Kent Messenger Column - 20-04-17
Ever since the tumultuous events that followed the referendum result less than 10 months ago it has been my strong view that our country needed stability and certainty as we navigated our course to leave the EU. General elections do not usually lend themselves to such outcomes and I, like the PM, felt strongly that an early vote would not be in our country's best interests.
On the doorsteps of Maidstone & The Weald I sense a society now starting to heal from the divisions of last year's vote. Regardless of how people voted, the predominant view coming across is 'we are where we are' and that the country should now unite to make the very best of the opportunities and successfully handle the threats.
Of late, however, the pragmatic view of the public has not been reflected in Westminster, with party politicking in both the Commons and the Lords seeking to undermine a strong EU negotiating position.
All of the above revolves around our departure from the EU but there are other very serious issues that will also require strong, stable leadership to protect the best interests of all British people; instability in Europe and the eurozone, the North Korean crisis, Syria, a new Turkish constitution, Donald Trump generally, and whatever else the world has to throw at us over time. Domestically too our NHS and social care are but two of the mammoth tasks we must get right and drive through assertively.
With a Commons working majority of only 17 in a house of 650 MPs, Theresa May has reluctantly, but in my opinion bravely, come to the decision that she must seek a stronger mandate from the country. It is a vote that can take us safely beyond departure from the EU within a new 5-year Parliament to 2022, I share that approach and she has my full support.