Rishi Sunak Accused Of 'Bottling' Holding May General Election

Labour and the Lib Dems accuse the prime minister of "squatting" in No.10 after he says election will be in "second half" of 2024.
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Rishi Sunak has been accused of “squatting” in No.10 having “bottled” holding an early general election.

The prime minister announced on Thursday his “working assumption” was he would delay going to the country until the “second half” of 2024.

His comments suggest the election will be held in either October or November, as had been widely expected.

But it comes following speculation Sunak could decide to call the election for May.

While he did not categorically rule out a spring poll, Sunak told broadcasters today: “My working assumption is we’ll have a general election in the second half of this year.”

The prime minister does still have the option of delaying it until as late as January 2025.

Labour holds a commanding poll lead and earlier today Keir Starmer said 2024 could be “the moment when power is taken out of Tory hands”, adding: “Bring it on.”

Following Sunak’s intervention, Pat McFadden, Labour’s campaign coordinator, said: “Our unelected prime minister has yet again bottled holding the election.

“He needs to stop hiding, stop being so weak, stop squatting in No.10 without a mandate.

“Come clean with the public: when will the British people get their say on 14 years of Tory failure?”

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey also accused Sunak of having “bottled it” and of “running scared”.

“Squatter Sunak is holed up in Downing Street, desperately clinging on to power rather than facing the verdict of the British people,” he said.

“We need an election in Spring, so that voters can finally get rid of this appalling and out-of-touch Conservative government.”

Speaking to broadcasters, the prime minister did not entirely rule out a spring election.

“I want to keep going managing the economy well and cutting people’s taxes. But I also want to keep tackling illegal migration,” he said when asked.

“I want to keep going, managing the economy well and cutting people’s taxes.

“But I also want to keep tackling illegal migration. So I’ve got lots to get on with and I’m determined to keep delivering for the British people.”

A recent survey showed nearly three-quarters of people - 73% - wanted the election by May of this year.

The research, by the More in Common think tank, found only 15% believed Sunak should wait until autumn.


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