vote will resume. Each week we stand here and we trust what the Leader of the House says and we trust the agreements we make. How can we continue to trust this Government? Their mantra is, “Nothing is agreed until it is agreed”, but it should now be, “Nothing is agreed ever.”
Below is my speech in full:
I agree with you about “Erskine May”, Mr Speaker; the public will now be able to see what the Government are up to, so that is good. May I also acknowledge that the House has a female photographer, Jessica Taylor, who is absolutely marvellous? She does us all proud, because we all look better in her photographs, for some reason.
I thank the Leader of the House for giving us the business for next week. I do not know whether I heard her properly, but has she given us all the business for next week? I did not hear when the debate on the meaningful vote will resume. Obviously, it is not listed for next week, so when will it come back? Each week we stand here and we trust what the Leader of the House says and we trust the agreements we make. How can we continue to trust this Government? Their mantra is, “Nothing is agreed until it is agreed”, but it should now be, “Nothing is agreed ever.” Even now, the Prime Minister, having made an agreement with the EU, is saying that she will go back and find another way. The Government spent money, and Ministers spread out around the country, but the people they had to convince were here in Parliament. What did the Government do? They did not listen to Parliament—in fact, they told Parliament to shut up. The Leader of the House said this was “Parliamentary pantomime”, but it is not. The Opposition have used settled rules of Parliament to hold the Government to account. At each stage of this process, we have had to drag Ministers back to the Dispatch Box to give us financial information and other impact information on what is happening.
The Government have ridden roughshod over the democratic rights of Members. Mr Speaker, you sat through all the contributions and on one of the days we were here until 1.30 am. Hon. Members were here until then. Time limits were applied, showing that hon. Members had to be curtailed in their speeches. One hundred and sixty-four hon. Members were heard, and almost the same amount of other hon. Members had written their speeches and their contributions were stymied. The Leader of the House must say when they will be given the chance to make their case. Will the debate be resuming or will we have a debate on a new deal—which is it? The Prime Minister cannot amend the agreement, so it is, in effect, just an explanatory note, is it not? Can the Leader of the House clarify whether it will be an addendum or an explanatory note?
The Leader of the House said on Monday, and other Ministers have said this, that we will have our meaningful vote “soon”, “shortly” and “before 21 January”. She said five times on Monday that she is Parliament’s voice in government. Parliament spoke with the vote on the emergency debate on the cancellation of the vote—the vote was won by 299 to zero, which is more resounding than 200 to 117. So on Monday will she make a business statement to say when the meaningful vote will come back before Parliament?
We have had a number of statutory instruments given in the business for next week. I note that the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has said that she will look at the draft Universal Credit (Managed Migration) Regulations 2018. Can the Leader of the House confirm that those regulations have now been withdrawn? We will also have the Draft Markets in Financial Instruments (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 to consider. That statutory instrument is one of a large volume of items of secondary legislation. It sets up a functioning regulatory framework if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal. The size and scope of that SI are completely different. Because of the volume of potential legislative changes, the Treasury has set out a Keeling schedule, and it spent time and money setting out that schedule. As the Government are going to all that effort, will the Leader of the House please confirm that we will debate those regulations on the Floor of the House?
I note that a written statement on immigration is to be published today. So far, it has been impossible to access it; is it the immigration White Paper?
While the Government have been distracted in Committee Room 14, local councils have been waiting to set their budgets. I know that you get upset by points of order, Mr Speaker—or perhaps you do not; perhaps you like them—but my hon. Friend the Member for Denton and Reddish (Andrew Gwynne) made one yesterday on the local government settlement, so I am pleased that there will be a statement on it later. I am also pleased that there will be a statement on the police settlement. I, too, offer my thanks to the police officers who contained the incident on Tuesday, and who keep us safe every day.
Yesterday, at Prime Minister’s Question Time, the Prime Minister said that the Government are establishing a 10-year plan for the sustainability of the NHS. Where is it? The plan was promised in September, then in autumn, and then in early December, but still there is nothing. Will the Leader of the House say when it will be published?
The Government are running away from their responsibilities and leaving the country in a mess—so much so that the Prime Minister has said that she will not be around at the next election to be held accountable for her policies so far. There is something to celebrate, though: the tax on visiting Wales has ended, because the Severn bridge toll will end on Monday.
I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Banbury (Victoria Prentis) for all her charitable work on the carol service—it all seemed to get lost on Tuesday. She has raised an enormous amount of money already, but is encouraging us to organise carol concerts so that we can all contribute and add to her charitable work. We have to hurry, though, because we have only 12 days till Christmas.