Saturday, 30 March 2019

'The last thing this country needs right now is a General Election'

A Cabinet minister has warned that a general election is 'the last thing the country needs right now' as Britain is gripped by Brexit protests following Theresa May's failure to pass her deal on Friday.

Thousands descended on Westminster last night and the chaos continued this morning when a lone protester stopped Eurostar trains for hours by climbing onto the roof of London St Pancras station. 

The anger comes as rebel MPs are set to try and force through a soft Brexit next week and the country's departure from the EU looks almost certain to be delayed by many months.

Chris Grayling voiced his opposition to a general election after Mrs May signalled the nation could be going to the polls following her defeat in the Commons. 

The Transport Secretary said Mrs May and her Cabinet would hold discussions this weekend on how to go proceed, but warned that an election would be a last resort because of the chaos it would bring.

He told Sky News: 'I think the last thing this country needs right now is a general election, we have got to sort out the Brexit process. 

'We cannot throw everything up in the air. I know Jeremy Corbyn might like it, it is why he has voted against his own policy today, but I do not see how this country benefits from the chaos of a six or seven week general election campaign.'

Mr Grayling, who ran Mrs May's 2016 leadership campaign, said he did not believe the Prime Minister should step down yet.

'Theresa May has already said she is going to go, but in the middle of this situation I do not think it would help to have an immediate Conservative leadership contest,' he said.   

The Prime Minister could call an early election, giving just six weeks' notice, if she has the backing of two-thirds of MPs, according to the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.

Another route to a general election would be if a motion of no confidence in the Government is passed by a majority of MPs and no alternative government is formed within 14 days. 

Conservative ministers and MPs are likely to demand that Mrs May is replaced by a new party leader before an election takes place.

The timetable and rules for a leadership contest would be set by the 1922 executive committee and then approved by the Conservative party's board.


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