Oxfordshire MPs have responded to Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to call a snap General Election to secure the “strong leadership this country needs” in the midst of Brexit negotiations.
The PM made the surprise statement outside Number 10 Downing Street on Tuesday following a cabinet meeting and announced the election would take place on June 8, despite previously saying there would not be another election before 2020.
She said: “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.”
Now local MPs, five of which are Conservatives, are coming forward and asking people to make a choice.
John Howell, MP for Henley, said: “It is important that the country understands that a strong and stable Government is in all our interests.
“Every vote cast for Theresa May and the Conservatives will count to strengthen Britain’s hand on the international stage.
“The choice is therefore between a strong and stable leadership in the national interest with Theresa May and the Conservatives – or a weak and unstable government led by Jeremy Corbyn.”
Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire, said: “The Prime Minister’s decision to hold an early election is the right one. It demonstrates that she has been listening to the public and is determined to ensure that she has a strong mandate behind her before our detailed talks with the European Union begin.
“I look forward to supporting the Prime Minister in the Division lobby and making the most of this one-off chance to provide the country with the stability and certainty it needs as we steer a new course outside the European Union.”
Robert Courts, MP for Witney and West Oxfordshire, said: “Since the by-election six months ago, I have worked tirelessly for the people of West Oxfordshire.
“With a General Election likely, all Conservative MPs will of course look forward to making the case for the Conservatives to provide strong compassionate leadership locally and nationally.
Nicola Blackwood, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, said: “As we go in to Brexit negotiations we need certainty and security for the country with a strong and stable Government, so an election now will help to provide this.
“I have demonstrated my commitment to fighting for Oxford West & Abingdon’s priorities over the past seven years and I hope that residents will continue to trust me to deliver this.”
Wantage MP, the Conservative Ed Vaizey was unavailable for comment.
Oxford East MP Andrew Smith is to step down after 30 years in the seat.
The MP has thanked constituents and Labour members for their years of support, but has decided to bow out after PM Theresa May’s shock announcement of a general election on June 8.
In his statement he said: “It has been a huge privilege to serve as MP for Oxford East, and we have achieved so much together. This election is for a Parliament which is likely to run until 2022, when I would be over 71, so I think it is now time for someone else to take forward the work of serving local people as your MP. I will therefore not be a candidate in the election.
“My belief and confidence in the values of fairness which Labour stands for are as strong as ever, and I will work tirelessly to help secure the election of a Labour MP for Oxford East, carrying forward the service which Oxford Labour gives our local community. ”
He added: “It is always hard to give up a job you love, but that time comes.”