Below is the text of the speech made by Emma Hardy, the Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, in the House of Commons on 16 January 2019.
It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Eddisbury (Antoinette Sandbach).
The unsettled mood that we feel in the Chamber today and across the whole of Parliament, is reflected across the whole of our society. Out there in the communities, there is a feeling and a desire for change—for something else. This feeling and desire for change manifests itself in different ways, but we would be wrong to ignore it and to underestimate its significance. It manifests itself in the anger that is felt in our communities, including the increased hate that all of us across the House are receiving. It manifests itself in the despair at, and dissociation from, democracy and the lack of faith in anybody in Parliament.
This is a pivotal moment, and it is about more than whether we think we should have a Labour Government or a Conservative Government, although of course the answer is Labour. It is about how we give back trust and faith to ordinary people. This feeling and mood for change is not going to go away. People are exhausted—they are exhausted by austerity. I do not think anybody in this House appreciates quite how draining poverty is and how the daily grind can get you down.
Even if Members ignore every other word I say, I would like them to reflect on this statistic: across Yorkshire, there has been a 30% increase in the number of suicides. As I have mentioned before, my constituency covers the Humber bridge, which has become a hotspot for suicides. People are driving there from around the country to take their own lives. What greater damning indictment of this Government can there be that they have left people in such a state of despair, feeling that they have no future whatever?
What answers are people being offered? Nothing. We have more arguments and Members tearing into each other on the Government Benches, while the people in our communities continue to suffer. They suffer when they go to the NHS. In terms of the nonsense spouted at us about all the good and outstanding schools, I suggest, with respect, that the hon. Member for Dudley South (Mike Wood) checks the last time that those schools were inspected, which might give him a more accurate figure. Crime is increasing, and people feel unsafe in their homes. The antisocial behaviour that so many people here probably ignore because the gates to their properties allow them to cannot be ignored by the people in our communities.
This is a moment when we can really make a difference. It is in our gift to give people the change they need. We can channel that need for change into a positive vision for hope, but only if we vote down this Government and have a Labour Government, who will truly deliver for everybody in our country.