CAROLINE ANSELL MP: General Election goes beyond Brexit, and we need strong leadership

Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne SUS-160604-141512001
Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne SUS-160604-141512001

In the wake of last week’s court case against the man who threatened me, I stepped out in fighting form first thing Tuesday morning feeling more determined than ever and full of thanks for all the kind wishes I received following the sentencing.

By lunch time, with the announcement of a June General Election, I was glad I was feeling quite so good because a seven-week campaign now awaits and a brave new post-Brexit world full of opportunity for our country is the prize. Bring it on!

Some of the reaction in Parliament was almost comical. ‘We called for it, we didn’t want it’ one Labour MP said, and I can understand why.

In Eastbourne, as before, the local vote will have genuine national significance for who leads the country and I’m delighted it is in the hands of such knowledgeable voters who understand the issues.

This election is, of course, about Brexit, but it’s also about Brexit and beyond and this is no time for protest voting because the stakes are high.

The choice is clear: we need strong leadership getting the best deal for Britain as we leave the EU.

I don’t think anyone can think a coalition of Labour, the SNP and other minor parties will obtain any deal worth its salt, and it would cause grievous harm to our country.

Obtaining the best possible deal also means greater prosperity, greater opportunity, more trade with more countries and economic growth - growth that means we can pay down our deficit, live within our means, invest in our infrastructure and pay for our services while not saddling future generations with debt.

Of course, many people will disagree with what I have said and in our democracy, that’s absolutely right.

It is for people like me to win the argument, if the Conservatives are to win this election and, in the weeks to come, I will work furiously to make that point positively, without rancour and in a spirit of engaging with everyone whether they agree with me or not.

I hope my political opponents will do the same.

I also hope I do not have to deal with threats and abuse because I now have a zero-tolerance attitude to it.

I hope the mantra is: ‘let’s have a positive and clean campaign based on the issues’.

This country has a tremendous future that’s now in its own hands for the first time in many years.

The vote was to leave and any future government is now duty bound to do so, so we must have the right leadership in place to achieve it.

My view is a strong but moderate Conservative government will be able to get a good deal and a deal that is in everyone’s interests.

A good majority in parliament makes for a strong negotiating position on Brexit.

Such a position always means there is an ability to compromise on the terms of our leaving and this approach is in the best interests of our country.