Please don’t give Theresa May a mandate to continue swinging her wrecking ball at Britain

Why did May call the election? Because she wants to weaken the opposition by giving herself a sufficient majority to crush the opposition. May had for months steadfastly rebutted any suggestion that she would call a snap general election, before calling it just after Easter. She called this election because she is weak and she does not want to face the scrutiny of an effective opposition. And because she is not strong and stable enough to cope with the incredibly demanding task of being a prime minister.

Theresa May should be denied the majority she is seeking.

Everyone was surprised when seven weeks ago, Theresa May called a snap general election after less than a year in office. But she had put a weak cabinet in place that she couldn’t seem to keep in order, let alone persuade her back benchers to vote for her. She was struggling to cope with the Brexit agenda. Chancellor Philip Hammond announced hikes to National Insurance, only to be forced by May to withdraw it days later after the threat of 100 Tory MPs voting against her. She has u-turned on the manifesto commitments to a “dementia tax” and on affordable homes.

This has been an extraordinary election. It has all but wrecked the Fixed-Term Parliament Act, which was intended to bring strength and stability to government by freeing it from the uncertainty of when elections would occur.

Theresa May has adopted a presidential style throughout. She has insisted that election leaflets feature the slogan “Standing with Theresa May”.

Despite Theresa May’s apparent affection for Donald Trump, we are not America. Our parliamentary system needs a strong opposition to keep the unelected prime minister in check. We don’t have a role for a president.

May is standing on a weak ticket. She has made much of her plans for a crackdown on terrorism in recent days. She has said less about the drastic cuts to police numbers that she instigated, undermining our country’s security.

We need more police embedded in our communities if we are ever to tackle home-grown extremism but we won’t get them under May.

The Conservatives, and their Ludlow candidate Philip Dunne, have made it clear they think the NHS has enough money. If it has, why are we going to end up with just one A&E in Shropshire? Why are we set to lose Ludlow’s maternity unit and, in all probability, the Community Hospital? Because there is not enough money in the NHS. Dunne has blamed everyone else for the problems other than the Conservative government and himself as Health Minister.

Why are we struggling to fund Shropshire schools? Because the education budget is too small and too badly distributed.

Why are our businesses facing record increases in business rates? Because the Conservatives have repeatedly failed to face up to the obvious. The rates system needs urgent reform.

Why are we set for a hard Brexit? One that might leave us isolated from the bloc that takes more than 40% of our exports, leaving us more reliant on Donald Trump’s protectionist America? Because May, who favoured Brexit but campaigned to Remain, wants to show herself to be strong . She is determined to do so, no matter what the consequences are for our economy and our ability to support vulnerable and elderly through the taxes that workers and companies pay in a growing economy.

Our economy is already slowing. We can’t afford to pay a decent level of pension without a growing economy – that’s why May has pledged to end the triple lock guarantee on pension increases. We can’t afford to pay for social care because there is not enough money coming in from the slowing economy. That’s why Theresa May has pledged a dementia tax.

If Theresa May wins the huge majority she wants, she’ll have the power to cut our NHS, deliver an extreme Brexit and tear up human rights laws. We need a future where we invest in our NHS, we fund our schools properly and can afford to care for those in need. We need a Britain that hasn’t turned its back on Europe.

Whichever party you vote for today, please don’t vote to give Theresa May a mandate to continue swinging her wrecking ball at Britain.