‘It’s not in the national interest’: Theresa May rejects calls for a general election before Brexit

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

Theresa May has rejected calls for another general election before Brexit day in 2019, insisting it is not in the national interest.

The Prime Minister dismissed reports that an election would be called in November after reports that Downing Street officials had war-gamed a winter vote.

Speaking to reporters as she flew to New York for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, Mrs May said: ‘What I’m doing is working to deliver a good deal with Europe in the national interest.

Theresa May has ruled out another election before Brexit day (Getty)
Jeremy Corbyn confirmed Labour would vote down any deal Mrs May strikes with the EU (PA)

‘It would not be in the national interest to have an election.’

After losing the Conservatives’ overall majority in the House of Commons in the snap election which she called in 2017, Mrs May is generally thought to be wary of taking the risk of going to the country early again.

Under the Fixed-Term Parliament Act, no general election is due to be held until 2022.

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But there have been reports that some within her administration believe a fresh poll could give her the comfortable majority she needs to drive through a Brexit deal in the face of increasingly robust opposition from both the Leave and Remain wings of her party.

Some Brexiteers have predicted that up to 80 Tories could vote against any deal based on her much-derided Chequers proposals.

There are also believed to be enough pro-EU Tories in the Commons to block a harder Brexit deal by voting with Labour, Liberal Democrats and the SNP.

The Prime Minister said another general election would not be in the national interest (PA)
Some Brexiteers have predicted that up to 80 Tories could vote against any deal based on the Chequers proposals (PA)

Mrs May’s comments come amid increasingly vocal demands from Labour for an early election, with shadow chancellor John McDonnell sending a challenge to the Government to ‘bring it on’.

Speaking at Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool, Jeremy Corbyn confirmed that his party is ready to vote down any agreement Mrs May reaches with Brussels if it does not meet six tests set out by shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer.

Mr Corbyn told the BBC that in this scenario, ‘the greater likelihood is that the Government will then collapse itself and we’d have an election in which I hope the people of this country would make it a choice of a different government that was serious about our relationship and serious about protecting trade’.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said Labour would support a People’s Vote on the terms of any deal (Getty)

Any Commons vote on a Brexit deal is expected to come after the middle of November, when a special Brussels summit is mooted to try to finalise the UK’s withdrawal agreement.

Sir Keir Starmer said yesterday that the option to remain could be included in a ‘People’s Vote’ on the terms of any deal struck with the EU.