'A national disgrace' - MP fires parting shot about behaviour over Brexit
PUBLISHED: 10:00 06 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:50 06 November 2019
Two of Norfolk's long-serving MPs have bid farewell to the House of Commons, with one firing a parting shot that the things some members have called each other during the Brexit is "a national disgrace".
Conservative Broadland MP Keith Simpson and North Norfolk Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb both delivered valedictory speeches in Parliament yesterday - having decided not to stand again in next month's general election.
Mr Simpson said it was a "great honour and privilege to attend one's own obituary" and spoke of how lucky he had been to represent a "beautiful constituency".
He said the two things which had given him most satisfaction was being on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and serving on the intelligence and security committee.
But he added: "My final thought is that this has been a horrible Parliament, in the sense of the dreadful, robust debate on Brexit.
"I do not believe those who say that our Parliament is wrong, because we represent the divisions that are in our associations and in the country.
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"I am a pessimist, in the sense that I do not believe those divisions are going to end with the general election. Brexit will continue over many months, if not years, and it will depend upon the quality of the people who get elected in five weeks' time to ensure that the debate is done in a civilised way.
"They can be emotional about it, but some of the dreadful things that we have seen MPs calling each other is a national disgrace."
Mr Lamb thanked those who had supported him throughout 29 years of campaigning in North Norfolk and the 18 years he had "the particular privilege' to represent constituents as MP.
But he said he had found the past three years "extraordinarily difficult" and "not enough" people had been trying to heal the "dangerous" wounds caused by the Brexit debate.
And he argued, once again, for the legalisation of cannabis. Mr Lamb said: "I argue again that we need to legalise and regulate the sale of cannabis, so that we can protect our young people better.
"We leave teenagers open to the most dangerous, most potent forms of drugs, bought on the streets in this very city.
"We do not protect our young people with the prohibitionist approach that we take, and it is high time that we reformed those laws.