Sunday 19 November 2017

All the times Theresa May said there would not be a snap election

By Taylor Heyman

A spokesman said last month: “There is no change in our position on an early general election, that there isn’t going to be one.”

Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to call a snap general election for June 8 was a surprise to many given her previous assertions that she would not call Britons back to the ballot box before 2020.

Explaining her U-turn, May claimed divisions at Westminster risked hampering Brexit negotiations, saying: “At this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division.”

Here, we look back at the times she assured the country a snap election was not required.

Launching her leadership bid

Right from the start of her campaign to replace David Cameron as Tory leader, May was clear on her views about a snap election as a reaction to the Brexit vote.

At the start of a speech announcing her candidacy for leadership of the Conservative Party last June, she said: “There should be no general election until 2020.”

Her first interview as PM

In her first major interview after taking office, May told the BBC’s Andrew Marr the country needed stability and that calling an election would jeopardise that.

She said: “I’m not going to be calling a snap election. I’ve been very clear that I think we need that period of time, that stability – to be able to deal with the issues that the country is facing and have that election in 2020.”

Downing Street

As late as March 20, May’s staff continued to rule out an early election. Her official spokesman told a Westminster media briefing: “There is no change in our position on an early general election, that there isn’t going to be one… It is not going to happen.

“There is a Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. We have been clear that there isn’t going to be an early general election and the Prime Minister is getting on with delivering the will of the British people.”

Press Association

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