General Election 2017: Shropshire voters speak of surprise at announcement
Voters in Shropshire today spoke of their shock at Theresa May's decision to call a snap election.
People on the streets of Shrewsbury say they thought the Prime Minister's timing was strange with so many issues up in the air.
Debbie Carr, 38 a mum of two and an artist from St Martins, near Oswestry, said the country was in a "mess".
"Everything is just a mess at the moment," she said. "I would hope it will bring some unity to the country and that the parties will support each other.
"As a mother of a child with special needs, I see how local services for those with SEN children have been affected.
"The networking is non-existent and it is very hard to find a place in a special needs school in the county. I hope there is a level playing field for all those who need it."
Debbie Tipton, a 40-year-old human resources worker of Reabrook, Shrewsbury, said: "More of the same people will still vote the Conservatives in and I am not sure why.
"I would have thought Theresa May would have seen Brexit through.
"People want to feel safe with all that's going on at the moment. Perhaps she should have called a general election when she took over from David Cameron before we went in to negotiations with Brexit.
"It is a bit of a funny time to call an election. I think it is more of a tactic for her own party. She is an unelected prime minister and I am not sure why she is doing this now."
Sharon Williams, 56, a housewife from Meole Brace, Shrewsbury, added: "I do not understand politics a great deal but I think calling the general election is a good idea.
"She was just given the job, people did not vote her in.
"Perhaps it is the chance for her to opt out. Perhaps she wants the people to decide that they want her but maybe she doesn't want the responsibility that comes with being leader of the country. It gives people the chance to vote."
Kevin Clift, 49, of Aberystwyth, who was visiting Shrewsbury, said: "She will win, unfortunately. I do not want her to because of her stance on the disabled.
"Jeremy Corbyn is more for people like me but he will not win. The Conservatives are going to be in power for some time.
"She is working on the basis that the people will be on her side. There is no real opposition to the party at the moment. But saying that, I am surprised she has called the election now."
Marta Toms , 50, from Shrewsbury, said: "She is trying to prove to Parliament that the people want her.
"When it comes to Brexit I am not entirely sure about her and I am not sure that calling a general election is a good or a bad thing. It is too short notice and will be very disruptive for the country.
"She should just get on with running the country and taking us through Brexit.
"She should see it through, she has not been long enough in the job. I am very surprised that she has called a general election now. It is very de-stabilising for the country."
Marilyn Davies, 59 of Coton Hill, Shrewsbury said: "I do not know what she is playing at by calling an election now. Does she know something we don't?
"Everything is going to be up in the air for the next few weeks. Not knowing what is going on is bad for the country. She needs to say what she is doing. She has said she is going to see Brexit through but if another party gets in at the election all that could change.
"It's ridiculous. I don't think she knows what she is doing. She is grasping at straws. It has not got any better since she has taken over. Perhaps she thinks that everyone should listen to her and do what she says. It is a load of garbage. I hope that Labour will get in but I do not think they will."
Owen Roberts, 26, a teacher from Harlescott, said: "It has come as a massive surprise, although Theresa May will be pleased to have the opportunity to be voted in.
"I see a Conservative victory but it may be closer than people think. In terms of who I will vote for, I am undecided and will have to see who the Shrewsbury and Atcham candidates are. It was closer than usual last time so if Labour put up a strong candidate, who knows?"
Charles Smith, 57, from Ludlow, added: "It was a surprise, to be fair. I think she feels she is in quite a strong position.
"She knows that if she does get re-elected she will have the backing of the people.
"I think she is doing a pretty good job with Brexit to be fair and I hope she carries on. She has started the process so I hope she gets the backing to continue. It is a done deal now so they need to get on with it. She is strong-willed so I think she is reasonably likely to go and get a good deal for the country."
Dave Matthias, 38, from Bayston Hill, said: "It'll be an election based on national and international issues like no other. It'll be very difficult for candidates to respond to local issues because the questions people are asking are about Brexit and the future of the Union.
"It's a big surprise because of how clear she was that there would be no snap election."
The leaders of the Labour and Liberal Democrat groups on Shropshire Council have accused the Prime Minister of attempting to force the election through so she can implement her own form of Brexit.
Alan Mosley, leader of the Labour group, said: "It is a great surprise. We are currently in the midst of local elections and we are getting very good responses on the doorstep. As soon as they are over we will be in full action for a General Election.
"It is very rushed and it is in some ways anti-democratic.
"The procedures will be shortened and we have got a particular process in terms of selecting our candidate and then ensuring they have maximum exposure to his or her electorate and having set a very narrow campaign is contrary to those values.
"The speed does seem contrary to the interests of democracy."
Despite the difficulties the proposed time-scale might throw up Councillor Mosley said he is confident that Labour will attract the support of the electorate.
He said: "Some of the polls that I have seen suggest that Labour is mounting something of a comeback.
"When people's minds think about the election, previous and current Tory governments will weigh on their minds and a new approach by Labour will be increasingly attractive to end austerity and the cuts to our services both locally and nationally."
Liberal Democrat leader Roger Evans said he believed Mrs May was hoping for a bigger majority so she can force through her vision of Brexit.
He said: "I have a great fear as to what sort of Brexit Mrs May wants for us. We are leaving the European Union but under what conditions are we going to leave? Trying to usurp debate about a hard or soft Brexit is wrong.
"The previous timetable set out should be adhered to.
"To take out two months to talk about internal politics is wrong.
"She is running scared. She can't deliver the type of Brexit she wants and even some of her own Conservatives will vote against some of her proposals.
Conservative leader of Shropshire Council Malcolm Pate, however, believes Mrs May's decision would be to the benefit of the British public.
He said: "When going into a period of negotiation with our European friends she needs the strongest hand she can get and this announcement will be for the benefit of all the British people.
"I think the British people by and large are very much common sense people and I am sure that we will come back with a much larger majority which will strengthen her hand.
"It is important to get the right deal from Brussels so it makes sense to go for an election now."
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