Labour tells Theresa May to call snap election
Labour has demanded a snap general election as Theresa May is poised to take over as the new Conservative leader and Prime Minister.
Jon Trickett, the party’s election coordinator, said it was “crucial” that the public was asked to give their assent to Ms May.
"It now looks likely that we are about to have the coronation of a new Conservative Prime Minister,” Mr Trickett said in a statement.
“It is crucial, given the instability caused by the Brexit vote, that the country has a democratically elected Prime Minister.
“I am now putting the whole of the party on a general election footing.”
Labour is facing deep internal splits over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, and Angela Eagle has already launched a formal challenge to try to oust the leader.
Mr Trickett urged colleagues to get behind Mr Corbyn: “It is time for the Labour party to unite and ensure the millions of people in the country left behind by the Tories' failed economic policies, have the opportunity to elect a Labour government.”
When Ms May officially launched her Conservative leadership she ruled out the prospect of an early general election.
“There should be no general election until 2020,” she said.
Jon Ashworth, the Shadow Minister Without Portfolio, has put out his own statement questioning Ms May’s credentials to be Prime Minister.
He said: “It now looks like we’ll see a coronation of Theresa May, rather than a proper Tory leadership contest.
"I congratulate the Home Secretary on her success in this race but ultimately the issue is not whether she can deliver for the Conservative party but what her offer is as Prime Minister and whether it delivers for ordinary working people.
“People want a Government that puts them first and a leader who can deliver for them.
"That will be difficult for Theresa May given her record of failure and the wrong choices: cuts to police funding, the loss of 18,000 police officers and overseeing chaos in the Passport Office.
“Theresa May has today set out a detailed critique of the failures of the Tory Government, but there was absolutely no recognition of the fact she has been at the heart of this failing government for the last six years.”
Many Labour backbenchers have responded to the news themselves on Twitter:
Green MP Caroline Lucas joined calls for a general election, arguing it would be "unacceptable" for the new Prime Minister to be chosen by Tory MPs.
“Andrea Leadsom’s decision to pull out of the leadership race underlines the necessity of a General Election this year, something the Greens have called for since the EU referendum result was announced," she said.
“It is unacceptable that the next person to hold the top job in British politics is appointed by 60% of Tory MPs.
"They have no mandate to renegotiate Britain's place in the world in this post referendum period. A general election is the only democratic way forward."