Waterfront MP | Police & Brexit

We are delighted that Sandy is to become a regular writer for Waterfront Life.  Here is the follow up to the interview showcased in July’s issue.

Suffolk’s Chief Constable and myself have met with the Police Minister to discuss funding  – or lack of it – following the tragic murder of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens. The Chief was very clear about what his force requires, and his aims for the future. The Minister accepted that Suffolk is seriously under-funded, acknowledged that the formula needs to change and that he would do his best to change it, and in the meantime offered possible additional funds this year to help deal with gangs in Ipswich – we have to bid for it and show how it will be spent.

Since then, news has broken about the reduction of PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers) as a result of the reductions in Police budget.  That doesn’t alter the fact that I am very pleased and proud that we managed to meet the Minister. I’m still hopeful of getting an additional grant for Suffolk, but it does highlight the need for the Government to take Police cuts seriously, particularly in Ipswich.  It also demonstrates the two separate responsibilities of your MP – I will do whatever I can to get the best for Ipswich; and I will join my Labour colleagues in fighting for a better settlement for our whole country.

Of course, the big political news story is the effect Brexit is having on the Conservative Party. I have looked on with disbelief as the Prime Minister’s attempts have unravelled, almost while she was speaking.

This really matters to Britain. Leaving the EU is not a game, and it is far more important than party advantage. If we crash out of the EU without a deal on 29th March 2019, it will have a massive, negative effect on our economy compared to leaving with a negotiated settlement.

So, what happens now? Will there be an early General Election? – I doubt it; a majority of Conservative MPs would have to vote in favour, and they don’t want to lose their seats. My guess is that Theresa May’s Government will limp on, and we will drift out of Europe without any coherent plan. The damage to the Conservative Party will be profound and lasting, but what really worries me is the damage to our country, and for that the voters will never forgive her.

Sandy Martin