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Norwich MP Clive Lewis explains why he was just one of 13 MPs to vote against snap general election on June 8

PUBLISHED: 17:26 19 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:56 19 April 2017

Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. Picture: PA Wire

Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. Picture: PA Wire

Britain will go to the polls on June 8, after MPs cleared the way for an early general election.

Theresa May easily cleared the hurdle needed under the Fixed Term Parliament Act to bring the poll forward from the scheduled date of 2020.

With the Prime Minister needing the support of 434 MPs - two thirds of all seats in the House of Commons - some 522 voted for the early election, with just 13 against.

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis, who has had to curtail his honeymoon because of the election, was one of the MPs who voted against it.

MORE: ‘The honeymoon has had to go’ - how the snap election has hit wedding plans of Norwich South MP Clive Lewis

Explaining his vote against, he said: “The key thing here is the fixed term parliament act was put in place by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to give them some sort of protection against destabilisation and a general election being called before they wanted one.

“Now Theresa May feels she wants a general election and she bypasses it. That’s not what it was there for.

MORE: All hands on deck - councils scramble to host snap general election in “very tight timescale”

“She lied to the British public about calling an early election and she’s just playing a political game at such a critical time.

“I could have abstained, but I wanted to make a positive statement. It’s not that I’m scared of a general election, I’m not. We should always be prepared to face the electorate, but there are messages here and a narrative that I felt I needed to get across.”

Yesterday, the Labour MP, who won the Norwich South seat from the Liberal Democrats two years ago with a majority of 7,654, had accused the prime minister of “cynical political opportunism”.

MORE: Conservatives cannot take election for granted, warns North-West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham

He said: “She’s blaming Labour and she’s blaming the Liberal Democrats. Come on, it’s about her own internal opposition and she’s not doing this in the best interests of the country.

“Who on earth would hold a general election at the start of the most critical talks in the history of this nation’s history?

“She’s playing politics with our futures. The argument that she wants a mandate doesn’t stack up either. If she wanted a mandate, why didn’t she call a general election as soon as she became prime minister without anybody having a vote?

“This is all about the self-serving interests of Theresa May. There’s so much cynical political opportunism about this that it’s hard to know where to begin.”

MORE: It’s going to be a most peculiar election” - Broadland MP Keith Simpson confirms he will stand again

But James Wright, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Norwich South, said: “Clive Lewis is running scared of a general election because he knows how unpopular Labour’s decision was to give the Tories a blank cheque for a hard Brexit.

“This election is a chance to change the direction of the country. People in Norwich South voted decisively to Remain in the EU.

“They deserve to be represented by a party that is united in opposing a destructive hard Brexit. The Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to the Conservative Brexit Government and the only party fighting for a Britain that is open, tolerant and united.”

There was never any real doubt about Mrs May securing the backing needed to go to the country, with both Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat Tim Farron saying they welcomed the election - though Scottish National Party MPs abstained in the vote.

The 13 MPs who voted against the early election

Thirteen MPs - including nine Labour - voted against Prime Minister Theresa May’s motion calling for an early general election.

This included Labour’s Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley), Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley), Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme), Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse), Clive Lewis (Norwich South), Fiona Mactaggart (Slough), Liz McInnes (Heywood and Middleton), Dennis Skinner (Bolsover) and Graham Stringer (Blackley and Broughton).

Three independents: Lady Hermon (North Down), Natalie McGarry (Glasgow East) and Michelle Thomson (Edinburgh West).

One SDLP: Alasdair McDonnell (Belfast South).

SDLP MPs Margaret Ritchie (South Down) and Mark Durkan (Foyle) acted as tellers for the noes

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9 comments

  • May has called a GE because she wants to consolidate her position before she negotiates a soft Brexit. By pushing the post-Brexit GE back to 2022 it gives her time to deal with the inevitable right-wing backlash.

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    Cyril the Canary

    Thursday, April 20, 2017

  • For together read to get rid !!!

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    Muddy

    Thursday, April 20, 2017

  • Why is this news for Yarmouth mercury? We have our own Lewis together of !! Local news please . Getting like look east ,Essex and more Essex !!

    Report this comment

    Muddy

    Thursday, April 20, 2017

  • Because he suspects himself that he will be job hunting on the 9th June after his parachute payment. At least his summer holiday will be financed.

    Report this comment

    Cryptic

    Thursday, April 20, 2017

  • Thankfully we all have just one vote and we will see if the voters want to see Clive Lewis elected. We might then get some peace from the Norwich whinges. As for the 'north of the border' well May said said they could not have a referendum because another vote would disturb the brexit negotiations and then she decides to have a general election . Hypocrisy springs to mind. She is incompetent and out of her depth. She is a potential demagogue with an intolerant streak

    Report this comment

    Alchemist

    Wednesday, April 19, 2017

  • No Clive Mrs May has not lied about calling an election but has seized a moment of disarray to consolidate her position, get rid of the faint hearted and put the idiots in their places who wish to sabotage Brexit plus of course the Perpetual whinger from North of the border. This man will always seek an opportunity to get publicity otherwise his lacklustre style gets passed by, not frightened of a battle to retain a seat?

    Report this comment

    blackdog2

    Wednesday, April 19, 2017

  • When destabilising comes in as a side ball which is what the foolish decision to quit the EU is then that is force majeure and May had no option than to free the government from another bit of awful legislation that the Cameron Clegg pair came up with. The prospect of Lewis being kicked into the long grass is a thing to hope for.

    Report this comment

    koenig

    Wednesday, April 19, 2017

  • "A large majority for the Tories would strengthen the Government’s hand in negotiating a good Brexit deal and provide “strong and stable leadership in the national interest”, So when Brexit has concluded, will she go to the country so we can vote on the type of country we might want to have in the future after we are out of the EU? After all she does not want to reveal too much in case the EU get wind of her tactics so we are all in the dark. Yes, I believe there are fairies at the bottom of my garden.

    Report this comment

    Alchemist

    Wednesday, April 19, 2017

  • Oh dear, I thought more of Clive than this. He seems to back down from a challenge all to easy.

    Report this comment

    Edith

    Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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