Sajid Javid warns against calling snap election amid Brexit chaos: 'The people would never forgive us'

'The last thing this country needs is a general election – I think the people would never forgive us for that'

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
@ashcowburn
Sunday 03 February 2019 12:19
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Sajid Javid on June snap election rumours: 'Last thing this country needs is a general election... the people would never forgive us for it'

Sajid Javid has said the last thing the country needs is an early general election, as he warned: "The people would never forgive us for it".

His remarks come amid reports that Downing Street strategists have discussed 6 June as potential date for Theresa May to call a vote as the party’s headquarters also hiked its spending on digital advertising.

The warning from the home secretary also follows a fresh poll giving the Conservatives a seven-point lead over Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour after a week in which the prime minister managed to secure a temporary truce with the hardline Brexiteers in her party.

“The last thing this country needs is a general election,” he told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show when asked about an early election.

“I think the people would never forgive us for it. What they want is for this parliament to deliver Brexit in an orderly way that’s what they are looking for,” he added.

“I know the Conservative Party headquarters is only planning on one set of elections this year which are the local government elections.”

According to separate reports in both The Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday plans are being considered for an early vote in Whitehall, but a Downing Street source described claims of a June election as "rubbish".

Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, the next vote is scheduled for May 2022. But there are two possible routes for the legislation to be unpicked to allow for an early vote: either the prime minister dissolves parliament and calls an election after gaining the support of two-thirds of MPs in the Commons, or a motion of no confidence is passed in the government with a simple majority of MPs.

On Saturday, Mr Javid’s opposite number, Diane Abbott, told The Independent that her party is “general election ready” and has a war chest set aside to fund an early vote.

The shadow home secretary claimed that Labour had selected the vast majority of its parliamentary candidates in marginal constituencies and that members of the shadow cabinet have been having meetings with civil service chiefs in preparations for a potential government.

During his appearance on the Andrew Marr programme, Mr Javid also echoed comments from his cabinet colleague Liam Fox and said he did not support remaining in some sort of customs union as a way to break the Brexit deadlock at Westminster.

"In principle I am totally against a customs union because it would not, in my view, deliver on Brexit because we need to be able to have our own independent trade policy. That is number one," he said.

"Practically, I don't think it would get a majority because whilst you might gain some Labour votes ... you would also lose votes on the Conservative side.

"I don't actually think you would get a majority so I just think it's a complete non-starter and if Jeremy Corbyn is serious he should start having serious talks with the prime minister in the national interest."

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