WITH Brexit the issue squaring up to dominate the agenda yet again for the next seven weeks, MPs, political activists and YLP readers have given their response to the Prime Minister’s call for a snap General Election.
Theresa May made the shock announcement on Tuesday – with the General Election penned in for June 8.
Sir Henry Bellingham MP for North West Norfolk “warmly” welcomed the decision.
He said: “I do believe it is absolutely right for Theresa May to go to the country to secure a mandate for her post-Brexit referendum negotiations.
“Without this mandate, her bargaining position with the EU would be that much weaker.
“Also, given that she took over from a prime minister who resigned a year after the start of the Parliament, she is entitled to seek her own mandate.
He added: “Brexit is obviously bound to have important consequences for business, agriculture, food production, the environment, and so many other areas in this constituency.
“While I am personally convinced we can make a great success of Brexit, and while I am convinced it will be to the advantage of this constituency, it is imperative that we have a strong Prime Minister in place with her own mandate.”
MP for South West Norfolk and Lord Chancellor, Elizabeth Truss, said: “It is right to have an election now to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.”
Vicky Ford, MEP for East England, said: “In the past month I have been knocking on doors and talking to people in Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk with our Conservative candidates for county council elections. I have been in areas that have previously seen a strong vote for Labour, Liberal Democrats and UKIP.
“On the doorsteps there is massive support from voters for Theresa May.”
On Wednesday, Westminster MPs endorsed the PM’s plan for a poll by a massive margin of 522 to 13.
Ms Ford added: “A General Election result with a significant majority will allow her to lead with increased certainty. This will strengthen her negotiation position in the important discussions ahead and deliver the best outcomes for the UK.”
However, although most polls are putting Mrs May way ahead in points over Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who she savaged as “simply not fit to lead” in Wednesday’s PM’s questions in the Commons, 21 per cent of voters, according to one estimate are still unsure which way they will vote.
West Norfolk Liberal Democrat chairman, Simon Williams, said: “Theresa May is putting party before country, but for the Liberal Democrats, an election campaign provides a huge opportunity for voters in West Norfolk to change the direction of our country and ensure Britain has a decent opposition. It is a chance to give electors a chance to have a say on what Brexit should look like and also, for us to campaign on issues such as social care, the NHS and mental health provision, where the Liberal Democrats have clear policies, to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities.
“Since the Prime Minister’s announcement, there has been a significant surge in party membership nationally and locally, increasing our presence and building our capacity to campaign in both North West and South West Norfolk, and indeed further afield.”
North West Norfolk Labour secretary Jo Rust said the snap announcement was a “shock”.
She added: “I’m looking forward to giving local voters the opportunity to express their views after the Conservatives’ abysmal failure to negotiate the terms of reference for our exit and for both Cameron’s and May’s cowardice over the negotiations.
“Cameron fled the scene and May is desperately hoping not to get in so she doesn’t have to deal with the mess.
“I didn’t want to leave the Union, as flawed as it was. However, now that vote has been cast, I expect the very best possible terms to be negotiated for workers’ rights. I haven’t got the confidence that Henry Bellingham will do that, bearing in mind he voted to ditch the Agricultural Workers Board.
“So, while I think the country deserves a period of stability, the Conservative party forced this further period of change upon us all and I’m looking forward to rising to the challenge.”