Leave campaign ‘hijacked for dangerous ends’, says Labour MP

The Leave campaign has been hijacked for dangerous ends, an MP has said.

MPs have begun debating three separate petitions on Brexit, including one calling for Article 50 to be revoked.

Opening the debate in Westminster Hall, Labour MP Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North) said that while many had voted for Brexit for “legitimate” reasons, the movement had been taken over by other groups.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Ms McKinnell spoke about the Remain march last month when people called for the Withdrawal Agreement to be put back to the British public. She said a People’s Vote is the “only democratic way” out of the current situation.

The MP said that people have clearly 'hijacked the Brexit campaign for much more dangerous ends'. Picture: PA

“It contrasted with some of the really ugly, angry, threatening, sinister behaviour we saw outside Parliament on Friday by people who have clearly hijacked the Brexit campaign for much more dangerous ends.

“These were the people that were professing to be the spokespeople for the Leave campaign here on the streets of London.

“But we have run out of road here in Parliament. We cannot continue going round in ever-decreasing circles while the international standing of our country diminishes further by the day.”

Conservative former Wales secretary John Redwood asked how “pessimistic” predictions of decline following Brexit could be trusted.

“They said there would be a recession and big job losses, there would be investment collapse, there would be a share market collapse, and a house-building problem. And the reverse of all those things happened, with jobs up, no recession. We now have better growth than Germany or Italy.

“Why do they get it so wrong, and why should we believe her pessimistic forecast for 15 years’ time when they couldn’t get the first two years right?”

Ms McKinnell responded, saying the economy has been affected and investments are already stalling.

Labour MP Helen Hayes (Dulwich and West Norwood) said issues such as the impact of Brexit on security in Northern Ireland “were simply not discussed in 2016”.

She also highlighted that it had since come to light that leave campaigners “lied” and “broke the law” to win the referendum vote.

“It simply cannot be claimed in this context that the 2016 referendum result can accurately be read as the will of the people forever and a day,” she said.

Independent MP Chuka Umunna (Streatham) warned that young people would be most “angered” by the impact of a no deal Brexit on their lives.

He said: “They are the ones who will never forgive this generation of politicians if we allow this catastrophe to happen.”