‘The prime minister is tearing up our constitution’: Margaret Beckett
PUBLISHED: 14:07 17 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:20 18 February 2019
MP Margaret Beckett said she has ‘never seen such chaos’ in government, in a scathing interview.
The normally mild-mannered MP for Derby South slammed Theresa May’s government when asked about how the Brexit era compares to her career of over 40 years.
“I have never seen a government that’s so utterly disregarded,” she said on Sky’s Sophy Ridge programme.
“Any expression of different views other than the ones they want to hear, you’ve never seen a government treat a parliament with such contempt.
“It’s absolutely unprecedented.
“The Prime Minister is tearing up our constitution.
“[...] You have a government that can simply ignore the worst defeat in parliamentary history and carry on as if it hasn’t happened.”
Dame Beckett, who supports a people’s vote, said that Mrs May is just as guilty as any remainer of “‘asking the question again because you don’t like the answer the first time’.
“She’s doing that every day of the week!” scoffed the MP.
She continued to lay into Theresa May’s high-handed stifling of Brexit debate.
“Whatever her failures, the Prime Minister has been extremely successful at one thing: and that is using the considerable power the government has to control the agenda of the House of Commons,” she said.
Asked about Jeremy Corbyn’s reluctance to back a second referendum, she reiterated the oft-repeated Labour party line about the conditions set at the party conference last year.
“If you say, you’re not going to get [a second referendum], quite possibly not,” she admitted.
Speaking about the resilience of manufacturing in her Derby constituency, she had further Brexit warnings.
“Brexit could potentially be putting a lot of that at risk,” she said, pointing out that Rolls Royce has decided to licence some of its engines in Germany.
“That’s a smallish thing, but it’s not a comfortable one,” said Beckett.
“We haven’t left yet,” added the MP. “You start asking people about where they think they’ll be in five or ten years’ time - where’s Toyota looking to put its next model investment?”
The MP spoke about the attitude that we should ‘just get on with it’ when it comes to Brexit.
“I thnk one thing that people haven’t always taken on board is that if Mrs May’s deal passes before the end of March, that will not be the end.
“That will just be the end of the preliminaries.
“If that goes through, if all the legislation’s passed - and there’s a lot of it still to do - then the real negotiations begin.
“That’s our future relationship with the European Union, what our trade deals are ... that will all be in the melting pot,” she said.
“Those negotations will begin when these are over.”