Sorry if a bit long, but do read this: From a Labour MP
"I am a Labour MP who voted Remain, representing a constituency that voted heavily to Leave. I’m torn in two. I want to be accountable, I want to be involved, but I sit uselessly and helplessly, trapped in a Commons that’s falling to pieces at a time of national crisis. This diary is my silent scream.
"I’m one of the 650. We’ll all get the blame when the ship sinks, but in truth you might as well have put a dead cat in there instead of me; it would have had as much of a role as I’ve had in the Brexit discussions. Want to know what that feels like? It’s embarrassing, humiliating and hugely, overwhelmingly frustrating.
"At a time of looming disaster, there’s this awful feeling of paralysis. The regional whip told me at the weekend that I’d need to be in Westminster all this week. We don’t know when the votes are coming, what the votes will be or what our position is, but we know we need you there. In other words, we know nothing. But for yet another week, all my constituency engagements have been cancelled.
"We’re not alone. Most Tory MPs know nothing. Right now it feels like most of the cabinet knows nothing. It’s all about one woman, the prime minister, and she’s in a bunker so deep that no one can reach her.
"I sought out some Tory mates last week. They’re very senior in the party. I wanted them to tell me that despite appearances to the contrary, Theresa May was actually a fantastic poker player, that great minds were being consulted and the country was in safe hands. Back came no reassurance whatsoever. Her master plan, it seems, is to survive until the next day. If that doesn’t fill you with terror, nothing will.
"Where’s Labour in all this? It has no voice and no seat at the table. If we were a strong opposition, we’d be challenging a lot more effectively and we probably wouldn’t have tumbled into this black hole quite so quickly. We’d have seen it coming and done something about it.
"We’re not strong on this because we’re so divided. Jeremy’s completely ambivalent. Len McCluskey is really, really against a second referendum but most of the shadow cabinet are Londoners and want a People’s Vote. Jeremy tries to appease both sides, so we’ve never really had a clear position, nor been open about what that is. Keir Starmer’s doing a fabulous job but he’s not in the party’s top tier of decision-making, so the door gets shut on him as much as it does on everyone else.
"You end up with the absurdity of a government with the lowest approval rating for years that’s still neck and neck with Labour in the opinion polls. When you’re chatting with Tories they’ll say, “It’s amazing, we just do one f***-up after another. This government’s a total disaster and yet every time we screw up you lot save us by coming out and doing something worse.” It’s extraordinary, but it’s true.
"When I set off for the Commons today, it felt a bit like leaving for war or the funeral of a close relative. Friends texted to wish me luck. People at the station came up and said I should keep going, that this is survivable. I’m not so sure. I feel darkness and impotence and dread.
"And it’s all so utterly exhausting, which is really weird because physically, obviously, you’re not doing anything, and intellectually you’re not doing anything because you’re not involved in any of the negotiations. It’s more a spiritual weariness and it comes from a sense of foreboding, guilt and helplessness.
"What’s so frustrating is that I know I could contribute. If they let me, I could work on this. If they gave me a role, I’d work until I dropped down dead to try to get the best outcome for this country. Instead you sit there, waiting, in a constant state of anxiety. Because any moment now, something else might go wrong and make things even worse. It’s on my watch but what can I do? Bugger all.
"The terrifying truth is that the democratic structures we all put our faith in have turned out to be made of sand. Yes, I’m an MP. There are hundreds of us here this week. We’re supposed to be taking decisions that will affect our country for generations to come but you know what? Right now I don’t even feel like a tiny cog in this machine. Most of us here are as bewildered as everyone outside the Commons. That’s truly frightening."
Huw Spanner MP
GillT57 Wed 27-Mar-19 18:00:55
Gonegirl Wed 27-Mar-19 18:05:20
Gonegirl Wed 27-Mar-19 18:08:06
POGS Wed 27-Mar-19 18:10:52
Bathsheba Wed 27-Mar-19 18:11:33
POGS Wed 27-Mar-19 18:15:02
EllanVannin Wed 27-Mar-19 18:15:17
jura2 Wed 27-Mar-19 18:16:04
EllanVannin Wed 27-Mar-19 18:23:01
lemongrove Wed 27-Mar-19 18:32:28
GillT57 Wed 27-Mar-19 18:36:02
lemongrove Wed 27-Mar-19 18:37:33
GillT57 Wed 27-Mar-19 18:37:39
POGS Wed 27-Mar-19 19:47:14
lutongranny Wed 27-Mar-19 19:59:32
jura2 Wed 27-Mar-19 20:00:23
lutongranny Wed 27-Mar-19 20:02:46
GillT57 Wed 27-Mar-19 20:16:32
GillT57 Wed 27-Mar-19 20:19:00
B9exchange Thu 28-Mar-19 08:57:47
GrandmaMoira Thu 28-Mar-19 09:51:05
Gonegirl Thu 28-Mar-19 09:57:29
Gonegirl Thu 28-Mar-19 09:59:44
Beckett Thu 28-Mar-19 10:10:14
Blinko Thu 28-Mar-19 10:11:51