(1 year, 4 months ago)Commons Chamber
I totally agree although, as a West Ham fan, it is difficult to spot the analogy. It is about talent, but it is also about the cumulative knowledge of so many years’ experience and the contacts around the world that make someone the go-to person on specific issues after the meetings of these organisations. It all feeds in.
I am most grateful to the hon. Gentleman. I will preface it, but he reminds me of the poem about the holocaust that finishes:
“Then they came for me—and there was no one left”.
We should bear that in mind. What has led to this situation? I regard the hon. Member for Ilford South as a good friend, and we have travelled the world together. I saw the huge, incredible levels of abuse he received, often from his alleged supporters in his own party. I think he dealt with that stoically.
I know that it was no easy decision for the hon. Gentleman to leave his party. I do not want to embarrass him, but I know it broke his heart because we have had those conversations. He did not want to leave the Labour party. He was forced into that position for standing up for what was right and standing up for the values we should all stand for in this House. That is the problem with the motion.
What message are we sending to the House with this motion? The motion asks us to replace two Members of this House who have enormous experience. The context is a lack of tolerance in this place. The Brexit debate was framed around the fact that people wanted politics done in a different way—we can argue and disagree about what that way is. What we are actually saying today is, “Stand up for your principles and you’re out.” It is an establishment stitch-up.
The reason why I want the two hon. Gentlemen to stay on the Committee—this is what I worry about most of all—is that they are experts in their field. They are admired by the other Committee members and by the people they see around the world. We should not give in to the pressure and, frankly, intolerance they have had to face, and thereby lessen the capability of the Committee they sit on.