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Ipswich Labour MP sees Britain "crashing out" after European election

PUBLISHED: 11:24 27 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:02 27 May 2019

Sandy Martin warned it may not be possible to avoid

Sandy Martin warned it may not be possible to avoid "crashing out" of Europe at the end of October.

Archant

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin expects Britain to "crash out" of the EU without a deal at the end of October - despite the success of anti-Brexit parties in the European elections.

He believes that the success of Nigel Farage's Brexit Party in the election - and forthcoming Conservative leadership contest - will make it impossible to stop the departure from the EU.

At present leaving on October 31 is still the default position for the UK, and Mr Martin believes it will be impossible to get a parliamentary majority to support any other outcome.

He said: "You can't get the Conservative MPs to agree with themselves on Europe, let alone get a majority in the House of Commons."

The European election saw his party lose its only seat in the East of England as voters flocked to The Brexit Party and strongly-remain Liberal Democrats and Greens instead.

He said: "I am disappointed by the result, but not surprised. This was an election for people who will go to the Europe for only a few months with little time to do anything - people were voting to make a point.

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"The parties that actually have to put policies into practice and therefore have to have a more balanced view have lost out.

"But with the Conservatives looking likely to elect a leader who doesn't want to stop us crashing out without a deal on October 31, I don't think that can be avoided."

Mr Martin said he thought Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn may be coming around to the idea of holding a second referendum on EU membership after both Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry backed the move.

But he didn't think it could be organised before the date of Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

He said: "I understand it has been a long journey for Jeremy who was originally part of a large number of Labour MPs around Tony Benn who were opposed to Britain being in Europe, but it is now clear that he backs party policy on this.

"I am expecting him to make a statement on the party's position on this over the next few days after this election result."

And while Mr Martin understood the attraction for some in his party of an autumn general election, he did not think that was on the cards either.

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