Edward Miliband debates with Wales Office

There have been 1 exchanges between Edward Miliband and Wales Office

Thu 26th September 2019 Prime Minister's Role in Creating a Safe Environment 3 interactions (312 words)

Prime Minister's Role in Creating a Safe Environment

Edward Miliband Excerpts
Thursday 26th September 2019

(12 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Wales Office
Kevin Foster Portrait Kevin Foster - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Sep 2019, 12:38 p.m.

I always reflect on comments by the right hon. Lady. I say again that we as a Government are committed to ensuring that what we do about public discourse, particularly online via the Online Harms White Paper, is not just about how we make sure that people are not breaching the law and how people can participate without fear of abuse, but about ensuring that we tackle some of the disinformation that can have such a corrosive impact on our society. Ultimately, the social media giants have made some moves, but there is obviously a need to do even more.

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband (Doncaster North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Sep 2019, 12:38 p.m.

All of us need to take care of our language and none of us is without fault, but the Prime Minister of our country holds a special responsibility. I say to Members across the House, I spent four and a half years opposite David Cameron and I never saw a performance like the one we saw last night from this Prime Minister. He said in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Hove (Peter Kyle),

“the best way to ensure every parliamentarian is properly safe and to dial down the current anxiety in this country is to get Brexit done.”—[Official Report, 25 September 2019; Vol. 664, c. 803.]

Yes, “safe”.

Everyone in this House shares the frustration about the last three and a half years—in fact, some of us did not want the referendum to happen in the first place—but none of us can agree that the safety of Members of this House should depend on the way they vote in this House. It is a disgrace that the Prime Minister said that yesterday. He should apologise and the Minister should apologise on his behalf.

This language and the language of surrender suggest that we are at war either with Europe or with each other. Let me say, as someone who grew up with parents who were born in the shadow of war: we are not at war with Europe and we are not at war with each other. Go down any street in this country and there are people who voted remain, there are people who voted leave and there are people with different views about how Brexit should be resolved.

The Prime Minister has a special responsibility. He is not exercising that responsibility; he is trying to divide an already divided country. Some people say this strategy will work. I say this strategy will not work, because the British people are better than this.

Kevin Foster Portrait Kevin Foster - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Sep 2019, 12:39 p.m.

It was interesting to hear the right hon. Gentleman’s brief mention of his parents. I remember the attacks he faced in terms of his own father and his reaction to them. I thought those attacks took politics to a place which was not appropriate. We should always judge Members by who they are and what they say, not seek to attack their family. In terms of the strategy, I am very clear, when we liaise with the police and when we talk to them about appropriate measures to be taken, that that applies whatever opinion anyone adopts within this House. I suspect my discussions are more likely to focus on those who may strongly disagree with me but have absolutely every right to put those arguments forward, and to have measures in place to protect them—and not just from those things that cross the boundaries of the criminal law, but also from incessant abuse online, particularly when it is ill-informed.

But as we all know, we as a Government wanted to give the British people an opportunity express their views on Tuesday 15 October 2019. Sadly, for the first time in history, a Government wanted an election to resolve the matter but were blocked from doing so by the Opposition.