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Pat McFadden: Theresa May should not have legitimised 'colossal self-harm' option of no-deal Brexit

By Jack Averty | Politics | Published:

Pat McFadden has criticised Theresa May for "legitimising" the option of a no-deal Brexit, which he claims would cause "colossal self-harm for the country".

Pat McFadden

Writing in the Independent, the Wolverhampton South East MP also hit out at the PM for putting MPs in danger with her recent parliament versus the people broadcast.

Mr McFadden said: "Theresa May has known about the consequences of no-deal for years. Paper after paper has crossed her desk, warning her what it would mean.

"Most recently the Cabinet Secretary – the most senior civil servant in the country – laid these consequences out before Cabinet: food price rises, shortages of some foods, chaos at the ports, the need to stockpile medicines, direct rule for Northern Ireland and, most dangerous of all, a weakening of our national security.

"No-deal would not only leave our country poorer, but it would also weaken us. No responsible prime minister could embrace such an outcome.

"But for two years May has legitimised and normalised a no-deal outcome through her slogan “no deal is better than a bad deal”.

"She has employed thousands of civil servants making preparations for an outcome no responsible leader could pursue.

"By keeping the option open she gave the time and space to people far less scrupulous than her to whip up support for this outcome.

"She portrayed as a bargaining chip a course she knew would involve colossal self-harm for the country. It is not surprising that many people believed it."

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Theresa May

The Labour MP continued: "May has spent around £4bn preparing for no-deal. In my constituency I see real and urgent need all the time and there’s so much good that could be done with even a small portion of this money.

"It could be spent on schools trying to pay for enough staff. It could be spent on having more police officers on our streets. It could help families struggling to make ends meet."

Moving onto the topic of the safety of MPs, something his fellow Wolverhampton MP Emma Reynolds previously raised in the wake of the Jeremy Corbyn gun range video, Mr McFadden said: "After legitimising a no-deal outcome for two years, May turned up the heat with her 'parliament against the people' broadcast a few weeks ago.

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“'I am on your side,' she declared, after listing her view of the publics' frustrations. 'You are tired of the infighting, tired of the political games… Tired of MPs talking about nothing else but Brexit…'

"As parliamentarians, we too were on the publics’ side, yet we were set against them by the prime minister. She said: 'So far Parliament has done everything possible to avoid making a choice. All MPs have been willing to say is what they do not want.'

"The implications were not lost on any of us who had been through the 'enemies of the people' headlines or the memory, still fresh, of our murdered colleague Jo Cox."

Mr McFadden has also criticised the leadership of Mrs May, but said there was a "glimmer of light" after cross-party talks began, calling on his party leader Jeremy Corbyn to step up and fill the leadership void.

He said: "The prime minister didn’t do these things because she is a bad person. She is a doughty, dutiful and diligent public servant. But duty is not just a busy schedule – it is about leadership too. Leadership which meets the moment the country is in and reaches beyond the immediate confines of party. It should not be left to backbench MPs to defend Parliamentary democracy when the leader of our country undermines it and legitimises its rejection.

"But perhaps there is a glimmer of light in the cross-party talks she has begun. For in bringing the leader of the opposition into the process she has given him a choice. He can either strike a deal with her to deliver Brexit – and in so doing assume co-ownership of it. Or he can insist that whatever Brexit plan is agreed it is put to the people for their decision. If they endorse an actually existing Brexit proposal, then we leave on that basis. If they don’t and decide to remain after all, then that is also what we do.

"For at this time, with no majority in Parliament and no clear route ahead, it is not only the prime minister, but also the leader of the opposition on whose shoulders the call of leadership falls."

Jack Averty

By Jack Averty
Senior Reporter - @javerty_star

Reporter with the Express & Star, based at head office in Wolverhampton

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