• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

UK Premier hints at elections in second half or 2024

I have been elected to fix mistakes – Rishi Sunak

UK British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says the next general election would be held in the second half of this year, when asked if there would be a vote this summer.

General Election fever had erupted at Westminster on Wednesday with speculation rife that the PM could make an announcement soon.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Sunak declined to rule out a snap summer election.
Asked to do so, or not, by Scottish National Party Westminster leader Stephen Flynn, Mr Sunak responded: “Spoiler alert there is going to be a general election in the second half of this year.”

This use of words was sticking to his line for months.
But the tearoom in the Commons was gripped with talk that the Prime Minister could call a snap general election this summer but in the end Sunak dismissed such speculations.

Some senior Tory MPs played down the prospects of an election in July, amid the speculation that it could take place on the 4th.
However, there was a deafening silence from No10 to put a halt to the election fever juggernaut sweeping Westminster.

Cabinet ministers were also being summoned to a meeting on Wednesday afternoon, reportedly unaware what was on the agenda.

The failure to kill off the speculation sent it spiralling even higher, with some claims that the PM might instead name the election date for the autumn, or announce a reshuffle.

Other political parties were racing to ramp up their election plans despite several Cabinet ministers signalling the election would be in the autumn.

The frenzied atmosphere had echoes of claims that Susan Hall was going to pull off a shock victory to beat Sadiq Khan in the London mayoral race earlier this month.
These claims, in the end, turned out to be completely false as the Labour mayor won a third term in City Hall by a comfortable margin.

The Downing Street stance may also have been down to many key advisers being in preparation meetings for Prime Minister’s Questions.
However, No10’s decision not to dampen down the rumours kept them well alive.

One senior MP doubted a summer election would happen as the real “game changer” before the general election would be getting deportation flights off the ground heading to Rwanda.

At this stage, the Prime Minister can not be sure this would happen before July 4 as the controversial immigration policy still faces a series of possible court battles.

Leading pollsters believe that the most likely election date is Thursday November 14th, with Mr Sunak calling it in his speech to the Tory Party conference in Birmingham on October 2.

Other MPs were speculating that Mr Sunak could opt for a December 12 date, so he will have been able to say he served five years as Prime Minister, if the Tories lose.

For a July 4 election, the Prime Minister would have to get the dissolution of Parliament by May 30, according to the Commons Library.
So, it appeared that he would have to act on Wednesday or Thursday to do so as the Commons goes into recess on Thursday.

This would leave no time for the traditional “wash up” of bills to get key ones through Parliament.

The speculation had been further fuelled by the lack of activity in Parliament.
But this may be down to the Government still negotiating with backbenchers over a number of major bills.

Some Tory MPs had hoped that inflation would fall to the Bank of England’s two per cent target but official figures showed it had gone down from 3.2 per cent in March to 2.3 per cent in April, less that the City expected.

If it had fallen to two per cent, it would possibly have given the Prime Minister more momentum for a snap election.

But some No10 aides are understood to be urging the PM to go early, on the basis that more asylum seekers and economic migrants will cross the Channel in “small boats” this summer, and inflation may rise again temporarily.