Labour and Lib Dems demand early general election

Theresa May MP

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have reacted to the shock withdrawal of Andrea Leadsom from the Tory leadership contest by demanding an early general election.

Leadsom's withdrawal earlier today left home secretary Theresa May as the only candidate to succeed David Cameron.

Labour's election co-ordinator Jon Trickett said the news equated to the “coronation” of a new Conservative Prime Minister.

“It is crucial, given the instability caused by the Brexit vote, that the country has a democratically elected Prime Minister,” Trickett said.

“I am now putting the whole of the party on a general election footing. It is time for the Labour Party to unite and ensure the millions of people in the country left behind by the Tories' failed economic policies, have the opportunity to elect a Labour government.”

Read More: Sterling leaps as Leadsom announces she is quitting Tory leadership race

It is yet to become clear whether May will automatically take on the role of Prime Minister, or when that might happen, but Lib Dem leader Tim Farron described the situation as a “Tory stitch up”.

“May has not set out an agenda, and has no right to govern. She has not won an election and the public must have their say,” Farron said.

Green MP Caroline Lucas was similarly damning: “It is unacceptable that the next person to hold the top job in British politics is appointed by 60% of Tory MPs.

“They have no mandate to renegotiate Britain's place in the world in this post referendum period. A general election is the only democratic way forward.”

The next general election is currently set for May 2020.

Under the terms of the fixed term parliament act, an early general election can either be called with the consent of two-thirds of MPs, or if the government loses on a motion of no confidence.

Full story: Labour and Lib Dems demand early general election: City A.M.