Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, has dismissed the rumours of a general election that is supposedly scheduled in June. He said that “the people would never forgive us” if such would be called.
In an interview with the BBC, Javid said: “the last thing” people wanted was a general election. They want politicians to get on with the job.”
He added: “They have been given a very clear mandate, now it’s our job to get on with it.”
Over the weekend, there have been some reports that Downing Street could be preparing an extension to article 50, the mechanism that enables the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, in order to give Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, more time to get the support of the parliament for a new Brexit deal, before turning to the electorate later in June.
The rumours come as a recent opinion poll reveal that the Conservatives are enjoying a seven-point lead over the Labour party.
Javid was asked regarding the reports in the Mail on Sunday that senior staff at Conservative HQ have been getting into general election mode. The same newspaper reported that the Conservative Campaign Headquarters has said that it would triple its spending on online advertising in the coming weeks as it aims to promote party policies, while Sir Mick Davis, its chief executive, allegedly placed the Tories on a “war footing” last week.
As a response to the rumours, Javid stated: “I know that Conservative party headquarters is planning on only one set of elections, which is the local government elections. The last thing this country wants is an election; they want parliament to deliver Brexit in an orderly way.”
Rumours over a snap general election come as Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing to head to Brussels to reopen the discussions on the Irish backstop, the issue that many MPs cited as the reason for voting against her deal in historic numbers last January.
Last week, the MPs voted in favour of an amendment that was tabled by Sir Graham Brady. It called on the UK government to look for “alternative arrangements” to the backstop through technology.
Javid said that he would be accompanied by Steve Barclay. the Brexit secretary. Barclay would focus on looking for solutions to the backstop while Geoffrey Cox, the attorney general, would push for a time limit to the backstop or an exit clause.
The European Union has repeatedly said that the backstop is an essential part of the withdrawal agreement that is not up for negotiation. However, Javid contradicted the statements of the European Union. He stated: “It can be done.”
The home secretary was also questioned about whether the United Kingdom would be less safe in the event that it withdrew from the European Union without a deal. He admitted that there would be some systems that the United Kingdom would cease to be a member of, such as the European arrest warrant, however, he said that while there would be a “change in capability,” the United Kingdom would continue to be a “very safe country.”