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Brent Central MP condemns Theresa May’s ‘opportunistic’ general election announcement

PUBLISHED: 13:07 18 April 2017 | UPDATED: 13:19 19 April 2017

Left to right: Barry Gardiner, Tulip Siddiq and Dawn Butler

Left to right: Barry Gardiner, Tulip Siddiq and Dawn Butler

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The Labour MP for Brent Central has called Prime Minister Theresa May “opportunistic” for announcing a snap general election in June.

Prime minister Theresa May outside No 10 Downing Street, London, announcing a snap general election on June 8. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire/PA Images. Prime minister Theresa May outside No 10 Downing Street, London, announcing a snap general election on June 8. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire/PA Images.

Dawn Butler MP has said that the general election in two month’s time is a “Brexit election” aimed at distracting people from the ongoing negotiations.

Theresa May spoke outside Downing Street this morning saying the vote on June 8 was in the “national interest”.

The move comes less than a year after Britain voted in a national referendum to leave the European Union.

Ms Butler said: “I’m in shock but then to be honest I expected that the prime minister would do something like this. She said she wouldn’t but she’s broken a lot of promises.

“It’s quite opportunistic and she obviously wants to distract everybody from her Brexit negotiations. This is not going to stop a hard Brexit, on the contrary she’s going for a hard Brexit and as a country we need to decide what we want.

“If you ask me if I’d rather have an election I’d say no but this is an opportunity to highlight the hypocrisy of this failing government.”

Ms Butler had a landslide win in Brent Central in 2015 after Sarah Teather stood down for the Liberal Democrats.

She added: “We never take anything for granted. I always work to give it 100 per cent and put all my efforts into it. I’ve dealt with a record number of cases, I make sure my constituents are up to date with what I’m doing.

“This is probably a Brexit election and I don’t believe the country is going in the right direction with this Conservative government.

“It’s a shock, there is a bit of election fatigue of there but I hope people will come out and vote and I hope they will vote Labour. I hope people look at our policies to make this country fairer.”

In Mrs May’s address she said: “The country is coming together but Westminster is not.”

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

“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.”

Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North, said he would vote to allow the election as he welcomes the “opportunity to present a clear alternative for our country and the people of Brent.”

He added: “The Prime Minister says this election is about forcing Brexit through an unwilling House of Commons. That is not true.

“She is calling the election now because she fears she cannot negotiate all the things she has promised and that the deal will not be acceptable to the British people.

I and the Labour Party are clear. We will continue to argue that a hard Brexit will damage jobs and the economy.”

He continued: “Labour’s alternative is practical. It focuses on policies that are common sense and will make a real difference - homes for young families, decent wages instead of living off in-work benefits, financial security for the elderly, investing in our infrastructure, cleaning up our polluted air.

“I look forward to discussing this vision with residents as I go round from door to door in the coming weeks.”

Tulip Siddiq MP, who represents the hotly contested seat of Hampstead and Kilburn said: “My work over the last two years as the MP for my home seat of Hampstead and Kilburn has been the greatest honour I could have wished for.

“Local residents have always been at the heart of my work. I have continued the fight against HS2, stood up to devastating cuts to our schools and GP closures, and pushed for greater funding for our NHS.

“Theresa May is now demanding a mandate for a hard Brexit that was never on the ballot - and we must say no. No to job losses, no to uncertainty for 18,000 local EU nationals and no to a bonfire of workers’ rights.

“Once again the Conservatives are putting party politics above our national interest.”

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