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UK election speculation heightens as Rishi Sunak refuses to boycott July polls

UK election speculation heightens as Rishi Sunak refuses to boycott July polls


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Speculation is rising that Rishi Sunak will stoke the July general election heat frenzy on Wednesday, with Downing Street refusing to rule one out and some senior Conservatives saying there is no need to wait until the autumn. .

The Prime Minister will hold a cabinet meeting on Wednesday afternoon where ministers will assess the state of the economy after inflation fell to 2.3%.

Sunak at Prime Minister's Questions did little to quell speculation, reiterating that there would be an election in the second half of the year. This period may include July.

The election will be held 25 working days after the dissolution of Parliament and Sunak can call the election immediately or at a later date. The PM's press secretary said: I wouldn't rule anything out.

Foreign Secretary Sir David Cameron will return early from a trip to Albania to attend cabinet meetings, aides have said, while some of Sunak's top advisers have concluded there is little point in waiting until the autumn.

A Tory source said Prime Minister Jeremy Hunt had decided not to set the scope of tax cuts later this year and not to issue a statement in the autumn.

Meanwhile, Sunak's team now doubts whether the Bank of England will be able to cut interest rates early enough to have a significant impact on the election.

After UK inflation fell to a lower-than-expected 2.3% in April, investors now believe the BoE is unlikely to cut interest rates in June and will not be confident enough to do so in August.

Separately, Downing Street refused to say whether Hunt would still be chancellor on polling day, despite Sunak insisting in January that Hunt would remain in office until the election.

Sunak's spokesman said it was the chancellor's decision regarding cabinet positions, adding that the chancellor thought Hunt was doing a great job. Hunt's allies insisted he would remain in his seat until the vote.

If Sunak calls a snap election, senior Conservatives have said they could take the country by laying out a narrow path to victory, arguing that prices are under control and growth is returning.

This month the UK recorded its fastest quarterly growth in two years.

Sunak and his ministers will have to consider whether economic conditions will improve significantly before the autumn election, which most lawmakers expected on Wednesday.

The FT poll shows the Conservatives trail Labor by almost 21 percentage points, but Tory strategists believe Labor's lead is weak and could be eroded during the campaign.

A Labor spokesman said the opposition was always on election alert. We are ready to go wherever the Prime Minister calls elections, he added. [Sunak] Let's continue this afternoon.

The latest clue that Sunak could trigger a summer election came when Tory leaders held crisis talks, first reported by the Financial Times, on Monday last week over how to finance the initial campaign.

The Conservative Party board and key finance committee have hosted talks on how much the party can spend within campaign rules if the polls are held in the summer.

Tory officials who manage relationships with big donors have been told to make careful inquiries about the possibility of attracting large donations in the short term, according to party sources.

But Tory officials have publicly dismissed the significance of such a move, insisting that meetings are scheduled in advance and that rolling election scenarios and fundraising opportunities are considered throughout the election year.

Senior party officials have noted a recent increase in Downing Street events and activity by visiting teams.

Tory officials said they had contacted companies sympathetic to the Conservative Party to see if their sites could be used for events in the coming weeks.

But there was skepticism about the wisdom of Sunak calling an election earlier than necessary when his Conservatives were well behind Labor in opinion polls.

The general election must be held before the end of January 2025.

Video: Politics at a glance: Can anything save Sunak?




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