Rishi Sunak is gearing up for a general election in the autumn of 2024 as he believes that will give him the best chance of a shock victory.
According to Telegraph reports, the prime minister has shrugged off calls to go to the polls early, instead holding out in the hope that the economy improves and new small-boats legislation kicks into effect.
It would also allow for more time to close the polling gap on Labour.
The Tories are 18 percentage points behind on polling average trackers, down from 24 points when Sunak took over in October.
Half of voters expect the Labour Party to be the largest party at the next general election – including 30 per cent expecting a Labour majority – while only 22 per cent expect the Conservatives to be the largest party.
For those 2019 Conservatives who no longer say they will vote Conservative, 52 per cent say the main reason is that they have lost trust in the Conservatives – significantly larger than any other answer.
One in seven (16 per cent) say a key reason is because the Conservatives are running country poorly, and 7 per cent blame the poor premiership of either Boris Johnson or Liz Truss.
Hoping to shrug off these woes, Sunak is looking to echo the approach taken by Gordon Brown, who as prime minister after 13 years of Labour government waited as long as he could before calling the 2010 May election.
In the end, Brown did better than expected, denying the Tories a House of Commons majority despite trailing in the opinion polls for months – although he ultimately left office as the Tories and the Liberal Democrats struck a coalition deal.
Some Tory MPs believe another hung parliament, where no party has an overall Commons majority, remains possible, given the Tories currently hold more constituencies than Labour.
No firm decision will be taken on an election date until much nearer the time. The latest a general election can be held is January 2025.
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