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Gloucestershire Business News

Prime Minister calls a snap Election-LOCAL REACTION

Prime Minister Theresa May today announced a General Election on June 8 and local business leaders have been reacting to the shock news.

Mrs May caught everyone on the hop saying the Election was essential to guarantee stability during Brexit.

Ian Mean, Director, Business West Gloucestershire said: "The Prime Minister now needs to have more than a wafer thin majority in the Commons for a strong mandate to get through the ongoing complex Brexit negotiations over the next few years.

"We have already seen the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats opposing various Brexit motions and committing themselves to oppose ongoing legislation which will be vital to us leaving the EU.

"This is a big gamble by the Prime Minister. She was in effect saying to Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader: Put up or shut up.

"Mrs May has challenged him to agree to the General Election—she needs a two thirds majority vote in the Commons tomorrow to hold the General Election. Half an hour after her announcement, Jeremy Corbyn agreed that Labour would support the vote for the poll on June 8.

"Holding the General Election on that date will means that Mrs May will have the benefit of the results of the local elections being held on May 10—just like Mrs Thatcher had done previously.

"And just after Mrs May had spoken, we saw a new You Gov poll which puts the Conservatives 21 per cent ahead of Labour with 44 per cent.

"All the signs are that the Labour Party on current standing will suffer badly in the election with commentators believing that Labour could well lose dozens of seats.

"The vote of business will be an important factor in the June 8 poll with the evidence of Business West surveys saying that many companies are very concerned about the uncertainty being created by the Brexit negotiations."

Chris Price, partner at Tayntons Solicitors in Gloucester said: "My initial reaction is that it is unnecessary and probably an unwelcome distraction."

But Gloucester MP Richard Graham welcomed the Election announcement.

He said it was "A chance for her and our post Brexit mandate, for a new manifesto in a different world and for a solid Parliamentary majority to see the job through successfully."

Kevan Blackadder, director of Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID), said: "I can understand why the Prime Minister is calling a snap general election politically. But that doesn't mean it is what our businesses need.

"Since the Brexit vote, they have been crying out for stability and to be able to get on with business as normal. A General Election will inevitably mean that many decisions are put on hold and that isn't what we need at present."

Earlier, the Prime Minister said her political opponents were under estimating her determination to get the job done.

Speaking outside 10, Downing Street, the Prime Minister said: "I want to explain the reasons for that decision (calling the General Election), what will happen next and the choice facing the British people when you come to vote.

"Last summer after the country voted to leave the European Union Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership.

"And since I became Prime Minister that Government has delivered precisely that.

"Despite predictions of immediate financial and economic danger, since the referendum we have seen consumer confidence remain high, record numbers of jobs and economic growth has exceeded all expectations.

"Britain is leaving the European Union and there can be no turning back. As we look to the future the Government has the right plan for negotiating our new relationship with Europe. We want a deep and special partnership between a strong and successful EU and a United Kingdom that is free to chart its own way in the world.

"That means we will regain control of our own money, our own laws and our own borders as we will be free to strike trade deals with old friends and new partners all around the world."

The Prime Minister said the country was coming together under Brexit but there was division amongst the political parties at Westminster.

"And unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way," said the Prime Minister. "Our opponents believe that because the Government's majority is so small that our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to chance course.

"They are wrong. They underestimate our determination to get the job done."

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