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Ipswich MP heads back to Commons for crunch Brexit vote

PUBLISHED: 11:57 07 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:19 07 January 2019

Sandy Martin has returned to Westminster after the Christmas break. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sandy Martin has returned to Westminster after the Christmas break. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

As politicians head back to Westminster – and a new vote on Brexit – Ipswich Labour MP Sandy Martin insisted he is not prepared to vote to make his constituents poorer.

And he warned any deal that saw Britain leaving the EU without a deal would be a “disaster” for ordinary voters – whichever way they had voted in the referendum.

Mr Martin, whose pro-Europe views have always been well-known but did not prevent him from winning a surprise victory in 2017 in a seat which voted 58% to leave in the referendum a year earlier, expects to vote with the rest of his party – and hopes to avoid leaving without a deal at all costs.

He said: “Boris Johnson would be all right if we leave without a deal. Jacob Rees Mogg would be all right. They have lots of money and can insulate themselves from the problems we face.

“But for the vast majority of people it would be a disaster. I know what the vote in the referendum was in my constituency but I’m not prepared to vote for something that would make my constituents significantly worse off.”

He said that if Mrs May’s deal was rejected by the House of Commons, MPs would have to assert their power – and he hoped there would be a majority for a motion saying the UK could not leave the EU without a deal on March 29.

Mr Martin was speaking as he prepared to set off to London for the first parliamentary session of 2019 – and the start of the reconvened debate on the Prime Minister’s deal to leave the EU which is due to start on Wednesday.

The vote has now been confirmed for next Tuesday, January 15. Some MPs may have changed their minds over the Christmas recess – but few expect it to be accepted but the House of Commons.

Last week Mr Martin’s Tory predecessor, Ben Gummer, warned that whatever decision MPs took to leave the EU would leave the country worse off. He said if no decision could be reached on Mrs May’s deal, and parliament failed to agree on any other deal, there could ultimately have to be a second referendum.

That, in turn, prompted a response from Tom Hunt, who will fight Mr Martin at the next general election for the Tories, who said Britain had to leave the EU on March 29 with a deal or without.

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