SNP MP attacks Tory ‘austerity orgy’ in debut speech

Deidre Brock delivers her victory speech after winning the Edinburgh North and Leith seat. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Deidre Brock delivers her victory speech after winning the Edinburgh North and Leith seat. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
0
Have your say

NEW Edinburgh North and Leith SNP MP Deidre Brock was rebuked by a Tory in the Commons after she used her maiden speech to attack the government’s “austerity orgy”.

Ms Brock took swipes at both the Conservatives and Labour during her Westminster debut yesterday, traditionally a time when new MPs avoid controversy.

She quoted Red Clydesider James Maxton, who had made his maiden speech as an MP in 1922, talking about children growing up in poverty, and pointed to the foodbanks which many families had to use today.

She said: “A century on and it seems little has changed. The Chancellor recently informed the House he intends to cut more deeply than he already has, that the austerity orgy would continue.

“Leaving aside the fact that austerity has never worked and wherever it has been tried it has caused long-lasting damage, we can perhaps look at the human face of the cuts – the suffering and misery – and decide we should decide on a different path and choose a different future.”

Ms Brock then aimed her fire at Labour. “We might have expected the loyal opposition to have something to say about the crushing weight that austerity is for the poor. We might have expected a party created on the promise of building fairness in society to consider it had a duty to stand up for those with least.”

But she said instead there was a motion talking of the “supposed squandering of the London Olympic legacy”.

She continued: “Given the amount of infrastructure spending that was denied other areas of the UK to be focused on London for those Games, some of us may be forgiven for asking whether the legacy in question should be thought of as a positive one.”

She said creating the next generation of athletes and improving the health and wellbeing of people could not be achieved without investment in society. She added: “A child lacking nourishment is far less likely to perform well at any sport and a parent queuing up at a foodbank is not really in the best position to encourage their children’s participation in sport. Poverty kills hope, kills opportunity and smothers ambition.

“A broken society shackled to a future of despair and trying to hold itself together by its finger tips surely is too high a price to be paying for a marginally improving economic performance. The orgy of austerity must end.

“If we can’t offer hope, we will be offering exactly the opposite – alienation.”

Speaking immediately after Ms Brock, Tory MP Maria Miller congratulated her on “a challenging maiden speech – perhaps not in the best traditions of the house”.

Ms Brock is to stand down as councillor for Leith Walk ward. A by-election has been called for September 10. She said it had been an honour and a privilege to serve as a councillor for eight years.