Fiona Bruce snapped at Barry Gardiner during BBC Question Time on Thursday night, asking him for a “brief” response as other panel guests were unable to “get a word in edgeways”. The BBC presenter later remarked on how it was “interesting” so many questions were being directed towards Mr Gardiner, especially as he is “not in Government”. A member of the Question Time audience asked: “I think it’s pretty certain that we’re not going to get another deal. Even if we did try and get a deal it would be another two years, and we would be an embarrassment to the global community.
“I feel disappointed in Labour because I know it’s divided, but they can either back no deal or a referendum in my eyes. Just not making a decision just doesn’t do anything for you.
“And why can’t you just make a decision? A lot of your party members want a new referendum, so why won’t the leadership do it?”
The Shadow Secretary for International Trade began: “Can I – “
Ms Bruce interjected: “Briefly, because we’ve heard a lot from you and there’s two people who haven’t got a word in edgeways so far.”
Mr Gardiner continued: “Look I understand that frustration. But I think when you’re confronted with a false dilemma what you try and do is you try and steer a course that doesn’t accept any of the falsehoods that you’re being given.
“And what we’ve tried to do is we’ve tried to bring the two parts of our country together. That was an honourable thing to do. Unfortunately we failed.
“Now you say well in that case let’s go to a second referendum, we don’t have in the opposition the votes in Parliament to insist on that, we can’t introduce legislation.”
The audience member replied: “But your support would be good.”
The Labour MP for Brent North said: “But it’s part now of our policy that we would say absolutely, if we can get a second referendum and I voted for it in those indicative votes as did most of my party.
“We voted for that in the indicative votes and what we’re saying now is we have to now be in that position where we say we have to go back to the people on this.
“I would prefer a General Election to do it because I think that’s the only way in which we actually have the tools in Parliament to get those votes and do it.”
The BBC host remarked: “It’s interesting so many questions are being directed towards Barry. Of course, as Barry pointed out, he’s not in Government.”
Parliament should be reformed to tackle “deep-seated problems” with its processes, according to a new report.
The Institute for Government has published its Parliament after Brexit report, which calls for a new committee to be set up so a cross-party group of MPs and peers can examine how Parliament should function in the 21st century.
Maddy Thimont Jack, the report’s author and a senior researcher at the Institute for Government, said: “There have been questions about what the Government is able to do without Parliament’s approval, the wide-ranging powers given to ministers to amend and introduce laws as well as who should control the agenda in the House of Commons.
“Parliament needs to explicitly address these issues rather than simply assume that the UK will shortly return to a period of a majority government and that closure on the divisive issue of Brexit will be reached.”
Meanwhile, Brexit remains on a knife-edge over domestic politics.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation last week following a backlash over her latest Brexit deal, kicking off the battle for Tory leadership.
Forest of Dean MP Mark Harper threw his hat into the ring last night, bringing the total number of candidates to 12.
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson is the favourite to win the leadership race.