Tue, 18 Apr 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May has today announced her intention to hold a General Election on Thursday, June 8.
Mrs May said it was "necessary to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond."
Newbury MP Richard Benyon told NewburyToday that he was surprised by the announcement but understood Mrs May's desire to increase her mandate.
He said: "We can do really well and get a bigger majority and that will be a chance for people to vote, not just on Brexit and how we have responded to the referendum, but the domestic agenda which I know is important to her."
MPs will vote tomorrow (Wednesday) on whether an election should be held, with a two-thirds majority required to trigger the election.
Mrs May had said that she would rule out a snap election but in today's announcement said she had reluctantly changed her mind.
This, she said, was because Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party would oppose the government's negotiations for exiting the European Union.
"At this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division," Mrs May said.
"The country is coming together, but Westminster is not.
"Our opponents believe that because the Government's majority is so small, our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course.
"They are wrong.
"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."
Mr Benyon agreed, saying: "I think she's increasingly frustrated with the mood at Westminster where Labour said they would hold the right to vote against important legislation like the great reform bill.
"She wants to ensure that the government can get this through with a workable majority. A majority of 12 is not good."
Newbury's Liberal Democrat candidate Judith Bunting said that the election was "the best thing that could have happened."
Ms Bunting said that the election would give people a chance to vote on the "government's interpretation of Brexit."
"They either vote Conservative and get a hard Brexit, or they don't and we can stop this in it's tracks," she said.
"I think this is a good decision for the country."
For more reaction see Thursday's Newbury Weekly News.