Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning gives views on snap general election

Mike Penning is backing a general election

Mike Penning is backing a general election

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Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning has said he will be voting to hold a snap general election in parliament today.

Prime Minister Theresa May made the shock decision yesterday morning to hold an election on June 8.

Two thirds of the House of Commons will need to vote in favour of holding the snap election due to the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act that was introduced in 2011.

And Mr Penning told the Gazette he would be backing the call from Theresa May in the Commons this afternoon.

He said: “I will vote today to hold a general election.

“I found out about this decision when it was announced. But I had a gut feeling that this was a possibility.”

The news came as a shock to many, with Mrs May previously saying no election would be held until 2020.

But the PM said she had ‘reluctantly’ come to the decision that it was needed in the interests of ‘stability’.

Asked by the Gazette why he had such a gut feeling when Mrs May had consistently rejected the idea since becoming PM, he said: “We have a tiny majority in the house but there are a lot of difficult decisions and she saw that she needs a mandate to take these through.

“She wasn’t elected as a leader, but she will certainly be the leader after the election.

“I don’t think it’s a U-turn, but a common sense decision.”

Asked if she had taken into consideration recent polls, Mr Penning added: “We have an opposition leader who couldn’t run anything, so of course she takes that into consideration.

“But what she has taken most into consideration is that we need a decision on the EU and we need to make that come through, and with the majority we have that’s going to be difficult.

“Leading is about being pragmatic and getting on and doing things. She has not done anything on a whim, and she thinks things through.”

Mr Penning, who will now contest his fourth general election in Hemel, believes that Brexit will be the single biggest issue nationally, but pledge to run a ‘local’ campaign.

He said: “Last year the people of this country made the biggest decision in a generation - to leave the EU. The Prime Minister now needs to implement the clear will of the people and it is only right and proper that she makes the most of the current good opinion polls to get a larger majority.

“Quite simply, she needs to be able to get on with it without endless political game-playing from minority groups wanting to scupper Brexit at every opportunity.

“If we can secure a strong majority in Parliament we can get the clean break from the EU that this country needs. It is in the national interest that we have a strong, united Government led by Theresa May.

“I didn’t campaign on Brexit, even though my views on it were clear.

“I will do what I have always done and run on local issues.”