Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons am 11:33 am ar 22 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 11:33, 22 Chwefror 2024

First, may I join with all those who have paid tribute to Alexei Navalny? In the wake of an assassination attempt, he returned to stand with his fellow countrymen against Putin’s tyranny, knowing full well what that might mean for him and his family. He put his country and his countrymen before himself.

I remind the House that the Government will again outline our position on the very serious matter of Israel and Gaza in a written ministerial statement soon.

I join the hon. Lady in her thanks to the security services, particularly those of the House authorities, for keeping us safe. I point to our record on adapting legislation to cope with the evolving nature of some pretty awful protests that not just MPs but the general public have been putting up with. There is also the work we have been doing in the House on social media, the new services in the House of Commons Library and the defending democracy taskforce. It would be nice to have the Opposition’s support on those matters, in particular on the legislation that we will bring forward.

I want to say that this House will never bow to extremists, threats or intimidation. It has not, it will not, it must not. I ask all Members not to do this House a further disservice by suggesting that the shameful events that took place yesterday were anything other than party politics on behalf of the Labour party.

Let me bring the House up to date. Two significant things happened yesterday, and I am not sure all hon. Members have clocked them. First, it fell to those on the Government Benches to defend the rights of a minority party in this House. If the hon. Lady cannot bring herself to reflect on the appalling consequences of her party’s actions yesterday—if she cannot rise above the narrow and immediate needs of her weak and fickle leader to fulfil her duties to this House as its shadow Leader—perhaps she might like to reflect on the damage her party has done to the office of the Speaker. I would never have done to him what the Labour party has done to him.

Secondly, we have seen into the heart of Labour’s leadership. Nothing is more important than the interests of the Labour party. The Labour party before principle; the Labour party before individual rights; the Labour party before the reputation and honour of the decent man who sits in the Speaker’s Chair; the Labour party before fairness, integrity and democracy; in Rochdale, the Labour party before a zero-tolerance policy on antisemitism; and—many of us knew this about the Labour leader; I saw it in his frustration at our country getting the best deal possible when we left the EU—the Labour party before country.

I must tell the hon. Lady that the people of this country do not have a copy of the Standing Orders of this House lying around their home, and they have not been chatting about parliamentary procedure over their cornflakes this morning, but they value fairness and they want the rights of all to be protected. They cannot abide bullies and cheats. They cannot abide people who trash our nation or fail to defend its interests, or the institutions that protect them. Government Members often rightly criticise the former leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, for the things he stood for and for being wrong on matters, but I will say one thing about him: at least he thought he was right on them. The current leader of the Labour party is quite happy to do what he knows to be wrong. He puts the interests of the Labour party before the interests of the British people. It is the Labour leader who does not get Britain, and the past week has shown that he is not fit to lead it.