Published: 18/04/2017 15:46 - Updated: 18/04/2017 15:49

Sutherland MP - 'I am not planning on going anywhere'.

Paul Monaghan - 'Mrs May's tone was aggressive'.
Paul Monaghan - 'Mrs May's tone was aggressive'.

SUTHERLAND MP Paul Monaghan says he is “not going anywhere” despite Prime Minister Theresa May’s calls for an early general election today.

The Conservative leader shocked the UK this morning  with the announcement that she hopes to hold a snap vote on June 8, just seven weeks from now.

Mrs May said the country needs certainty, stability and strong leadership but it is thought she is seizing an opportunity to take seats from Labour, who have dropped in popularity in recent months.

MPs are due to vote tomorrow  on whether to hold an early election.

This shocked Paul Monaghan, MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, but he is not worried about the future of the SNP.

“I was very surprised by this as only a few days ago Theresa May was saying she felt the country was becoming more united,” he said.

“I was also surprised at the tone Theresa May used, it was almost aggressive. She seems to think this election will unite the country and give her a mandate for a hard Brexit.

“I’m definitely not planning on going anywhere and I don’t think any of my fellow SNP colleagues will be planning on it either.”

Mrs May became Prime Minister when David Cameron resigned following the vote to leave the European Union last June.

Announcing her plans outside 10 Downing Street today, she said the decision came as a result of opposition parties and members of the House of Lords threatening to vote against Brexit plans.

“Britain is leaving the European Union and there can be no turning back,” she said.

“As we look to the future, the government has the right plan for negotiating our new relationship with Europe.

“Our opponents believe that because the government’s majority is so small, our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course. They are wrong.

“If we do not hold a general election now their political game-playing will continue, and the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run-up to the next scheduled election.

“Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country.

“So we need a general election and we need one now, because we have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin.”

A two thirds majority (434 MPs) will be required for her to hold an election before the next scheduled year of 2020 and this is expected to be approved, as all 330 Conservative members are expected to vote in favour and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said his 229 MPs will not oppose the plan.

But Mr Monaghan is not so convinced, due to the lack of support Mr Corbyn has from some of his party. Many Labour MPs may also be reluctant to put their seat on the line due to the party’s slipping popularity

Mr Monaghan said: “This is probably opportunism by Mrs May as she knows Labour is in such disarray and it is a chance for the Conservatives to pick up a few more seats, as well as give her a mandate as Prime Minister.

“She still has a major hurdle to overcome however as she has to get a two thirds majority in the vote.

“Jeremy Corbyn has difficulty asserting his authority across the party at the moment so even if he is saying Labour will vote in favour, a lot of them may not. I don’t think many of them will relish the opportunity at the moment, given the party’s popularity.”

“I think the Conservatives will gain seats from Labour and UKIP might do well in the south east of England. I think SNP will do well across Scotland again.

“This will give the people of Scotland another opportunity to make their views on Brexit known, as we voted very strongly against last year but that has not been listened to by Conservatives at Westminster.”

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