‘Election needed to ensure strong and stable leadership’ - Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker reacts to general election announcement

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Theresa May has called an early general election for June 8 in an announcement this morning.

The Prime Minister had repeatedly denied that she would call an election before the next scheduled poll in 2020.

Reacting to the news, Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker said: “We need this election now to ensure a strong and stable leadership to see us through Brexit and beyond.

“The government has a plan for a stronger Britain, with this the the correct long-term decision for a more secure future for working families in the Calder Valley.

“Every vote will count at the general election and this will strengthen the hand of Theresa May as she goes into Brexit negotiations with Europe.”

He added that the choice was between a “strong and stable” leadership by Theresa May or an unstable coalition led by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Whittaker confirmed he would stand again in the Calder Valley.

James Baker, leader of Calderdale’s Liberal Democrat group, said he would stand in Halifax to offer the electorate a “real choice” on any Brexit deal.

Readers have also taken to Facebook to share their views.

Kirsty McGregor wrote: “Clever timing.”

Liz Greenwood added: “If they get back in I would imagine she will step down...she can’t cope with Brexit.”

Mrs May said the lack of “unity” in Westminster over the Brexit process was weakening the Government’s negotiating hand with Brussels and meant an election was required.

Explaining the timing, Mrs May said it would coincide with the European Union leaders finalising their Brexit negotiating position and come before full talks begin.

Without a snap general election, Mrs May said “political game-playing” in Westminster would continue and lead to negotiations with the EU reaching their “most difficult stage” in the run-up to the previously scheduled 2020 vote.

“Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit, and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country,” she said.

“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.”

Under the terms of the Fixed Term Parliament Act, MPs will have to vote for an early election in Parliament tomorrow.

Mrs May has repeatedly rejected the case for an early election and admitted in Downing Street she had only recently changed her mind.

“I have only recently and reluctantly come to this conclusion,” the PM said.

“Since I became Prime Minister I have said that there should be no election until 2020.

“But now I have concluded that the only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions I must take.”

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