South Shields MP vows to ‘fight day and night’ after surprise election call

Theresa May in Downing Street today
Theresa May in Downing Street today

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has vowed to ‘fight day and night’ to secure a Labour win in the General Election.

Prime Minister Theresa May surprised MPS this morning by calling a snap general election on June 8, claiming divisions at Westminster risked hampering the Brexit negotiations.

The Prime Minister will require the support of two-thirds of MPs to go to the country, with a vote scheduled in the Commons on Wednesday.

The move stunned Westminster, as Mrs May and Number 10 have repeatedly insisted she would not seek a general election before the scheduled 2020 poll.

But Mrs May, who has a fragile working majority of just 17 in the Commons, said she wanted “unity” at Westminster as talks on Brexit begin in earnest with the European Union.

She said: “We want a deep and special partnership between a strong and successful European Union and a United Kingdom that is free to chart its own way in the world.

Emma Lewell-Buck.

Emma Lewell-Buck.

“That means we will regain control of our own money, our own laws and our own borders and we will be free to strike trade deals with old friends and new partners all around the world.

“This is the right approach, and it is in the national interest. But the other political parties oppose it.

“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.”

Emma Lewell-Buck took to Twitter, writing: “Who is with me? Come on Shields lets get this rotten Tory Govt out, I will be fighting day & night between now & 8th June #GeneralElection.”

After seven years of people getting poorer we desperately need a change.

Stephen Hepburn

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn said: “After seven years of people getting poorer we desperately need a change.

“We have a Government that is driving our public services into the ground whilst following a needless austerity programme that is only making the rich richer at the expense of the majority. June 8th gives us the opportunity to say ‘no more’ and deliver a fairer society for all.”

Jonathan Walker, head of policy and campaigns with the North East England Chamber of Commerce said the reason for calling the election was less important than what happened next: “There will be a huge amount of speculation about the PM’s motivation for calling for a general election,” he said.

“Whatever the reasoning, the onus is on all parties to demonstrate how they will deliver fair economic growth for businesses in the North East and help the UK secure the best possible Brexit deal.”

Stephen Hepburn

Stephen Hepburn

Under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, general elections take place every five years, meaning Mrs May would have had to carry on until 2020 before the chance to strengthen her position.

In order to call the early election, she will need the support of two-thirds of the 650 MPs in the Commons - but Labour is expected to support her, as any opposition would look weak if it did not agree to the chance to take office.

Senior Tories have urged Mrs May to call an early election, taking advantage of the Conservatives’ healthy opinion poll lead over Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour.

Mrs May suggested she reached her decision over the Easter parliamentary recess - during which she went on a walking holiday in North Wales.

“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.

Prime Minister Theresa May is to make a statement in Downing Street after Cabinet on Tuesday

Prime Minister Theresa May is to make a statement in Downing Street after Cabinet on Tuesday

“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.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has welcomed Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election, saying his party would offer an “effective alternative” to the Tories.

Mr Corbyn said the Prime Minister’s surprise decision to call an election on June 8, almost three years earlier than the next scheduled ballot, would give the people the chance to vote for a government that will put the “majority first”.

The Labour leader indicated that his MPs would support Mrs May’s demand for an early election, which will require the backing of two-thirds of all MPs.

He said: “I welcome the Prime Minister’s decision to give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first.

“Labour will be offering the country an effective alternative to a Government that has failed to rebuild the economy, delivered falling living standards and damaging cuts to our schools and NHS.

“In the last couple of weeks, Labour has set out policies that offer a clear and credible choice for the country. We look forward to showing how Labour will stand up for the people of Britain.”