Below is the text of the speech made by Marcus Jones, the Conservative MP for Nuneaton, in the House of Commons on 16 January 2019.
I rise to support the Government and to speak against this motion. In doing that, I will talk about the record of this Government and the issue that has triggered today’s vote: yesterday’s Brexit vote.
To put our record in context, everything the Conservatives have done in government since 2010 has had to be framed in the context of the recession, the massive deficit and mess left behind by the Labour party. Despite the mess left behind—the 6% drop in GDP, the 800,000 more people unemployed—under this Conservative party, 3.4 million jobs have been created, we have record employment and record unemployment, we have provided 15 hours of free childcare for disadvantaged two-year-olds and 30 hours of free childcare for working parents, and the national living wage. We have cut income tax so that people can now earn double nearly what they could under the Labour party before paying income tax. We have not increased fuel duty for eight years and many more of our children are coming out of primary school with a far higher standard of reading and writing than previously. We have more doctors and nurses in our hospitals. We have fewer infections and people dying because of those in our hospitals, and we are putting £20 billion into the NHS and have a 10-year plan for the NHS, under which we are putting significantly more money into mental health provision. In my constituency, the Labour party tried to close A&E and maternity, so Labour does not have the record it states or thinks it has.
Have we got everything right? No, we have not got everything right in government. There is still a lot more to do. We need to make sure we build on the money and extra resources that we are now putting into the police force. We need to make sure we honour the commitment to halve and end rough sleeping. We need to make sure we keep refining universal credit in order to get it right, because having a system that gets people into work is the right thing to do. The alternative is more debt, more borrowing and a leadership team that does not believe in this country and thinks more about other countries than its own.
We are here because of the Brexit debate and Opposition Members have talked about nothing but red lines today. Whether we like what the Prime Minister put on the table yesterday or not, the red lines that she put down were based solely on the referendum in which the British public voted and on manifestos that about 85% of the public voted for. Despite problems across the House and people driving their own agendas, she has tried her best to get a deal that the House can agree with. Clearly it does not do so, but I say to Members opposite that this House voted to have a referendum and the public voted for Brexit. We must deliver on that.
People do not want a general election. They want us to get on with the job and come out of the European Union, and they want us to come together as a House to do that in a sensible way. They do not want a general election, as they do not believe that the Leader of the Opposition is a Prime Minister in waiting. They do not believe that he could be a Prime Minister. I am against this motion and I will be proud to go through the Lobby and vote to back this Government tonight.