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MP Field slams PM’s ‘ugly flashpoint’ in parliament

11 October, 2019 — By Tom Foot

Mark Field

MARK Field has criticised Boris Johnson for his part in a “particularly ugly flashpoint” in the House of Commons and warned that the “reputational damage” to parliament may last for generations.

The Conservative Cities of London and Westminster MP said on Wednesday the prime minister’s infamous outburst about Labour’s “surrender act” went “beyond the typical cut and thrust of political debate and is dangerously divisive”.

Skirmishes between MPs during Brexit debates had become “a source of such embarrassment that I have found attending the house in recent days difficult to say the least”, he wrote in a blog on Wednesday.

Mr Field was suspended from his ministerial duties in June after frogmarching an environmental protester out of a black-tie banquet.

A staunch remainer, who voted in favour of Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement because of collective responsibility, he will face a tough test to get re-elected if a general election is called.

His majority was slashed in the 2017 general election during a Labour surge and the Liberal Democrats have fielded Chuka Umunna in the target seat and on an explicitly remain ticket.

Mr Field said he now believes there is no way out of the Brexit impasse without a second referendum.

He said: “It is now with regret that I am beginning to conclude that a second referendum may be the only viable way to break the deadlock should an exit deal that parliament is able to coalesce around not be brokered in time.

“Whatever the outcome of the upcoming EU summit, a definitive decision on Brexit will have to be taken by parliament this month. We simply cannot afford to let paralysis and uncertainty drag on indefinitely.

“I have been torn by a desire on the one hand to be a calm voice of reason within the ­party, while recognising that I expected unwavering support from backbench colleagues when I was a minister. I do not exaggerate when I say there have been sleepless nights as I have wrestled with doing the right thing.

“After three years, and very little progress, parliament must now put up or shut up for the good of the country, lest we face even darker days ahead.”

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