Ironically, the now Foreign secretary William Hague didn’t get the House of Commons in stitches earlier on this afternoon (as he did in the video above) over trying to persuade MPs to reject a Commons motion to support a 100,000 people's petition on whether to withdraw from the EU or to stay in it.
The Foreign secretary, who joked to one MP that you didn’t need to buy a copy of his 2008 speech he made over Gordon Brown’s jaw-dropping surprise, when he realised that he would possibly be dictated to by his old adversary Tony Blair, as a potential President of the EU, it was on YouTube. And so it is, with more than 205,000 views.
MPs have been debating all day whether the people of the country should have a say on the future of Britain’s role in Europe.
The debate is simple too. Do we trust a government, who claim that this is not the right time to be holding a referendum on the EU, given the state of the EUROZONE crisis, to which Britain is not a member, or, do we simply withdraw, and sit on the sidelines, hoping to be spectators in the EU game. Some claim we can still be key players, outside of the tent.
Anti the motion the Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart said that there will come a time for a referendum – “that time will come soon”.
He said: “We should not be fighting among
Adding: “People are concerned with jobs, growth, and a proportion of the young people who are NEATS.”
The Prime minister and Foreign secretary made it clear in their statement that there would be a referendum, if yet more major powers were taken from Britain to Brussels. Sheepish Hague claimed that the coalition had saved Britain from spending billions on bailing out EU countries, and had enshrined into law powers to ensure Britain would be in Europe, but not run by Europe.
But David Nuttall, a Tory MP who tabled the notion said he wanted to be “in Britain, and run by Britain,” – not Hague’s in Europe, and not run by Europe” – which he had made when he was Tory Party leader.
It’s not often I agree with Labour MPs, but the Labour MP for Vauxhall, London, Kate Hoey was exactly right. The mainstream press have portrayed this as just a Tory split, rather than an all Party division on the EU.
And Labour MP Gisela Stewart said: “If politicians can’t trust the people, how on earth do we expect the people to trust the politicians.”
This is not about bringing back democracy to this House – as John Redwood passionately retorted. It’s not even about whether it’s the right time to hold a referendum. Although, when is the right time? It’s not even about whether we believe governments or oppositions will keep their word – although, William Hague has just highlighted why so many people have a distrust in politics, and politicians.
No, this whole episode of Europe rearing its ugly head has been a few troublesome MPs on all sides, attempting to try to derail their Party’s leadership – to make them take stock – almost like a democracy within a democracy. You could even go as far as to say, that there are some MPs in the Lib Dems, and the Tories, who are doing it to cause a rift within coalition? Wouldn’t they just love a breakdown in coalition relations to be over Europe?
And what’s more, the Deputy Prime minister Nick Clegg, and the Tory PM David Cameron, did not bother to sit through the wrangling in the Commons for the afternoon and evening. That revealed they were either two things. Cowards – fearful of the new politics they created. Or, they have become exactly what they said they despised in politics? Political hypocrites…?
But MPs rejected the motion by 483 votes to 111. 70% of the public wanted a vote, according to ICM poll. More than half of parliament voted against that public poll feeling. Democracy is wonderful isn’t it?
Back to proper business as usual tomorrow?