Oliver Dowden, the chairman of the Conservative Party, has refused to rule out an early general election.
The next election is due to be held in 2024, but there has been long-running speculation in Westminster that Boris Johnson could decide to go to the country in 2023.
Speaking to Sky News on Sunday morning as the Tory conference in Manchester got underway, Dowden said Johnson had told him to “make sure the Conservative Party machine is ready to go for an election whenever it comes”.
Asked if the prime minister could call a vote in 2023, he said: “It’s not my job to call an election.”
Dowden said the government was “absolutely focused on getting on with the job”.
Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign secretary, told her party’s conference in Brighton last week that Labour’s leadership expected an election in 2023. “We could be in power in 18-months time,” she told activists. “Never believe it’s not possible.”