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Ipswich Tories looking to life beyond PM May as Brexit dominates polls

PUBLISHED: 12:28 17 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:22 18 March 2019

Ipswich Conservative Association chair John Howard. Picture: johnhowardbusiness.com

Ipswich Conservative Association chair John Howard. Picture: johnhowardbusiness.com

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Conservatives in Ipswich are looking forward to the day when Brexit is sorted out - and Theresa May is no longer Prime Minister - as they prepare for this year's local elections.

Sandy Martin says a general election should not be held until Brexit is agreed. Picture: SEANA HUGHESSandy Martin says a general election should not be held until Brexit is agreed. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

But while they’re ready for a general election at any time, the town’s Labour MP believes that is not possible until a Brexit deal is agreed by the House of Commons.

The concerns were aired on the Sky News show Sophy Ridge on Sunday which came to the town to shine a spotlight on a parliamentary seat that often reflects the national outcome in a general election.

The chairman of Ipswich Conservative Association, John Howard, said people were now looking forward to a time after Mrs May had left office: “Everyone is now preparing for the time when there is a new person at the top, and I suspect that includes Theresa May. I think we all recognise her stamina – but once this is over we need someone new.

“And that has to be someone new from outside the cabinet, someone younger with fresh blood like (Plymouth backbencher) Johnnie Mercer.”

The leader of the Tory group on the borough council, Ian Fisher, said campaigning was dominated by Brexit: “It sometimes seems as if it is all anyone wants to talk about.

“We have to find a compromise and then be ready to move on. There are other issues that are very important for the country – but with the present leadership we are starting to look like a one-issue party and that is not good for democracy.”

Labour campaigners are managing to find other issues of concern on the doorsteps, said MP Sandy Martin, but it was clear there could not be a general election until a Brexit deal had been agreed.

He said: “What is quite clear is that there is no one deal that everyone will be able to accept and there are far too many MPs who are simply unable to compromise on their views.

“Until everyone recognises that we’re going to have to accept some things that are not what we want then there will be no agreement.”

But on the streets of the town Labour campaigners were finding householders willing to talk about council issues. But Mr Martin added: “When I turn up, then people do want to start talking about Brexit and I have had long conversations with people holding a wide variety of views!”

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