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Rishi Sunak declines to rule out July general election

23 Apr 2024 2 minute read
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks to journalists on board a plane on his way to Warsaw during his visit to Poland and Germany. P. Photo Henry Nicholls/PA Wire

Rishi Sunak has refused to rule out a July general election.

The Prime Minister, travelling to Poland on Tuesday to announce a military aid package for Ukraine, repeated his line that he intends to call a vote in the second half of the year.

He told reporters on the plane: “All I’m going to say is the same thing I say every time. As I said, I think it was in the first week of January, my working assumption is an election in the second half of the year.”

Many Westminster analysts see October or November as the favoured period for a national poll. The latest possible date Mr Sunak could delay the election until is January 28 2025.

But a disastrous set of local elections in May could force his hand, either by leading to a challenge to his leadership or by persuading him that an earlier polling day could be a better solution than limping on with a divided party.

Interest rate cuts

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt recently said “feelgood factor” of interest rate cuts would be stronger in the autumn, in an apparent hint at the timing of the election.

Asked whether he would commit to a deportation flight to Rwanda taking off before the vote, Mr Sunak said: “As I said on flights yesterday, 10-12 weeks, that’s what we’re working towards for all the reasons that I outlined yesterday.”

The Prime Minister also downplayed reports that West Midlands mayor Andy Street excluded references to the Tory Party from his campaign material ahead of the May 2 contest.

Mr Sunak said: Actually I think what these local elections allow us to do is demonstrate what the reality of Labour in power means.

“You mentioned the West Midlands – what have we got, Andy Street, who has attracted more inward investment than I think Wales and Scotland combined, smashing all his housing targets, attracting investment in transport infrastructure?

“Meanwhile, Labour-run Birmingham council have bankrupted the largest local authority in Europe and they’re saddling people with a 21% council tax rise.”

The Prime Minister is visiting Warsaw and Berlin to talk defence and security with the leaders of Poland, Nato and Germany.

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29 days ago

I was pondering this. Rwanda will fail and be exposed. That is very likely going to land back in his lap soon, I had it down to game us out the ECHR then election when the court cases kick off. Remembering he is doing nothing for UK court cases to work properly but expending a lot of resources here that could be used in the UK justice system. That abuse trial taking an age to come to court? Sunak causing it. But the other option is leaving a stinking rotten filled and brimming nappy for the next government to deal… Read more »

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
29 days ago
Reply to  Jeff

Your ponderings are interesting and not least one I concur with which is the running away like Cameron did with two fingers raised to his constituents and the rest of us. Swing the wrecking ball and split. This bill has gone through in a form his headbangers didn’t want so he’s still a target for them and I don’t believe he will lead them into the next election. He won’t want to risk the humiliation of being the first (would he be the first?) sitting PM to lose his seat at the hands of the voters. His recent behaviour seems… Read more »

29 days ago

Ohhhhhh, Sunak is fragile political coward, he stopped NATO head answering a Guardian journo asking the NATO head a question (she did not ask Sunak). Basically the Guardian journo wanted to ask what will happen when Sunak loses, Sunak started to panic and rolled out Corbyn.

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