National press voices support for Tories as Times and FT back Theresa May's snap election

Theresa May received overwhelming support from Fleet Street today for both her early general election and as the best option for voters.

The Times has joined a number of UK daily national newspapers in voicing support for the Conservative Party ahead of June’s general election.

In a leader column today, the paper said Britain “stands to benefit from a bigger Conservative majority, as long as it is wisely used”.

Even the EU-supporting Financial Times backed the early election and gave May’s Tories its tentative support.

It said in a leader: “…while there are grounds for apprehension, it will be better for both the UK and the EU if Mrs May has the flexibility she needs to negotiate.”

Scroll down for all national press leader columns and front pages

May’s surprise announcement, which was predicted by the Sunday Express but largely caught political reporters unawares, led the front page of every major UK daily national newspaper today

Leader columns from the Mail, Sun, Telegraph, Financial Times and Express all supported May’s call for a fresh election with only the Guardian in opposition.

The left-wing newspaper said: “This is a premature election which the country does not need, the people do not want and Mrs May does not require in order to do her job effectively.”

The Daily Mail and Telegraph both said they hoped May secured a majority.

In a statement yesterday, the i newspaper has said it would not pick a side in the election, saying instead: “We are open-minded and we hold the powerful to account.”

UK national newspaper leader column positions 19 April 2017

  Backs election? Backs Tories?
Daily Express Yes Yes
Daily Mail Yes Yes
Daily Mirror No No
Daily Star N/A N/A
Daily Telegraph Yes Yes
Financial Times No Yes
i Neutral Neutral
Metro N/A N/A
The Guardian No No
The Sun Yes Yes
The Times Yes Yes

Today’s newspaper opinions and front pages on snap general election announcement:

  • The Times – “Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election is that rare thing — a safe political bet. The Conservatives may not win as large a majority as they hope on June 8, but they face a Labour Party in headlong decline and are virtually certain to gain seats. An enhanced mandate for the government would strengthen the prime minister’s position in the forthcoming negotiations with Europe. It would leave her dominant in parliamentary confrontations over the terms of any Brexit deal, and it would give her the upper hand in manoeuvring with Scottish secessionists that will outlast the Brexit process. On all three fronts Britain as a whole stands to benefit from a bigger Conservative majority, as long as it is wisely used.”

  • Guardian – “Many things may change over the coming weeks. At this early stage the danger is that the 2017 election may be less a contest about who should govern and more a contest about how much power the voters are willing to entrust to Mrs May. The Tory manifesto will have to be watched like a hawk; it will be an unusually crucial document. This is a premature election which the country does not need, the people do not want and Mrs May does not require in order to do her job effectively. Above all else, this election must not write her a blank cheque over Europe.”

  • Daily Telegraph – “Mrs May will be judged above all by how she handles the forthcoming Brexit talks. For that she needs political stability, something not guaranteed in Parliament with opposition parties trying to undermine or block every initiative. The country needs strong leadership now more than ever and over the past nine months Mrs May has shown she is the only one who can provide it. She deserves the big majority we hope she will secure on June 8.”

  • The Sun – “Britain needs the strongest possible Government to see Brexit through. Theresa May is dead right to call a snap election. A thumping Tory victory — and surely few can imagine any other result — will give her the mandate she lacks as Prime Minister and crucial new authority before negotiating with EU leaders.”

  • Daily Mail – “It is no secret that the Mail admires Mrs May. We were the first newspaper to support her leadership bid and we have liked what we have seen of her ever since. Her low-key style – in which Cabinet ministers are encouraged to have views and she herself speaks only when she has something important to say – could hardly be more different from the Cameron chumocracy, whose business activities since they left office speak volumes about the sort of people they were. So, yes, this is a wonderful opportunity for the lady to clear the air, while every vote she wins on June 8 will strengthen her hand in the vital EU negotiations ahead. This was the right decision for Britain. The Mail wishes her every success.”

  • Daily Express – “A general election would [deliver] the Prime Minister the sort of mammoth victory that would enable her to deliver a true Brexit and to enter into negotiations with the EU without having to worry about Remoaners at home. It would also give her an overwhelming mandate to pursue her own policies here in Britain. With the impressive start she has made as Prime Minister and the huge respect she has won already for her no-nonsense style this can only be of benefit to the country… Faced with pitiful opposition Theresa May has an opportunity to secure a huge number of seats and ensure the Brexit process goes smoothly. She must make the most of it.”

  • Financial Times – “Even by her Sphinx-like standards, Theresa May’s announcement of a snap general election was a well-kept secret. It was also an abrupt reversal: since entering Number 10 after the vote for Brexit, the UK prime minister has insisted repeatedly there was no need for an election before the scheduled date in 2020. Nonetheless, this is the right decision.”

  • i newspaper – Editor Oly Duff said in a message yesterday: “Our journalists cut through the noise to bring readers the essential news and insight that will help them to decide. Expect lots of spikey comment articles to fire debate. But we do not have an axe to grind. We don’t have party political baggage. We believe in informing readers and in scrutinising political spin. We are open-minded and we hold the powerful to account.”

  • Daily Mirror: “…five more years of unshackled Tory rule – with an agenda even further to the right than that pursued by Cameron and Osborne – will destroy the fabric of this nation. That prospect should send shudders down the spine of every single person in Britain who believes in social justice. Let nobody be under any illusion – the 2017 general election is a pivotal battle for the future of this country…Labour is the only party that can offer the electorate the burning desire to fight against inequality and rage against the appalling divides that still exist in Britain today.”

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