PRIME Minister Theresa May has misjudged the mood of the public in calling a shock snap election, Sussex MPs have said.
Mrs May caught even her own MPs by surprise when she announced she would ask Parliament to sanction an election on June 8 to bring “certainty” and “stability” ahead of Brexit negotiations.
The Prime Minister, who requires a two-thirds majority in a Commons vote today, faces criticism over the decision having previously ruled out calling an election before 2020.
Hove MP Peter Kyle said her true intentions were to take advantage of Labour lagging in the polls and her desire to get her party out of the “hot water” of an electoral fraud trial.
Conservative MPs praised Mrs May for her “courage” in calling an election almost three years early and less than nine months into her leadership.
Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas said Mrs May’s desire for an “extreme Brexit” had misjudged the nation’s views and she had neither the mandate for such an exit from the EU nor a personal mandate as Prime Minister.
But she told The Argus she welcomed the election which she said represented a real opportunity for the Green Party to make significant progress.
And she said that talks over an alliance with other progressive parties needed to start soon to prevent Conservative candidates winning seats.
Mr Kyle said the public was not in the mood for a General Election and the PM had taken the decision for the benefit of her party and not “in the best interests of the public”.
The Hove MP said an election would take up time that should be used preparing for Brexit negotiations while MPs challenging the process were trying to “scrutinise” not “stymie” her efforts to lead the UK out of the EU.
He added: “We need a 21st century leader but the Prime Minister is behaving more like Charles I with every day she is in the job. If Theresa May thinks the public are just going to skip merrily along to her tune, she is in for the shock of her life.”
Former Brighton Kemptown MP Sir Andrew Bowden warned Conservative MPs still harbouring strong Remain feelings should stand down before the election.
Sir Andrew, Leave campaign president in Brighton and Hove, said he was delighted the PM had the “courage” to call a General Election.
He added: “Her small majority was always likely to prevent the Government from getting their Brexit agreement through Parliament.
“We now have a great opportunity to replace the current MPs in Hove and Pavilion, Mr Kyle and Dr Lucas, who hold extreme left-wing views and who have been working to undermine Brexit.”
CONSERVATIVES BACK MAY’S SHOCK ANNOUNCEMENT
CONSERVATIVE MPs have backed Theresa May’s shock election decision even though it puts their own futures in doubt.
Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby said the election would give the country stability and certainty for five years beyond the UK’s exit from the EU.
The Conservative MP, who will defend the country’s 20th smallest majority, said the alternative was a “weak and unstable” coalition led by Jeremy Corbyn.
Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell said the move was inevitable because other political parties intended to “reverse or frustrate” Brexit.
Crawley MP Henry Smith said the PM was right to call an election because she needed the backing of the country going into negotiations with the EU.
He said a UK election would not cause considerable delay in the EU negotiations because Europe was waiting for the outcome of French and German elections.
He denied that the decision to hold an election having previously ruled out such a move would damage Theresa May describing her as a very straight-talking and pragmatic individual who had taken the decision in accordance to the circumstances at the time.
He added: “I don’t think having a democratic debate as opening up old wounds.
“There will be rigorously held opinions and that’s a good thing for democracy.”
Brighton and Hove Green Party co-chairman Davy Jones said it was “essential” as many non Tory MPs as possible were elected across Sussex and his party was “up for discussing how best to do that”.
Cllr Michael Inkpin-Leissner, until last month a Labour councillor, said he hoped June 8 would be the political end of Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and John McDonnell.
Fellow Brighton and Hove councillor Tom Bewick said Labour could win the election if it articulated a strong post-Brexit Britain where “federalism, social justice and direct democracy” rules.
A VOTE in the House of Commons today requires two-thirds agreement, ie opposition parties to back Theresa May’s plans for an election.
If approved, Parliament will probably break up on May 3 to allow just over a month of campaigning before an election on Thursday, June 8.
Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on Friday, March 29, 2019, with negotiations with other nations not due to start until June.
An average of opinion polls published in April puts the Conservatives on 43 per cent compared to 25 per cent for Labour.
The Conservatives have 330 seats, Labour 229, the SNP 54, the Lib Dems nine, Plaid Cymru three and The Green Party one.