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Rishi Sunak eyeing early October election to avoid clash with US

The general election was previously tipped for the week after the US presidential election but insiders are concerned about logistics

Zoe Grunewald
Wednesday 07 February 2024 10:23 GMT
The Conservatives are trailing Labour by 20 points in the polls

Rishi Sunak is planning a general election for the first two weeks of October, The Independent understands.

Sources say Downing Street is eyeing an election earlier in the month with the PM unlikely to wait until November, as has been mooted in some quarters, because it would clash with the US presidential election.

One source said a November election was a “non-starter” because of the noise a US election would generate likely drowning out any Tory messaging in the final weeks of campaigning.

Yesterday, The Sun reported that the prime minister is “moving away” from a November election, in part over fears of “global insecurity” triggered by the controversial Mr Trump winning the US presidential election.

The former US president has publicly sowed doubts on the legitimacy of the 2020 US presidential election which saw Joe Biden take the presidency from Mr Trump. He is now being indicted for the mishandling of official information and conspiracy to defraud the US government.

However, Mr Trump is currently leading in the race for the Republican nomination and is ahead of Joe Biden, the Democrat’s candidate and incumbent president, in many opinion polls across the US.

Donald Trump has been charged with incitement of insurrection against the US government (AP)

Mr Sunak has to call an election by January 2025, but it is up to him what date he chooses. He recently told reporters that the election would be this year, leading many to predict it would fall in Spring or the Autumn.

A polling day of November 14 had been widely tipped, but with the US going to the polls on November 5, multiple Conservative figures have now suggested that has been ruled out.

Latest polling shows the prime minister is 20 points behind in the polls - leading many to suggest the prime minister would push the election to the last possible date.

Meanwhile Labour officials are preparing to to fight an election as soon as May, and have been ordered to submit their policies for the party’s manifesto by Friday.

Labour are preparing for an election as early as May (PA Wire)

An October general election would disrupt party conference season – a time which has typically been used by parties to bring in cash for campaigns.

But the Conservatives are unlikely to be concerned about their finances after having brought in £16.5 million in donations in the last few months.

Downing Street have declined to comment on the claims.

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