People Still Don't Believe Rishi Sunak On When The Next General Election Will Happen. Here's Why

The prime minister has ruled out sending the nation to the polls on May 2.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ruled out holding a general election on May 2 last night.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ruled out holding a general election on May 2 last night.
LEON NEAL via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak has dismissed the widespread speculation that he was looking to hold a general election on May 2 – but the Tories’ recent history with elections and his curious wording means people have been rolling their eyes in response.

The prime minister said on Thursday that he could guarantee there would not be an election on “that day”.

But some sceptics have suggested that there’s still a (very narrow) chance it could be held on another day in May – or any day, in fact, before the parliamentary term is up in January.

Theresa May and Boris Johnson’s legacy

The prime minister has so far only said that he is “working towards” the assumption that an election would be in the second half of the year.

However, as people on X (formerly Twitter) pointed out, the Conservatives have a track record of calling unexpected elections – even after they promised not to.

When Theresa May was prime minister during the latter months of 2016, she vowed not to hold a general election until 2020, ruling out an early election on five occasions over her first nine months in office.

She also dismissed speculation she would time a snap election with the local May elections of 2017.

It rather backfired for her, as she ended up with a hung parliament and needed to rely on the Democratic Unionist Party to support the minority government.

Her successor Boris Johnson was also unclear about an election date when he first got into office.

He called an election in December 2019, six months after he first entered Downing Street.

The official government line was that the priority was just to deliver Brexit by October 31 rather than taking the public back to the ballot box.

Johnson also said there would be no election unless Brexit was delivered.

Then – after he managed to agree the Northern Ireland protocol with the EU – he dissolved parliament on November 6 so he could hold the snap election in December.

Sunak’s election claim prompts general mockery

The ongoing uncertainty around the date of the next general election also triggered the inevitable comparisons to the comedy, The Thick of It, which satirised life within the British government.

And his refusal to set a date in stone just added fuel to the fire.

The Labour Party wasted no time in releasing a clip comparing Sunak to a chicken....

... while the Liberal Democrats accused him “running scared”.


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