Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said today’s Parliamentary debate on the issue “resolved little and only served to waste time”.
The Government’s motion reiterating its approach to Brexit was defeated in the House of Commons, alongside several amendments brought by Labour and the SNP.
“Today’s debate resolved little and only served to waste more time – precious time the UK, and in particular Northern Ireland, doesn’t have,” said Dr Farry.
“Both the Government and Opposition are continually kicking the can down the road. Delay only serves to indulge delusions and to facilitate the chasing of unicorns. But delay fuels uncertainty and means more and more businesses have to take decisions on their futures which impact on jobs and people’s livelihoods. Every day this goes on real and irreversible damage is occurring.
Theresa May suffered the worst defeat of any government in history last night. That’s no exaggeration. A majority of 230 MPs voted against her Brexit deal – bigger than anyone was expecting – with 248 Labour MPs, 118 Tories and all other parties opposed. Only three Labour MPs rebelled to vote for May’s deal – Ian Austin, Kevin Barron, John Mann – plus Frank Field, now sitting as an Independent, whereas 63% of Tory backbenchers voted against the government. After the meaningful vote, Jeremy Corbyn told MPs he had tabled a motion of no confidence in the government, which will be debated today and voted on at 7pm.
What has actually changed? Although the Prime Minister indicated that she would reach across the Commons to hold cross-party talks with a “constructive spirit” when speaking at the despatch box, the reality is far less encouraging. Her spokesman made clear last night that she would not seek talks with Corbyn, but “senior parliamentarians” only, and this was confirmed by Andrea Leadsom on Today this morning. This stance could dissipate after the confidence vote tonight, though it does align with May’s extraordinarily stubborn approach and her persistence in prioritising the Conservative Party over the country.
Hello. MPs are back from Christmas recess, and LabourList is back in your inbox every weekday morning. On Brexit, nothing has changed, as they say. Theresa May is still trying to “seek assurances” from the EU on the main sticking point of her deal, the backstop, while Labour pledges to vote it down. The Prime Minister doesn’t seem to have made any progress in talks with EU leaders, as expected, so the next question is whether she will delay the meaningful vote once again – pushing it back further from 15th January – or see it fail and force the Commons to repeatedly vote on her deal until it passes.
|SIENNA RODGERS, LABOURLIST|AIWA! NO!|I don’t know whether Jeremy Corbyn muttered “stupid woman” or “stupid people”, and I don’t really care. Call it whataboutery if you like, but let’s get some perspective. Two Tory MPs had the whip restored last week: one was accused of sexual harassment by his own constituents, and we know he sent thousands of texts to them including violent sexual imagery; the other was suspended after “serious allegations” against him including rape were referred to the police.
They’re now allowed to vote as Conservative MPs again, although there’s been no transparency about the party investigations that apparently took place. This is not to say that only Tories are misogynists – everyone in Westminster knows of creepy married Labour MPs who hit on young women in parliamentary bars or sleep with staffers. No, I’m saying that if you want to talk about whether the Labour leader hates women, we’d be better discussing the Corbynite position on prostitution than something he said under his breath during a heated PMQs.
The fact that MPs discussed the “stupid woman” row for such a long time in the chamber yesterday wasn’t really about whether Corbyn made a sexist comment. The MPs had varying agendas. Many were playing party politics, cynically pointing out the opposition leader’s remark while failing to call out much worse in their own ranks. Others were taking the opportunity to highlight Speaker Bercow’s behaviour. All were probably desperate to talk about anything but Brexit, out of boredom and/or embarrassment. So yes, language can contribute to further embedding misogyny into our social and political structures. But let’s acknowledge the motivations here, and prioritise matters of actual sexual violence if we really care about fighting against the hatred of women.