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Sunday, May 19, 2024
Sunday May 19, 2024
Sunday May 19, 2024

Rishi Sunak Hints at Autumn General Election, Dismissing Speculation of May Poll

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Pm sets “working assumption” for election in second half of the year

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has all-but ruled out the possibility of a general election in May, hinting at an autumn ballot instead. Sunak’s unexpected announcement contradicted growing speculation about a potential spring election, stating his “working assumption” of going to the polls in the “second half of the year.”

The move surprised opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer, who had just concluded his New Year speech. Sunak’s remarks intensified the political race for No10, prompting Starmer to challenge the PM to set a firm election date.

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During a campaign visit to the Red Wall in Mansfield, Sunak emphasized his focus on managing the economy, cutting taxes, and addressing illegal migration. He acknowledged the challenges faced in 2023 but expressed optimism about the upcoming year.

By suggesting an autumn election, Sunak aims to dispel notions of indecision and preempt Labour’s accusations that he avoided calling an early election. The decision also allows the PM more time to address issues such as the cost of living and the small boats crisis.

While Sunak did not outright rule out an early election, he asserted his commitment to pressing matters, leaving room for flexibility if needed. Pollster Lord Hayward suggested that a Tory fightback could be possible, cautioning against writing off the Conservative party.

Sunak had already confirmed that an election would occur in the upcoming year, ruling out the latest possible date in January 2025. The unexpected announcement overshadowed Sir Keir Starmer’s New Year plea for voters to choose Labour and end “14 years of Tory decline.”

In response, Starmer questioned Sunak’s motives, asking what he was hiding by not setting a date and accused him of “squatting in Downing Street.” Meanwhile, Sunak appealed to Tory voters not to switch to the Reform Party, warning that it would be a gift to Labour.

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