Brexit featured prominently in the reaction from Basingstoke politicians following the surprise news that Prime Minster Theresa May has called a snap general election, writes Matthew Brown.
The big vote is scheduled in just seven weeks’ time on June 8.
Mrs May said it would provide stability and certainty following last year’s EU referendum.
“The country is coming together but Westminster is not,” she said.
Conservative Maria Miller, who will be defending her seat, echoed the sentiments of the Prime Minster, saying: “Despite the referendum result last year Labour has now threatened to vote against the final Brexit agreement, putting the negotiations at real risk.
“A general election now gives the British people the opportunity to give our Prime Minster the mandate she needs to get the best deal for the country.
“Theresa May will give our country the strong and stable leadership we need to see us through the Brexit negotiation and beyond.”
Labour stressed they were strong in Basingstoke and would “fight hard and campaign hard in Basingstoke”.
Cllr Paul Harvey, leader of Basingstoke Labour Party and Labour’s candidate for Basingstoke at the 2015 general election, said: “The people of Basingstoke are on the rough end of a Conservative government we want to see the back
“This is about the people of Basingstoke and their concerns and the fact the Basingstoke Labour represents them. That’s everything we are about as a party.”
The Liberal Democrats said they were surprised but were keen to put across the message they could give an alternative option.
“Theresa May has promised several times that she would not call a snap election because she wanted to get on with Brexit,” said Cllr Gavin James, Liberal Democrat councillor for Eastrop.
“I think it’s really important we give the people of Basingstoke a chance to say ‘hang on a minute – whether we voted leave or remain we didn’t vote to isolate ourselves, we still want to be part of Europe, even if we’re not part of the EU’ and the only talk you get from Theresa May and her government is one of a hard Brexit. I don’t think that’s what people want.”
Ukip said they were ready to fight in Basingstoke.
“Well, personally I’m a bit disappointed. I think the government has got better things to spend their money on than a general election but we’re ready,” said Alan Stone, chariman of Ukip Basingstoke.
“Ukip in Basingstoke are absolutely ready – we’ve got candidates ready to take on the role.”
“A fresh view on things is needed,” he added.