Rishi Sunak urged to call a general election before next summer
Rishi Sunak’s cabinet reshuffle sees Hands replace Zahawi
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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak could be set to call a general election in 18 months, according to his newly-appointed Tory Party Chairman Greg Hands. This would be ahead of the January 2025 deadline, and has been welcomed by the majority of Express.co.uk readers, a new poll has shown.
Mr Hands shared the approximate date of the next general election in an email sent out to party members and supporters. It told recipients that they would have 18 months to prepare. The message, sent out from Tory headquarters known as CCHQ, read: “The next 18 months will see us win or lose the next general election.
This indicates that a ballot will be called by the end of next summer and would give Mr Sunak plenty of time to reclaim support for the Conservative Party. The current parliamentary term expires in January 2025, yet winter elections are rare meaning it is likely to be held early in the second half of 2024.
Mr Hands replaced Nadhim Zahawi as Chairman in Mr Sunak’s mini-reshuffle on Tuesday, February 8. He said he wanted to get the Party in “fighting condition” before a national vote. The Telegraph reports the new Chairman as having “15 to 20 months” to prepare.
Lee Anderson was appointed as the new Deputy Chairman to support Mr Hands get the Party on an election footing. He said in a message on Twitter that a September election could take place. He said: “I am going to take this new role really seriously, grafting seven days a week, 12 hours a day for the next 18 months up until the general election.”
In a poll that ran from 10:30am on Wednesday, February 8, to 2pm on Monday, February 13, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Should Rishi Sunak call a general election sooner than next summer?”
A total of 1,398 readers responded with the vast majority, 70 per cent (982 people), answering “yes” he should call an election sooner.
In contrast, 29 per cent (411 people) said “no” he should not, and a further five people said they did not know either way.
Dozens of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers shared their thoughts on when the UK should head to the polls.
Many readers argued in favour of an early election, with username skeptiker stating that “next week wouldn’t be soon enough!”
Similarly, username MaveDave said: “Next week, preferably.”
Another, username thisisit, said: “Yes. We deserve a general election now.”
Username Gordie1234 commented: “Why delay the inevitable.”
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Other readers agreed that Mr Sunak should call an election so that a new Government can lead the country. Username durfel said: “Sooner we have one, the sooner he will be gone!”
Username Sleepalot wrote: “May as well have it now so Labour can finish the job.”
Likewise, username billy middle england said: “He might as well unless he actually stops the boats completely and drops net zero, he and the Tory party are finished anyway.”
And username brinobill commented: “Yes, it’s going to be operation wipeout for the Tories whenever they decide to set the date.”
However, some readers thought that he should wait before sending Britons to the polls. Username rangerno1 said: “No point in calling the general election; nothing too different for the new Government.”
Another, username Rayf wrote: “Aint going to happen. He’s bound to know his time on the job will finish with any election.”
Username herbertshaircut remarked: “Sweet Jesus – no.”
While username kingkenny said: “Don’t care when they call an election.”
Mr Sunak’s Party is trailing behind Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour by 21 points, according to the latest Techne UK tracker poll for Express.co.uk. Labour currently leads the polls with 48 per cent, compared to the Conservatives’ 27 per cent. The Liberal Democrats currently hold eight per cent, while Reform UK has seven per cent and the Green Party has four per cent.
Prediction website Electoral Calculus forecasts that if this result was repeated at a general election the Conservatives would suffer their worst result on record – performing worse than when John Major’s Tories were defeated by Tony Blair in 1997 with just 165 seats.
Predictions show the Tories would win just 112 seats, while Labour would win a 250-seat majority.
Several MPs have already declared their decision not to stand at the next election. These include former Cabinet Ministers Sajid Javid, Matt Hancock, Nadine Dorries and George Eustice, alongside Labour’s Dame Margaret Beckett, Dame Rosie Winterton and Paul Blomfield.
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