A Conservative victory in the general election will help to secure a “post-Brexit future” for Britain, a senior Cabinet minister said last night as anti-European Union MPs hailed Theresa May’s decision.
Senior Conservatives said a Tory victory in the June 8 general election will mean that Mrs May can oversee the two year negotiation period and any transitional arrangements afterwards.
Previously, Mrs May had been anticipating a rush to complete the Brexit talks by March 2019 with little time left afterwards before the 2020 general election.
Tory MPs hailed Mrs May at a meeting of the party’s 1922 committee meeting last night.
One senior Cabinet minister said that it had been a concern that formal talks were due to end in March 2019 with gave the Government little room to manoeuvre ahead of the May 2020 election.
But he said that an early election – and a Tory victory – would allow Mrs May to remain in post until 2022 and bed in the deal she negotiates with the EU.
One senior minister: “It gives us the ability to set out a post-Brexit future and the means to deliver it, which we didn’t have with the 2020 deadline.”
Sir Bill Cash, the chairman of the cross-party European Union scrutiny committee, that it would allow Mrs May to oversee two years of Brexit talks and three years of transitional arrangements.
He told The Telegraph: “She has demonstrated a will of iron and nerves of steel, and she is right .
“This effectively allows her to face down the House of Lords which is bound by the outcome of the general election based on the manifesto.
“This is going to be full Brexit – the House of Lords will have nowhere to go.”
Steve Baker, a Tory MP and board member of the Vote Leave campaign, added: “"I am delighted the PM is asking Parliament to go to the country for a mandate for her plans to make a success of Brexit.
“The public have an historic opportunity to give the PM a strong hand for a good deal."
Andrew Bridgen, the Eurosceptic Tory MP, said: “Winning an increase majority will give Theresa May a stronger mandate with the EU.
“A new Tory manifesto is needed to face the challenges of a new post Brexit Britain. It allows her a three year bedding of the terms of Britain’s exit.”
EU watchers said that the Brussels side in the talks now faced greater uncertainty.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk both end their terms in 2019.
Experts said this meant the late stages of the Brexit negotiations could be complicated by the battles over who will succeed them.
In 2019 – assuming a Conservative victory - Mrs May will only be halfway through her five year term.
At that point, May and her Tories would be less than halfway through their five-year term.