27 MAR 2019

EU Exit Day Amendment: EU: Withdrawal and Future Relationship (Votes)

Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. This is both a national tragedy and a national embarrassment. Is this situation not partly down to the fact that we tried to reduce a complex issue with very many possible versions of Brexit into a simple, binary choice? Does this evening not demonstrate that we must now set out clearly what the choice is and return it to the British people? Will you confirm, Mr Speaker, that the greatest number of votes cast today were for a confirmatory public vote on a defined choice?

John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons

The factual record speaks for itself. The political point that the hon. Lady perfectly reasonably makes—it is not a party political point, of course—is not one for me, but she has made her point with her typical sincerity and sense of insistence on what she believes to be right, and I respect that. How these proceedings—in all the time I have known the hon. Lady, she has been concerned about this—are viewed by people outwith this place, I do not know. However, it seems to me, if I may say so, that it is a matter not just of the content of what is said but of how it is said that is of the foremost importance. In my experience, the hon. Lady plays the ball rather than the man or woman. If we can, albeit amid inflamed passions and strong conflicts of opinion, maintain that basic respect for each other and that civility of discourse, that has to be in our interests, both in respect of this issue and reputationally for the future.

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