Jeremy Corbyn has made moves to prepare his party for an early election amid uncertainty about what will happen in the aftermath of next month’s EU referendum.
The Guardian newspaper reports that the leader has appointed former civil service head Lord Kerslake to review the way his leader’s office works with the rest of the party machinery.
The crossbench peer will report within weeks on the relationship between the shadow cabinet, Mr Corbyn’s office, and the rest of the party.
The move comes days after eurosceptic Tory MPs briefed the Daily Mail newspaper that David Cameron could face a no confidence vote whatever the outcome of the referendum.
The anonymous MPs, incensed at the way the referendum campaign has been conducted, urged the Prime Minister to set a date of departure when the campaign if concluded; he has already said he will step down by 2020.
Mr Cameron’s pre-announced departure has focused some Tories’ attentions on who will succeed him. Boris Johnson, George Osborne, and Theresa May have all been talked about as potential successors.
Mr Corbyn warned earlier this month that Labour had not done enough to win the 2020 election but that better-than-expected local election results showed it had a solid foundation from which to make changes.
The speculation over an early election recalls the situation in 2007, when Gordon Brown took over from Tony Blair and was challenged to call an election.
Mr Brown hesitated, despite Labour being ahead in the polls at the time. The election was ultimately held in 2010 and Labour was ejected from government.
An early election could be attractive to some Conservatives because of Mr Corbyn's percieved weakness as leader. Most polls show the Tories slightly ahead.
Alternatively, the party could wait until the Government has completed the review into constituency boundaries, which is expected to boost Tory chances.
Though the Fixed Term Parliament Act required elections to be held every five years, a loophole allows an early election to be held when a no confidence vote has been called the sitting government.
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