UK PM's vow to lead her party into 2022 election greeted with mixed feelings

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-31 20:15:40|Editor: Song Lifang
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LONDON, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement Thursday that she aims to lead the Conservatives into the 2022 general election has been greeted with mixed responses in Britain.

Following the snap general election in June when May's Conservatives lost their overall majority, May faced calls for her to quit, fueling speculation that she would leave 10 Downing Street before the run-up to the next election to enable a successor to take the lead.

In media interviews in Japan where she is on a three-day charm offensive, May said she wants to lead the Conservatives into the next general election and intends to remain in power for the long term.

Labour's shadow Cabinet Office Minister Jon Trickett said May is deluding herself with a fantasy bid to plough on until 2022. "The idea that the Conservatives can go on, and on, and on causing damage every day," he said on his social media site.

In a media interview in Kyoto, May has said "I'm here for the long term. What me and my government are about is not just delivering on Brexit but delivering a brighter future for the UK."

May added that she wanted to ensure global Britain could take its trading place in the world, as well as dealing with domestic injustices to ensure a strong, more global, but also fairer Britain, for the future.

On the second day of her trip to Japan, May held official talks with her counterpart Shinzo Abe, but media coverage has zoomed into the question of her longevity as prime minister.

May's visit is aimed at reassuring Japanese business leaders that Britain remains a safe bet for investment as it prepares to leave the European Union.

Leading Conservative politicians were among those expressing reservations about May's plan to fight the 2022 general election.

The Daily Telegraph reported former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan saying it would be difficult for May to lead the party into another poll after the disastrous set of results the party achieved on June 8.

Grant Shapps, the former Conservative party chairman, said May could not jump straight from throwing away a Conservative majority to announcing an intention to remain as leader well into the next decade, signalling she would have to prove herself.

Meanwhile veteran Conservative politician and one time deputy prime minister, Michael Heseltine, criticised May's announcement, telling the Telegraph that May had no long term future as the party leader. Heseltine predicted that Britain will face another general election within two years.

Other Conservatives rallied to May's support, with leading Remain supporter Sarah Wollaston expressing loyalty to the prime minister on her social media site. Wollaston, who is chair of the House of Commons health select committee, said May was right to commit to the long term, adding the prime minister had been calm and effective in her role despite extraordinary pressures in recent months.

In a poll among readers of the Labour-supporting Daily Mirror, 77 percent said May should quite Downing Street ahead of the next election.

In its report the Mirror said May's defiant vow threatened to rip the Conservative civil war wide open again as the party prepared for its annual conference in October, their first major gathering since losing their parliamentary majority.