Jeremy Corbyn demands 'immediate' general election after Theresa May quits

Posted On: 
24th May 2019

Jeremy Corbyn has called on Theresa May's successor to call an "immediate" general election.

Jeremy Corbyn wants an immediate general election.
Credit: 
PA Images

The Labour leader said that was the only way to end the "deadlock" in Parliament over Brexit.

Mr Corbyn spoke out within minutes of Mrs May confirming she will resign as Tory leader on 7 June, but stay on as Prime Minister until the next one is elected.

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He said she had done the right thing because "she cannot govern, and nor can her divided and disintegrating party".

"The Conservative Party has utterly failed the country over Brexit and is unable to improve people’s lives or deal with their most pressing needs," said the Labour leader.

"Parliament is deadlocked and the Conservatives offer no solutions to the other major challenges facing our country. The last thing the country needs is weeks of more Conservative infighting followed by yet another unelected Prime Minister. 

"Whoever becomes the new Conservative leader must let the people decide our country’s future, through an immediate general election."

Mr Corbyn's deputy, Tom Watson, said Mrs May "had an unenviably hard job and she did it badly".

He also took a swipe at the Prime Minister's critics who are now jostling to replace her as Tory leader.

"History will record she was honourable in her intentions," he said. "To those who have plotted her downfall to further their own ambitions, the ideological fanatics who won't stop until they have cut off all our ties with Europe, history will not be so kind."

Lib Dem leader Vince Cable said Mrs May had tried too hard to appease her party's Brexiteers.

He said: "Conservative Party interest has always trumped national interest, and yet Conservative MPs continue to demand an ever more extreme Brexit policy.

"The best and only option remains to take Brexit back to the people."

'FRESH START'

Business leaders paid tribute to Mrs May, and called on whoever replaces her to put an end to the Brexit uncertainty.

CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn said: "Business and the country need honesty. Nation must be put ahead of party, prosperity ahead of politics. Compromise and consensus must refind their voice in Parliament.

"We call on politicians from all parties, on all those ambitious to lead, to take this chance for a fresh start."

Edwin Morgan, interim director general of the Institute of Directors, said: "A new leader will be faced with the same political challenges and the same economic realities.

"No deal remains a significant, and growing, concern for businesses, and that cannot be wished away, whoever is in power. When companies and the country need serious, considered decision-making, we have pantomime instead.

"We would ask for politicians to swiftly come to a solution which provides for as smooth an exit as possible, but that feels like a vain hope at the moment."