A LABOUR MP has already quit in the wake of Theresa May’s shock decision to call a snap General Election for June 8 – as the party faces electoral wipeout under Jeremy Corbyn, The Sun reports.
Tom Blenkinsop announced his resignation just minutes after the Prime Minister stunned Westminster with her decision. The Prime Minister had repeatedly denied that she would call an election before the next scheduled poll in 2020.
Blenkinsop, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, tweeted following the news: “I will not be standing for re-election.” Blenkinsop has consistently been a staunch critic of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – who today refused to say he’ll stand down if Labour loses the election.
In a statement he said: “I have made no secret about my significant and irreconcilable differences with the current Labour leadership. It is because of these differences I feel I cannot in good faith stand as the Labour candidate for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland.
“Representing the people of Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland has been the proudest years of my life.
“I will do all I can in my time remaining as an MP to champion my constituents and the area that means so much to me, as I have been proud to do over the last 7 years.”
Only last week Blenkinsop criticised Corbyn after Labour lost a Middlesbrough council seat to the Tories on a by-election swing of eight per cent. A new opinion poll released after Mrs May’s announcement has nearly half of Brits supporting the Conservatives.
The YouGov survey has them on 44 per cent, 21 points ahead of Labour on 23 per cent, with the Lib Dems on 12 per cent and Ukip on ten per cent.
Some polls place Jeremy Corbyn behind Ukip leader Paul Nuttall in terms of public approval. Recent surveys show Corbyn’s hapless leadership has given Theresa May’s Conservative government the biggest lead over Labour since Gordon Brown’s disastrous tenure in Number 10.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn 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.”
Commenting on the Prime Minister’s call for a General Election, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “This election is your chance to change the direction of our country.
“If you want to avoid a disastrous Hard Brexit. If you want to keep Britain in the Single Market. If you want a Britain that is open, tolerant and united, this is your chance. “Only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the Tories “see a chance to move the UK to the right, force through a hard Brexit and impose deeper cuts” and added “let’s stand up for Scotland”.
May today claimed divisions at Westminster risked hampering the Brexit negotiations. The PM will require the support of two-thirds of MPs to go to the country, with a vote scheduled in the Commons on Wednesday.
It is understood May spoke with the Queen yesterday about her decision. Today former PM David Cameron tweeted in support of the decision, writing: “Brave – and right – decision by PM @Theresa_May. My very best wishes to all Conservative candidates. @Conservatives.”
It is understood Sir Lynton Crosby has been hired for Theresa May’s general election campaign, after delivering surprise win for Cameron in 2015.
Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas welcomed an early vote at a time when “Britain is at a crossroads” and said the people should be given a say over the country’s future direction.
She promised the Greens would present a “bold, positive vision for a different kind of Britain”.
“At this election we will stand for an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few; a Britain that’s open to the world and the protection of our precious environment,” Ms Lucas said.
“We will stand up to the politics of hatred and division that is scarring our communities and give people across the country a chance to vote for a better Britain.”
Her co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, said the announcement of a snap election, following a string of denials there would be an early vote, revealed a “deep dishonesty at the heart of government”.