General Election in June says Theresa May
PUBLISHED: 12:38 18 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:00 19 April 2017
A General Election for Thursday, June 8 has been called by Prime Minister Theresa May.
Sir Alan Haselhurst the Conservative MP for Saffron Walden, who has represented the constituency, including Saffron Walden, and Great Dunmow for 40 years this year, says he is “fit and ready to stand”.
Sir Alan, first elected to the seat on July 7, 1977, said on hearing the news: “I am fit and ready to go.”
He said the decision was not entirely up to him. “It’s up to the association to adopt me as the candidate. I am available to stand, if Parliament approves the election.”
The MP, who will be 80 on June 23, added: “There were some voices who felt that I should resign, but they were a very small majority. The general belief is that age is not material whether you are 21 or whatever. It is up to the association whether they select me or a younger candidate. A decision will have to be made and I think it might be very quickly.”
Before the election call, Sir Alan was about to mark his four decades, except as he says: “There will now be a general election before that can be reached.”
Mrs May, who replaced David Cameron as prime minister in July last year, said the Cabinet had agreed to call an early election.
The move takes place against the backdrop of the country’s decision to leave the European Union in last year’s referendum.
Justifying the decision, Mrs May said: “The country is coming together but Westminster is not.”
She said the “division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit”.
Explaining her change of heart on an early election, Mrs May said: “I have concluded the only way to guarantee certainty and security for years ahead is to hold this election.”
Mrs May said she was acting now because of the opposition in Parliament to the Government’s plans for Brexit.
“Our opponents believe because the Government’s majority is so small that our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change. They are wrong,” she said.
“They under-estimate our determination to get the job done and I am not prepared to let them endanger the security of millions of working people across the country, because what they are doing jeopardises the work we must do to prepare for Brexit at home and it weakens the Government’s negotiating position in Europe.”
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.”
Mrs May suggested she reached her decision over the Easter parliamentary recess, following previous denials that she would call an early vote.
“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.”
Earlier this morning, the pound took a sharp turn in morning trading, tumbling into the red as investors speculated over the content of the statement.
The pound lowered by 0.3% against the US dollar to trade at 1.251, having traded higher by around 0.17% earlier in the morning.
Versus the euro, the pound slumped more than 0.4% to trade at 1.175, losing previous gains of more than 0.1%.