Rishi Sunak eyes up general election date as voters go to polls in crunch ballot

Boris Johnson believes Tories can win next General Election

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is said to be eyeing up a November 2024 date for a general election.

Sources told Bloomberg that the PM is waiting til the last minute to go to the polls to give the economy as much time as possible to recover.

Mr Sunak can call a vote for any time in the next 18 months but it is understood he will try to give the party as much time as possible to recover in the polls.

An election must be held by January 2025.

The Tories are trailing Labour by around 20 points in most recent national polls.

After taking over from Liz Truss, Mr Sunak attempted to bring stability back to the party, promising to deliver 5 key pledges: cutting inflation in half by the end of the year, economic growth, cutting the national debt, stopping the boats and slashing NHS waiting lists.

However, immigration is still at a record high.

While inflation fell further than expected in June to 7.9 percent amid a sharp fall in petrol prices, it is still much higher than hoped.

Today, Mr Sunak is facing another major test as the party is battling three major by-elections.

Labour hopes to take Uxbridge and South Ruislip, which was Boris Johnson’s seat until he quit, and Selby and Ainsty, which was vacated by his ally Nigel Adams’ resignation.

The Lib Dems are eying victory in the contest in Somerton and Frome that was triggered by David Warburton exiting after admitting cocaine use amid allegations of sexual harassment.

Losses for the Tories in all of them would be the first time in 55 years that a Government has been defeated in three by-elections on the same day.

Last night, Mr Sunak braced his MPs that they face a “tough battle” to hang on to Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Selby and Ainsty, and Somerton and Frome as voters head to the polls today for the local ballots.

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He told them that governing parties rarely win by-elections but pledged to “throw everything” at winning the next general election.

The PM was understood to have Tory backbenchers at a meeting of the 1922 Committee of backbenchers: “In the coming months, I am going to set out more of what I would do if I had a full term.

“I was recently described as a full spectrum modern Conservative and you are going to see that in the programme I lay out.”

Mr Sunak vowed to show the public “who is really on their side”, adding: “And that is what will propel us to victory.”

He urged MPs to unite ahead of a general election expected next year.

Mr Sunak said: “When we come back in September we have a choice to make, all of us. Do we come together and throw everything at winning the next election or not? I’ve made my choice, I’m all in with you to win.

“I promise you we can do this but we can only do it together as one team.”

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