After only 13 MPs voted against June’s general election on Wednesday, UEA students have reacted to the news. UEA’s Labour Party will be be working closely with Clive Lewis, Labour candidate for Norwich South, and have already arranged numerous canvassing sessions.

Miss Tiffany Evripidou, Prospective Chair for UEA Labour Students, said Mr Lewis has “worked tirelessly since 2015”. The local party has “lots of public support as seen in the local elections in 2016.” She added: “Clive will be re-elected.”

Mr Lewis told Concrete the snap election is “behind the bluster of wanting a mandate for Brexit.”

Miss Evripidou also said Prime Minister Theresa May “is focused on derailing the opposition and disillusioning the general public more than actually getting to work.”

Mr Lewis said: “You can back me and keep an MP who shares the progressive values of our city, has a track record of standing up for Norwich and who backs a referendum on the terms of our exit from the EU.”

“Or you can wake up on June 9th with a hard Brexit backing Tory MP […] who will obediently rubber stamp the Tory neglect of and attack on students, graduates and young people.”

He added: “polling in Norwich South in January showed the Tories only eight percent behind Labour. The Lib Dems and Green Party were off the pace by double figures and can’t stop the Tories here. Make no mistake. A vote for the Lib Dems or Greens in Norwich South will help the Tories.”

Mr James Wright, Liberal Democrat candidate for Norwich South, expressed his excitement over the general election, believing it is a “chance to change the direction of our country” and “students at UEA will play a big part in making that happen.”

He said: “The Liberal Democrats are the only party committed to a vote on the final Brexit deal and only a vote for us can save the country from the Tory Brexit nightmare.”

The Liberal Democrats gained Norwich South in 2010 when Mr Simon Wright removed Labour’s Charles Clarke by just 310 votes. The new candidate hopes high student turnout will make a Liberal Democrat victory “more likely.” Mr Wright said that Norwich students “voted decisively to remain and they can make their voices heard again at this election. A hard Brexit will be a disaster for students and for UEA.”

He opposes Labour’s Article 50 vote, stating: “Only a Liberal Democrat MP will be working in your best interests.” Former Norwich South MP Charles Clarke told Concrete that May “[has been] able to mislead the country into the view that the option she is proposing for Brexit is the only option for Brexit. I don’t think it is.” He hopes Labour will win “to minimise the extent of May’s free hand to carry through what she wants to do.”

Amy Rust, SU Campaigns and Democracy Officer, said the SU were “surprised” by the announcement. She said: “it’s so important we engage and outline the different voting options available so students can make their voice heard”, especially as June 8 falls during the busy exam period. “We are now determined to get as many student registered as possible.” The SU registration drive will be launched on the 27th April. Other events include: “‘get registered’ fun” in the square, Norwich City Council registration stalls on campus, a manifesto on party positions on student issues, hustings on 25th May, a Politics Society debate on 29th May, and a results party in the SU bars.”

UEA views

Conservatives

“UEA Conservative Association welcomes Theresa May’s wise decision to call a general election.

Division in Westminster, and the Government’s small majority, risks weakening our Government’s hand in its negotiations with Europe. A general election will strengthen the Prime Minister’s negotiating hand.

It is the only way to ensure we have strong leadership, certainty and stability. An election now will give the country stability and certainty for a full five years, not just up to the point at which we leave the European Union but beyond it too.

Norwich South is a marginal seat and with polling giving the Conservatives a 20+ point lead nationally, Clive Lewis should be concerned.

The choice facing the country at this election is all about leadership. The choice in this election is strong and stable leadership in the national interest with Theresa May and the Conservatives – or weak and unstable coalition government, led by Jeremy Corbyn.”

 – UEA’s Conservative Association

Labour

“There isn’t a huge shock about the snap election, but we are mobilised and ready to fight for Labour’s victory in Norwich South. The Prime Minister has no regard for democratic practices and after revoking her promise on not calling a snap election, has decided to act against the Fixed-term Parliaments Act for the Tories own political opportunism.

We are taking the threat from the Lib Dems seriously; however considering their track record of voting to triple tuition fees, slash funding for mental health services and having elected a leader who believes gay sex ‘is a sin’, we’re confident that Clive will not lose his seat to the Lib Dems.

I’m a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn’s politics and believe Clive has been an outstanding MP for our constituency since his election.

Labour students will be out on the doorstep talking to constituents every day until the election and can’t wait to see Clive re-elected and given a fresh mandate.”

 – UEA Labour Students, Chair Abbie Mulcairn.

Greens

“The UEA Young Greens welcome the call for the an early general election; Britain is at a pivotal moment in history and how we act now will define politics for generations to come.

Only the Green Party offers a bold, positive vision for a different kind of Britain. The Tories have continually attacked the poorest and most vulnerable in society through their savage cuts and will increase this burden after Brexit, using it as an excuse to continue their ideological cuts to the welfare system, environmental legislation and workers’ rights.

This election is an opportunity for the people to change the direction in which the country is headed.

For the sake of the NHS, social policies and the welfare state, the Green Party has called on the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats to ditch partisan politics and consider progressive alliances; putting national interest in front of narrow party politics.”

 – UEA Young Greens Treasurer Lewis Martin

Lib Dems

“The Liberal Democrats have long argued for a General Election in the wake of Theresa May’s assumed premiership.

We now relish the opportunity to campaign on the central issues facing the nation, of which Brexit is paramount.

Since last June’s referendum, we have made our position on the EU clear and seek to rally the dissatisfied voters of both sides of the debate to join us in opposing a hard Brexit. We take pride in being the only major party to fight against a hard Tory Brexit, one that has unfortunately been backed by Corbyn’s Labour in Westminster.

Our parliamentary candidate for Norwich South, James Wright, a Norwich native, is committed to solving local problems and has already made his positions apparent in his candidacy declaration.

For these reasons, we are sure of a strong swing in our favour, and anticipate a Liberal Democrat victory.”

– UEA Liberal Democrats