Part of the debate – in the House of Commons am 5:05 pm ar 6 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Christine Jardine Christine Jardine Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Women and Equalities), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 5:05, 6 Chwefror 2024

It is a pleasure to follow Jerome Mayhew in this debate, which—I have to take issue with the Minister on this—is important. It is an opportunity for which I thank the Labour party. I do not mean it is an opportunity to throw criticisms at Ministers who were sacked—all 147 of them, I think it was, in one year. It is not an opportunity to do that because, as Emily Thornberry pointed out, a lot of them did actually hand back the money they were given; nor is it an opportunity to throw brickbats at the Labour party and say, “You didn’t do this while you were in government, and you think this about ministerial salaries.”

Above all else, this debate is an opportunity to say to the constituents out there who come to us every week—who are struggling to pay their mortgages and rents; who have been made redundant and do not have another job with another salary that they can fall back on when they get redundancy payment—that we appreciate what is happening. This was a terrible period for the country. It was chaotic; it cost a fortune. We are looking at preventing it from ever happening again. That is what today should be about: putting ourselves in the place of those constituents and thinking what they might be thinking watching this debate right now.

I have to say, I am acutely aware that my constituents are probably watching and saying to themselves what quite a few people have said to me over the years—I am sure this has been said to many other Members present too—which is that too many of us are only in it to line our own pockets. We have sat here today and debated redundancies for Ministers and complained about ministerial salaries in a country facing a cost of living crisis, where people cannot pay their energy bills. I am sorry if it sounds like I am taking a schoolmarmish attitude to this matter, but I am slightly embarrassed that any of us could think that this subject is not worth reviewing.