Statement: Theresa May seeks general election

For months our opponents have been claiming that Theresa May does not have a proper mandate because she was not elected as Prime Minister at the last general election. This has threatened to detract from the strength of Britain's position when negotiating Brexit and also as an excuse to revisit the position of Scotland in the Union, amongst other things.

The Prime Minister is right therefore to end any uncertainty with this bold move to call an early general election. This further underlines her strong and decisive leadership, in stark contrast to her political opponents, and I fully support her. Quite rightly Theresa May has characteristically acted purely out of what is in the best national interest.

This now puts Britain's future after Brexit front and centre for the British people. A strong vote for a re-elected Conservative government will send a very clear message to our EU partners that there can be no doubt about where our future lies and our determination to secure the best deal that is in the interests of all of the British people and is mutually good for Europe too. A vote for any other party can only undermine that.

I can confirm that it is my intention to seek re-election on June 8th and will be campaigning enthusiastically to secure Theresa May's return with a strong mandate.