Anne Main backs the motion for an early General Election

19th April 2017

Speaking in the House of Commons, Anne Main backs an early General Election as it will ensure the best possible outcome for the country in the negotiations to leave the European Union.

Anne said: ‘I know that this Government, who have delivered so much already and have so much more to deliver, will have resonance with the British public when they look at what is on offer from the other parties, which are divided, wrangling, scaremongering and in Brexit denial. This Government will give us the best deal for all our businesses and all our constituencies’.

I welcome the courage that the Prime Minister has shown in taking to the public this question: who do they expect to lead the country for the next five years? Having listened to the speech made by the right hon. Member for Moray (Angus Robertson), I can honestly assure them that it will not be him. I think that the public will have to think long and hard, because Brexit is happening.

 

Will the hon. Lady give way?

 

No. The debate is time-limited, and I want everyone to have a chance to speak.

This not about us in here; it is about delivering to the British public the future that they deserve. It is about delivering the best possible outcome for this country as we leave the European Union. I know that when the election takes place on 8 June, individual Members may well find themselves in difficulties with their constituencies because of whatever views they have expressed about leadership, but I am proud to be standing behind a Prime Minister who has made it brutally clear that this is about not making gains in this place, but delivering a Brexit that is for the good of the European Union, that is not just for—[Interruption.] Well, it is for the good of the European Union as well, because our future relationship with the European Union will be hugely important.

The question that will be posed in our constituencies is this: which of the party leaders who could be Prime Minister should be Prime Minister after the election? That is what we will be asking the country. Does the country believe that the right hon. Member for Islington North (Jeremy Corbyn) could lead it? I suspect that a large number of the right hon. Gentleman’s Back-Bench colleagues would say no, and that the businesses in my constituency would say no as well. Does the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Farron)—his voting record and attendance in the House, along with those of his colleagues, is generally pretty low; two Liberal Democrats are present today, but none were here to vote on the Budget yesterday—really believe that he can lead the country? I suggest that the answer is no.

I suggest that the British public, when deciding who to vote for on 8 June, will look forward with confidence to a Prime Minister with an increased mandate to take us through the next five years, and I am delighted that she is giving the country this opportunity to examine our record. Since 2010, there has been a 73% drop in youth unemployment in St Albans—[Interruption.] I hear the Liberal Democrats again. I have to say that I hear nothing from the third-placed Liberal Democrat who stood as a candidate in my constituency to defend St Albans. It is surprising that the Liberal Democrats should be more interested in campaigning than in running the country.

Our party and our Government have taken a strong stance. As I said, youth unemployment in St Albans has fallen by two thirds since 2010, and there has also been a 76% increase in the number of young people taking up apprenticeships. That is the record that we will be putting to the public. Brexit is happening and we are going to make the best of it. Our Prime Minister should not have to suffer 100 unelected Liberal Democrats in the other place, and nine in this place who rarely turn up, trying to tug her tail.

 

Will the hon. Lady give way?

 

No. I am about to finish my speech.

We need to make the future secure for all our young people and all our families. The game-playing in this place does a disservice to the British public. They are probably fed up with having elections anyway, but let us get on with it and get a mandate for our Prime Minister—[Interruption.] May I say to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Yardley (Jess Phillips) that the public do not respect the fact that people yell from the Back Benches? She can speak up for her own leader, her own manifesto and her own party, and she can explain why she believes her leader, the right hon. Member for Islington North, is the right person to take the country through the next five years. I do not share her conviction, but she obviously has a lot of confidence in his capabilities.

I know that this Government, who have delivered so much already and have so much more to deliver, will have resonance with the British public when they look at what is on offer from the other parties, which are divided, wrangling, scaremongering and in Brexit denial. This Government will give us the best deal for all our businesses and all our constituencies.

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