Fewer than 75,000 people have had the ability to vote for Theresa May to be the Prime Minister of our country, a figure which includes 330 Tory politicians. And yet there is a very real chance that such a small mandate will be enough to proceed with the coronation of a new leader of our country, at a time when Britain is in the greatest peril of a generation, facing a fractured society and a frighteningly unstable economy.
This is not how business in our democratic Government should be conducted. In Theresa May, a new leader has succeeded David Cameron and has already set out a clear desire for an alternative path for our country. Two main issues spring to mind immediately from Theresa May finding herself imminently moving in to the unmistakable black door of No. 10 Downing Street. Firstly the British public frankly do not know where Theresa May stands on so many issues facing our country which she will now be dictating. From Britain's standing in the world to the future of our NHS, we don't know whether our country is in safe hands. Secondly our only experience of Theresa May is when she was Home Secretary, and she has overseen a department which has failed to reduce immigration figures from both EU and non-EU countries and has been obsessed with dismantling our civil liberties in an unprecedented way through the Investigatory Powers Bill or the so called 'Snooper's Charter'. Theresa May must be given the opportunity to set out her vision for our country before becoming our Prime Minister.
What also must be addressed is that the British public has not endorsed and voted for our new Government. Although I, and many other people, disagreed with David Cameron's vision for the country, we must all accept that in our electoral system David Cameron won a fair mandate to be our Prime Minister. The promises made in his General Election campaign and the agenda which he had started to implement has been torn up by Brexit. Now we are facing a different agenda from a different Prime Minister, one which has faced no scrutiny and whose government has not been elected by the population.
The lack of a mandate and no clear sense of the policy direction Theresa May intends pursuing lead to a simple conclusion. We need a general election. The British public deserve to have their say, take stock of what vision this political leader has for our country and decide which path they want our country to go down. Without such an election, Theresa May will have no mandate and the British public will have a Prime Minister they don't know and have not endorsed.
Tom Brake is the Lib Dem MP for Carshalton and Wallington
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