Ex-MP Sir Bob Russell urges LibDems to back May’s “final” Brexit deal

Sir Bob Russell is urging his former colleagues to back the Prime Minister's Brexit deal. Picture: S

Sir Bob Russell is urging his former colleagues to back the Prime Minister's Brexit deal. Picture: Su Anderson - Credit: Su Anderson

Former Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell has written to his former colleagues still in the House of Commons urging them to back the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal with the European Union.

He has broken ranks with his party leadership which is urging Parliament to reject the deal, approved by EU leaders at the weekend, in the hope of securing a “People’s Vote” which could result in the UK staying in the Union.

Sir Bob represented Colchester as its Liberal Democrat MP between 1997 and 2015. Before that he had been leader of the borough council and now he has the honorary title of High Steward of the town.

He has written to the seven Lib Dem MPs still in the House of Commons who served with him before he lost his seat to Conservative Will Quince.

Sir Bob said: “If I was still MP for Colchester I would be arguing in support of the Brexit deal – in the national interest. It is not what I want, but half-a-loaf is better than no loaf.

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“The deal is the best we can hope for in terms of not crashing the UK economy.

“There is a real danger of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union at the end of March without a deal, leading to serious damage to our economy and the well-being of the British people.

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“This is not scare-mongering, it is the reality of the most serious threat to our nation in my life-time.

“It is the duty of all our politicians to put the national interest first, not their own political demands – the purity of those who want nothing to do with the EU, and those who want the purity of remaining in the EU, cannot be allowed to ruin the consensus of common-sense for the future of our country.

“Our country is split. It is time for everyone to put the national interest ahead of personal or party political considerations, and in this respect I support what Prime Minister Theresa May is putting to the British people and to Parliament.”

Mr Quince supported the Leave campaign during the Europe referendum but he is not part of the European Research Group of Tory MPs who have been leading calls for a change of leader.

And he has said he wants to study all the details of the Brexit deal before making a decision on whether to support it in the House of Commons.

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