United we stand: Horncastle MP backs May

Louth and Horncastle MP Victoria Atkins has backed under-fire Theresa May and rubbished claims she will be replaced as Prime Minister by Boris Johnson within 12 months.
Theresa May and Victoria AtkinsTheresa May and Victoria Atkins
Theresa May and Victoria Atkins

Mrs May is under intense pressure after the snap election on June 8 when the Tories lost their overall majority.

But, Ms Atkins - who won the Louth and Horncastle seat with a record majority - says Mrs May is the right person to lead the country and deliver the best possible Brexit deal.

Ms Atkins, who was in favour of staying in Europe, has shrugged off fears Brexit will see Lincolnshire lose more than £120m a year in ECC funding, sparking a serious economic downturn.

Instead, she believes there will be ‘exciting opportunities’ to secure more cash for the area.

Ms Atkins revealed she would be battling for extra funding to improve Lincolnshire’s roads, and added that better transport links could deliver a ‘huge benefit’ to the area’s rural and coastal economy.

Her comments will come as a boost for campaigners fighting for a massive upgrade to the A158, including a Horncastle by-pass.

Ms Atkins, who was speaking to the BBC, said she had not heard of reports suggesting Mr Johnson would be Prime Minister within 12 months.

Ms Atkins said: “I think she can remain as Prime Minister as long as she has the support of the parliamentary party and the country. She has that support at the moment.

“I know there’s lots of chatter about protests, but the truth is we’ve got a big job of work to do and we’ve got to make sure we get the best possible Brexit deal for our country. Theresa May is the PM to make sure that happens.”

On Brexit, Ms Atkins said: “We should not be naive about how complex the process is.

It is taking time. We have to go about it in a calm and methodical way which is precisely why Theresa May and David Davis - and the rest of the team - are the best people to carry out this.

“Brexit is going to happen and we have to make the very best of it we can, not just in two years time but in the intervening two years.”

She insisted the Government was focussed on the ramifications of leaving Europe.

She added: “One of the opportunities of Brexit is that after we leave we are going to have conversations about the sort of investment we are going to have in our region.

“I, for one, will be battling for investment in our road infrastructure because for too long we haven’t had the investment we need.

“If we can open up our region a little bit more it will have huge benefit for our people and for our rural and coastal economies.”

Ms Atkins, who holds one of the safest seats in the country, admitted the Tories had lessons to learn from the June election.

She added: “We have too look at what happened and we have to make sure we learn lessons from it.

“We know we have got to connect better with younger voters and we know we have got to connect better with people who are just about managing.”

She said that freezing university fees and promising an extra £10 billion into a scheme to make it easier for people to buy their own homes were steps in the right direction.