Yorkshire MPs react to May's snap General Election call

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HERE'S what Yorkshire MPs are saying about Theresa May's surprise decision to seek an early General Election.

Gill Furniss, MP for Sheffield Brightside

“Although today’s announcement is unexpected as Theresa May has for months denied there would be a general election, if the vote tomorrow is successful I absolutely welcome the opportunity to put our Labour policies before the British people. While May’s government continues to muddle through the Brexit process, Labour have been putting together proposals that will unite, protect and strengthen the people of Britain.

“The Labour Party is clear that we will respect the vote to leave the European Union. However, the Labour Party is also clear that we will tread a path to Brexit that is inclusive of the whole country, not a divisive hard Brexit that will damage the economy and the lives of ordinary working people.

“Under this Tory government, we have a crisis in the NHS, a crisis in social care, and school funding slashed across the country. Only Labour will protect the NHS, defend social care services, protect school budgets rather than pursuing divisive grammar schools, restore disabled benefits, and reverse the Tory tax cuts to the richest.

“An alternative is needed. After years of deep austerity cuts and now with the uncertainties of a hard Brexit, the Labour Party is ready with an effective alternative to a Tory government that has failed ordinary working people.”

Keighley MP Kris Hopkins

“I believe it is right for a General Election to take place before the Brexit negotiations get fully underway.

“I campaigned vigorously for a Remain vote but, as a democrat, I fully accept the clearly expressed will of the people.

“It is important that we now pull together as a nation and seek to obtain the best possible deal for the United Kingdom as we prepare to leave the European Union.

“That is why it is right that the people get a further say on what Brexit should look like.

“As someone who has been proud to represent my home seat of Keighley and Ilkley in Parliament since 2010, I am proud to be putting my name forward for re-election.

“I will be asking local residents to support me on my record of achievement for them and my commitment to helping the Conservative Government to secure a Brexit deal that will be in the best interests of Keighley and Ilkley.”

Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh

“The Tories have utterly neglected Sheffield and this election is our chance to send them a clear message. We’ve seen jobs go; pay fall; schools underfunded; and our NHS lurching from one crisis to another.”

“I have fought hard for our city as your MP and I will fight for our community in this election: for a world-class education for our kids; for a fair economy that pays a living wage; and I will fight against the politics of hate and division.”

“People in Heeley voted for Brexit because we had been ignored for far too long but Theresa May is not interested in people here and the hard right of the Tory Party want to use this moment to deliver on their political fantasies: slashing workers rights, a race to the bottom and further squeezes on jobs and pay.”

“Only a Labour Government will stand up for our city.”

Redcar MP Anna Turley

“Neither Theresa May nor the Conservative Party have a mandate for their government so it is right to go to the public, although the timing of her change of heart seems to be politically motivated rather than in the best interests of the country.

“After 7 years it is clear the Conservative approach of austerity economics has failed Teesside. We have lost our steelworks, child poverty is rising, unemployment is well above the national average, and we have two and a half times the national rate of youth unemployment. We need a government who will invest and rebuild and the Tories have shown they do not care about our area. They were willing to step in and save the steel industry in Wales but not here. Only Labour will stand up and fight and take Teesside's voice to Westminster.

“Our public services are on their knees - the NHS crisis means locally medical centres and walk-ins are closing, school budgets are being slashed, councils have lost millions in social care funding, and hardworking public sector staff are exhausted. We have lost hundreds of local police officers leading to more crime and anti-social behaviour in our neighbourhoods. The Tories have also cut our armed forces and have put our national security at risk by threatening to withdraw international cooperation on terrorism and cross-border crime.

“We need a clear vision for Brexit for this country that has been voted for by the people. The Tories are failing us on the global stage - Britain must emerge stronger from Brexit but Boris Johnson is making us weaker and a laughing stock in the world.

“We need a Labour government to deliver for the whole country. For two years I have fought tooth and nail for this area and I will continue to stand up for Redcar and Teesside in the face of the poor deal we get from the Tories. Labour stand for a fairer, stronger and more decent Britain and that is what I will be campaigning for in the run up to June 8th.”

Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey

“Theresa May spent nine months saying she wouldn’t call a snap election, and she’s broken her word. As always, the Tories are putting their own interests ahead of the country’s.

“This election isn’t just about Brexit, as Theresa May says. Britain will leave the EU, so this election is a chance for people to decide what kind of country they want to live in and who their government works for. On the NHS, living standards, schools funding and affordable homes, Conservative Ministers have overseen seven years of failure and been sticking up for the wrong people. The Tories are strong in standing up to the weak but weak in standing up to the strong.

“South Yorkshire has been hit hard by Conservative public funding cuts which areas in southern England have escaped. I’ve worked hard as people’s local Labour MP. I’m determined to continue to fight for investment, protect jobs and safeguard services as Labour’s candidate for Wentworth and Dearne.

“On June 8 people can give the Conservatives a continuing mandate to run down the NHS, schools, wages and housing as they’ve done for the last seven years. Or this election can be the chance for a fresh start with Labour.”