EAST Hampshire MP Damian Hinds has welcomed the Prime Minister’s call for a General Election on June 8.
On Tuesday, Theresa May announced plans for the election, three years earlier than scheduled. And on Wednesday, MPs voted in favour of the snap election.
Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, terms last five years. However, elections can be held early with enough support in the House of Commons.
Mr Hinds echoed the Prime Minister’s justification for the snap election, saying the need for strength was greater than ever as Britain takes the first steps toward leaving the European Union.
“As we embark on one of the most important negotiations ever for our country, it is vital that we have the strongest position possible,” he said.
“We have a one-off opportunity, while the EU agrees its negotiating position among the 27 countries, before the detailed talks. This is a time for strong and stable leadership; a General Election can give that.
“The UK economy has continued to grow, creating jobs and opportunity, and affording the quality public services we all rely on, in East Hampshire and nationally. It’s vital we maintain that record. At this election the choice will be a clear one between strength and stability through Theresa May, or weakness and instability under Jeremy Corbyn.”
East Hampshire is seen as a relatively safe seat for the Tories, with Mr Hinds taking the baton from fellow Conservative Michael Mates in 2010 and increasing his share of the vote in 2015 to 60.7 per cent, when UKIP took second place, ahead of the Lib Dems who saw a nationwide drop in support.
East Hampshire Lib Dem leader Alan Waterhouse is hoping this election will see an improvement.
“I am looking forward as all Lib Dems are to see how we preform nationally this time round,” he said.
The UK Parliament has 650 seats. The current political makeup of the House of Commons is 330 Conservative, 229 Labour, 54 Scottish National Party, nine Lib Dem and 28 others, giving the Tories a working majority of 17.
The hope for the Conservatives, whose popularity is likely to wane under the coming negotiations with the EU, is that they will increase their majority.
Although the credibility of polls has, in recent votes, taken a hammering, according to the BBC, the average of five opinion polls published in April puts the Conservatives on around 43 per cent compared to just over 25 per cent for Labour – a lead of more than 17 per cent.
If this translates to votes, the Tories would see a comfortable win in June.
In announcing the call for an election, Theresa May talked about the need for “certainty, stability and strong leadership” as Britain leaves the EU.
“At this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division. The country is coming together, but Westminster is not,” she said.
“If we do not hold a General Election now their political game-playing will continue, and the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run-up to the next scheduled election.
“Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country.
“So we need a general election and we need one now, because we have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin.”