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.
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.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies