The next general election must be held before 24 January 2025. No more Fixed Terms Parliament Act, the exact date is once again at the behest of the PM. So when will it be? This is very much the current parlour game for all political nerds.
Conventional wisdom has it that the Tories will want to go long in order to try and hit all of Rishi Sunak‘s five pledges he made back in January – inflation, economy, debt, waiting lists, stop the boats. So it would seem that around October or November 2024 would be the current most likely guesstimate. It could of course even be in December 2024 or even January 2025. The Tories may quite like another winter general election because their older regular voters can be relied upon to turn up and the winter cold and darkness is yet another disincentive for the normally left of centre younger voters not to bother.
But right now, although still behind, the Tories are making the polls move in their favour. Their plan, or hope at least, was to ‘only’ be 10 points behind Labour in the polls by the end of this year. They are in fact well ahead of that plan now being only 15 points behind Labour. Sunak has clawed back half the deficit created by Boris’ partygate and Truss’ KamiKwarsi budget, in only his first six months. So, if they continue to deliver stable and competent government, could they be beat their target by the end of the year?
So as things have seemed to go better for the Tories recently in the polls, there’s now talk of a different election date altogether. Why not May 2024? The logic here is why risk another set of difficult local election results in May next year if you can boost Tory turnout by having a general election on the same day as the locals? But this would require polls to continue to improve for the Tories and go against Labour for the rest of this year and the beginning of next.
Right now, the smart money is still on October or November 2024 for the next general election but let’s see how this story runs during the course of this year.