MPs Jim Fitzpatrick and Rushanara Ali gear up for general election
PUBLISHED: 16:35 18 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:04 19 April 2017
The prime minister's sudden announcement of a snap general election came as a shock to Labour's Jim Fitzpatrick.
But the Poplar and Limehouse MP says he’s ready for a fight at the polls on June 8 and has already been out on the doorstep every Saturday morning.
“I was completely shocked like everyone else by the sudden announcement,” he told the Advertiser.
“But the Labour Party has been on a footing for months, ready for it.
“We’re ready locally to fight in the East End on the serious issues facing us.”
He aims to pit social issues against Brexit that he says the Conservative government is campaigning on.
“Brexit for the Tories is terrain they want to drag us onto,” Fitzpatrick adds.
“But we’ll be concentrating on the serious domestic issues that face us—the NHS, social care, education and the economy. It’s Brexit versus the social agenda.”
The Labour Mayor of Tower Hamlets which includes the Poplar and Limehouse constituency also went on the election warpath after Mrs May’s announcement outside 10 Downing Street, in his backing for Fitzpatrick and neighbouring Bethnal Green and Bow MP Rushanara Ali.
Mayor John Biggs said: “The Tory government has stripped nearly £60 million from our council budget over the next three years and I’m deeply concerned about what new cuts they plan to impose in the near future.
“Our MPs are best placed to protect our communities and to stand up for residents and speak up for Tower Hamlets.”
Rushanara Ali has also welcomed the election and urged everyone eligible to register to vote on June 8 and “get involved in our democracy”.
She is campaigning for “fair funding” for schools which are being hit by planned government funding restructure, for free lunches for every primary school pupil which already exists in Tower Hamlets and for the national living wage, which was first launched in the East End 10 years ago, to be set at £10 an hour by 2020.
But mostly Rushanara, who voted to remain in the EU and against triggering Article 50, says she wants to “protect local services, jobs and businesses during Brexit”.
MPs in the commons questioned why Theresa May triggered Article 50 and then called a snap election less than a month later.
Some suspected it is “a re-run” of last year’s Brexit referendum.