There will be no early general election, Downing Street says

Theresa May's spokesperson explicitly ruled out an early contest

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Monday 20 March 2017 13:26
Theresa May returns to number 10, Downing Street
Theresa May returns to number 10, Downing Street

Downing Street has emphatically ruled out an early general election after rumours that Theresa May could go to the electorate ahead of Brexit negotiations.

Some newspapers had reported that Ms May could schedule a snap election for May 4 and announce it on the day she triggers Article 50.

The Prime Minister has consistently ruled out holding a snap election, arguing that it would bring additional uncertainty to the UK at a time when continuity was needed.

A Downing Street spokesperson told a briefing of journalists in Westminster on Monday morning: “There is no change in our position on an early general election. There is not going to be a general election.”

The Conservatives have a double digit poll lead over Labour and would be expected to win a landslide in the event of a contest.

Labour’s election coordinator Andrew Gwynne said this weekend that it would be “very difficult” for his party not to back a motion to trigger a general election if the Conservatives called one.

Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act elections are only supposed to be held on a regular basis once every five years – but the legislation has a number of loop holes in it that in effect mean an election can be called with a simple majority.

Labour is behind in the polls but has indicated it would vote to trigger an election 

The Tories' narrow majority in the House of Commons might tempt senior figures in the party to call for a contest.

Since the 2015 general election the Government has struggled to pass legislation from disability benefits cuts and cuts to tax credits for working families to rises in tax for self-employed workers.

Under Britain’s election rules Ms May would have to move a writ for an election on May 4 by March 27. It was announced this morning that she would trigger Article 50 on March 29.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott told The Independent this weekend she was confident Labour could win a snap election and that she was not contemplating defeat.

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