Tory MPs call for Brexit to be top priority following election

The general election count at Havant   'Picture by: Malcolm Wells
The general election count at Havant 'Picture by: Malcolm Wells
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TORY MPs who re-gained their seats after the general election are calling for Brexit to be the priority moving forward.

It comes as the future make-up of the government was left in doubt yesterday with the Conservatives losing their majority following Thursday’s snap vote.

These negotiations are too important to get wrong by taking our eye of the ball.

Caroline Dinenage

A gain of 29 seats by the Labour Party, including in Portsmouth South, where Stephen Morgan was elected ahead of former MP Flick Drummond, sees the Tories relying on the support of the Democratic Unionist Party.

But MPs who managed to hold onto their seats say the Brexit negotiations need to be the main focus for the near future.

Conservative MP Caroline Dinenage, who was re-elected in Gosport for the third time, said: ‘We need a period of stability as we head toward these Brexit negotiations. We have to focus on the end game.

‘These negotiations are too important to get wrong by taking our eye off the ball.

‘We don’t need more uncertainty but to pull together.

‘But equally, within our party we have to give some thought as to why the election has not played out the way the prime minister intended.’

Ms Dinenage, who regained her seat with 30,647 votes, said the results from the general election had created a confusing picture.

‘It is quite a confusing picture because the Tory vote went up almost everywhere but the Labour vote went up more,’ she said.

‘The thing that made the difference was almost all the Ukip votes completely collapsing and the Liberal Democrat’s almost collapsing.

‘The whole picture is totally changing and it is almost as though we have returned to the 1970s.

‘In the last three elections in Gosport, a different party has come second to me in Gosport. It started off Liberal Democrat, then Ukip and this year Labour.

‘It is a really interesting dilemma but also confusing.’

Re-elected Tory Havant MP Alan Mak agreed with Ms Dinenage about the country needing certainty following the election.

He also said they needed to concentrate on getting the best deal possible for Britain.

Mr Mak won his seat with 59.8 per cent of the votes ahead of Labour in second and the Liberal Democrats in third.

He said: ‘What Britain needs more than ever is certainty.

‘Having secured the largest number of votes and the greatest number of seats in the general election, only the Conservatives have the legitimacy and ability to provide that certainty by forming the next government.

‘We should work with the Democratic Unionist Party to see if a stable government can be formed, so we can deliver our domestic agenda and get the best Brexit deal for Britain.

‘That’s what voters in Havant and across Britain want from the next government.’

But opposing parties have doubts on the future of prime minister Theresa May, calling her position ‘weak’.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party in Portsmouth Gerald Vernon-Jackson, who ran for the Portsmouth South seat, said: ‘We have got this enormous change that is going to happen in two years when we leave the European Union.

‘We don’t know what that is going to do to Britain.

‘There are lots of different opinions and it is very divided.

‘It leaves Theresa May in a weak position both in the UK and with the EU.

‘She has come out of this very, very weak.

‘Jeremy Corbyn has come out with a much-enhanced reputation and that will offer a real challenge in terms of continuing the policies the Tories have pushed for in the past few years.

‘I don’t know what life will be like in the next few years but what happens coming out of Europe will be enormously important for the country.

‘It will also be important for the city of Portsmouth which sees 55 per cent of its exports going into Europe.’

Portsmouth South Labour MP Stephen Morgan, re-elected Portsmouth North Tory MP Penny Mordaunt, re-elected Fareham Tory MP Suella Fernandes and re-elected Meon Valley Tory MP George Hollingbery did not respond when contacted by The News.