Suffolk and Essex MPs prepare for more long days of Brexit debates

MPs in the House of Commons, London. Picture: House of Commons/PA Wire

MPs in the House of Commons, London. Picture: House of Commons/PA Wire - Credit: PA

MPs from across the region are preparing for more crucial Brexit votes after the government’s second heavy defeat on a “meaningful vote” on Tuesday evening.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter had predicted a government defeat of 150 the previous day. He was only one vote out – and as a supporter of Mrs May’s deal was disappointed to have been proved right.

He is now preparing for more votes, on whether to rule out no deal and extending Article 50 – but has still to finally decide on which way to vote.

He said: “I certainly don’t want to leave the EU without a deal – but I am worried that if that is ruled out we will remove part of the Prime Minister’s armoury in negotiations with the EU. But as there will be a free vote tomorrow I am sure there will be enough Conservatives wanting to rule it out to see that happens when combined with other parties.

“I’ve always said we should respect the will of the people in the referendum so I don’t want to see Article 50 delayed – but I don’t know how things will play out if the no deal option is ruled out.”

Braintree MP and Conservative Party vice-chairman James Cleverly is also likely to vote against ruling out no deal in a bid to keep Mrs May’s options open.

After the vote he told the BBC: “My view is that the best thing we could do for business is leaving in good order on the day that has been put in the public domain by the Article 50 vote and then get on with the trade negotiations that we all want to focus on,”

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He said he had heard from many voters who had been impressed by Mrs May’s “robust” efforts to push forward with negotiations.

Ipswich Labour MP Sandy Martin felt the next eight days were crucial leading up to the EU summit on March 20/21. He said: “We don’t have 17 days to sort something out. We have eight days to come up with a proposal that can be put to the EU leaders then.

“We have to look a deal that includes membership of the customs union and some sort of free market and then get a deal to pull out of the deal on those terms.”

He said it was very dangerous to vote against removing no deal from the possible arrangements – because while that remained the default position there was a real danger of crashing out of the EU with no deals in place which would be serious for everyone.

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