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Ipswich MP Sandy Martin warns against a grand Brexit coalition between Labour and Conservatives

PUBLISHED: 17:44 16 June 2017

Sandy Martin, Labour MP for Ipswich. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Sandy Martin, Labour MP for Ipswich. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

New MP Sandy Martin thinks Labour should concentrate on being a “strong, solid opposition” on Brexit rather than entering into cross party talks.

Since the general election returned a weakened prime minister to Number 10 whispers in Westminster have suggested the Conservatives could reach out to Labour to form a consensus on Brexit.

But the Labour MP, who beat Tory Ben Gummer in Ipswich a result that shocked many, believes his party can be a more effective voice in shaping Britain’s departure from the European Union from the sidelines.

“What we need to do now after our excellent election result is concentrate on being a strong, solid opposition. But I don’t think any kind of deal or coalition on Brexit is the best option.

“Because the prime minister only has a very small majority now – if the DUP deal is done – we really do have the opportunity to be a very active and persuasive voice during the Brexit negotiations. As a powerful opposition we will have far more influence.”

Mr Martin, an experienced local politician, said the mood around the Labour members when they returned to parliament was much improved after the party upset Theresa May and the Tories at the ballot box.

“We are buoyant,” he said. “But we are not ecstatic because we did not win. I do think though that we are in a great position to be in power at the next election.

“We need to be ready because my personal belief is that Theresa May won’t struggle on for much longer. I think she’ll be gone by party conference.

“The Tories have two guiding principals: They believe they have the right to govern and they will do anything to remain in power. Theresa May will have to go at some point fairly soon.”

Mr Martin is still finalising his office in Westminster as a new MP. He added: “The allocation is a hierarchical system. So ministers, shadow ministers, returning MPs and then right at the end are the new opposition MPs. So I am very much at the back of the queue.”

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