Well, that was a surprise yesterday! I certainly was not expecting the PM to announce a general election. I was on the train down dealing with my usual mountain of emails when Lucy Powell the MP for Manchester Central tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I has seen the rumours on Twitter that there was to an early election. I had not. Within minutes it was confirmed. We are all back fighting a general election two years after the last one. As readers can imagine there is much to do. MUCH to do! If I am re-selected by the Bury North Conservatives to contest the general election this will be the sixth general election I have fought. Ususally I have been well prepared with literature written and campaign plans all in place. I now have to get to that position as quickly as possible. I am going to try and update my website as I usually do but from today I will not be undertaking to update it every single day. During election campaigns once we get into the main campaign period every day is pretty much the same. Get up, campaign, go to bed – repeat the next day.
Here in Parliament the Backbench Business Committee had a very short Committee meeting yesterday. We met only in private as there were no MP’s bidding for time. Just as well as we already have a backlog of debates we have approved and are awaiting time to allocate them. Now we know this Parliament is to be brought to an end quite probably as early as next week it is doubtful there will be anymore time.
Today, the big vote will be the vote on whether to actually have an early election. Under the provisions of the Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011 two thirds of MP’s have to vote for an election to end the five year term early. In the past the Prime Minister could have just gone to the Queen and seek a dissolution. The 2011 Act is a nonsense and should be repealed. I opposed it at the time if I can recall correctly. As I suspect today will prove how can any opposition party realistically oppose a motion to hold a general election! They would effectively be saying “no thanks we don’t want the chance to take over you are doing a a great job in government please continue! ” So I expect the motion will be passed today with the requisite majority indeed I am not even sure anyone will vote against the motion. Incidentally, the motion is now available on the order paper. It is a very short 9 words motion standing purely in the name of The Prime Minister ‘That there shall be an early parliamentary general election.’