ANDOVER Town Council is calling on the government to abandon plans for a hard Brexit and give voters a say on a final deal.

After a heated debate at the town council’s full meeting on Thursday last week, a majority of members backed the bid and now will inform the prime minister and Andover MP Kit Malthouse of their position on the issue.

The motion was brought to the table by People’s Vote campaigner Councillor Len Gates and Cllr Geoff McBride.

Cllr Gates told members: “We must respect the views expressed in the referendum two years ago but the world has now moved on. Since then this country has gone from being one of the most admired and respected to a laughing stock, a basket case.

“The future facing this country is very different from the promises of two years ago. There is no pot of gold, nor any fluffy unicorns. The impending reality is a very different country to the one we all know.

“The Brexit deal on offer will affect everyone in this country for generations. It is too important to be entrusted to self serving politicians. It must be submitted to the country with a straight choice between the substandard deal on offer and cancelling Brexit altogether.”

Ten members voted in favour of the motion, while four voted against.

The motion read: “Council calls on the government to abandon plans for a hard Brexit and to give the people of Andover a vote on any final deal it negotiates.

“Any such vote must include the option to keep the irreplaceable benefits Andover residents currently enjoy by staying in the European Union.”

In the debate some members pointed to the governor of Bank of England’s prediction of a recession in the Brexit aftermath, and that the vote is “already hurting every day people.”

Councillor Luigi Gregori added: “Irrespective of Remainer or Leaver, the issue is the prime minister has brought back a deal which doesn’t fit what is acceptable.”

Opposition was also heard against the stance, with public speaker Nigel Long claiming the motion was grandstanding as local elections draw closer.

He added: “I would hope that the two councillors are reminded Test Valley voted out. Get over it!

“Unless they have suddenly found a crystal ball, they have no idea how things will work out.”

The Batchelors Barn Road resident was supported by Cllr Christopher Ecclestone and Cllr Veronica Pond, who disagreed that the motion was being discussed.

Cllr Pond said: “I have no sympathy for this second motion, I believe the timing of this motion is grandstanding, as Mr Long said.

“The majority voted to leave the EU and take back our sovereignty. I still don’t understand why this is on our agenda.”

Cllr Ecclestone added: “It is something this town council can pass motions every time it meets and it will have zero effect on the issue.”