Suffolk MPs unconvinced that May’s Brexit plea will change Parliamentary vote

PUBLISHED: 21:21 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 21:21 20 March 2019

Prime Minister Theresa May making a statement about Brexit in Downing Street. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Prime Minister Theresa May making a statement about Brexit in Downing Street. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Prime Minister Theresa May used a speech from Downing Street to go over the heads of MPs in a bid to win last ditch support for her Brexit deal – but failed to convince Suffolk politicians that she was on the road to victory in her battle for a deal.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter said: “Many of us accept the need for a deal, but there are those extremists at the fringe who just do not accept any kind of compromise, they are not prepared to be pragmatic.

“The only hope is that we are in a negotiation with Europe and they are prepared to give a bit more time and that voters try to change their MPs’ minds, but they have shown no ability for pragmatism.”

Ipswich Labour MP Sandy Martin felt there was little point to Mrs May’s speech: “She said she was appealing to the British people, but she would not give the British people a voice by ruling out a new referendum. How does she know they don’t want one? She won’t ask them!”

He feared that the country was falling into a no-deal exit in just nine days time – and many people would not realise just how disastrous that was until it arrived.

Mrs May blamed MPs for failing to implement the result of the 2016 EU referendum, and told voters who want Brexit to be over: “I am on your side.”

In a televised address from Downing Street, Mrs May said that it was “a matter of great personal regret” for her to have to ask for a three-month delay to Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, which was due to take place on March 29.

She will go to Brussels on Thursday to make a formal request to the other 27 EU leaders for an extension to the two-year Article 50 negotiation process.

Earlier, European Council president Donald Tusk said he believed a short delay “would be possible” after he spoke to the Prime Minister by phone.

But he said that the extension – which must be agreed unanimously by the EU27 – was likely to be conditional on Mrs May succeeding in forcing her twice-rejected Brexit deal through Parliament.

The PM made the request in a letter to Mr Tusk exactly 1,000 days after the 2016 referendum which delivered a 52%-48% majority to quit the EU.

Speaking behind a lectern in 10 Downing Street, Mrs May said that MPs – who rejected her deal by 230 votes in January and 149 last week – had been “unable to agree on a way to implement the UK’s withdrawal”.

And in a message directed at voters, she added: “Of this, I am absolutely sure: You the public have had enough.

“You are tired of the infighting, you’re tired of the political games and the arcane procedural rows, tired of MPs talking about nothing else but Brexit when you have real concerns about our children’s schools, our National Health Service, knife crime.

“You want this stage of the Brexit process to be over and done with. I agree. I am on your side. It is now time for MPs to decide.”

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