MP’s have once again followed parliamentary tradition, ignored available efficiencies of the digital age and traipsed through the Aye and No division lobbies. This time, the regressive outcome is the European Union Bill (Brexit Bill) passing it’s first HoC debating stage. 498 of our parliamentary representatives voted for the UK to become an isolationist backwater and for Theresa May to get Brexit negotiations under way from a position of weakness.
So many MPs spoke of how damaging Brexit will be in terms of people losing their homes and jobs but then voted for it anyway against their own economic logic and international instinct by 498 votes to 114, including a vast majority of the Labour MPs. Clearly this is down to self-preservation and not wanting to upset the constituents. Quite simply, they will vote for something they do not believe in because it is politically expedient. David Mundell, the Secretary in a State was the sole Scottish MP to vote for article 50 to be triggered and drag Scotland out of the EU against our will. This says a lot about him as well as our undemocratic situation.
It’s also worth remembering the 544 MPs that voted for the EU referendum that were ‘caught up in a collective madness’ at the time as Alex Salmond said. Amazingly, Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott missed the vote although it seems she was taken ill rather than actively abstaining or failing to hear the division bell. Earlier, a bold SNP bid to block Article 50 and save the rUK from itself was defeated by 336 votes to 100.
The UK is leaving the EU of this there is little doubt. Even most MPs voting for this position on behalf of their constituents are painting a bleak picture of post Brexit Britain.
Among much frustration and sadness watching today’s debate, I was pleased to see my own Livingston MP Hannah Bardell on great form, who managed to balance humour and poignancy by paying tribute to T2 Trainspotting and channeling her inner Mark Renton:
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Hannah’s speech in full:
“Choose Brexit. Choose making up numbers from thin air about the NHS and plastering them on the side of buses. Choose racist and xenophobic sentiments seeping out from some corners of the Leave campaign.
“Choose hate crime rising by over 40% and LGBT hate crime by 150% in England and Wales following the Brexit vote. Choose taking the people of our nations to the polls on one of the most important issues of a generation with nothing written down and no plan.
“Choose ignoring the interests of the people of Scotland and my constituents in Livingston despite the fact they voted overwhelmingly to Remain in the EU. Choose leaving the single market, risking 80,000 Scottish jobs within a decade and costing the people of Scotland an average of £2,000 a year in wages.
“Choose lowering Scotland’s GDP by more than £10 billion and Scotland’s exports by more than £5 billion. Choose vital EU worker status being under threat with widespread uncertainty to family, businesses, and the economy.
“Choose risking our international standing in the academic research and innovation communities as we lose access to funding, expertise, and people in the EU. Choose walking away from the European medicine association without any detail or thought of the impact.
“Choose the great Brexit power grab, taking back control of straight bananas. Choose returning to the Thatcher era of poverty and austerity. Choose the UK turning its back on Europe. These, Mr Speaker, are not the choices that the Scottish people made.”