JEREMY CORBYN has warned Labour MPs that Theresa May is planning to call a snap election “within months”. But is that really likely?
The Prime Minister has said the next general election will run to schedule, in 2020 - but in the wake of Brexit negotiations and her controversial policy to revive grammar schools, many have questioned whether she can continue to govern without a fresh mandate.
BBC Newsnight reported that Mr Corbyn would tell his MPs that Mrs May could call an election as soon as next spring, and that Labour should support it.
The Fixed-term Parliament Act, introduced by David Cameron when he came to Number 10, sets elections at five-year intervals, and can only be superseded if two-thirds of MPs agree to it.
Mr Corbyn’s leadership rival Owen Smith has warned that Labour would be “decimated” in the event of an election soon.
The party’s deputy leader Tom Watson has been at pains to promote a new system for choosing the shadow cabinet, allowing Labour to “put the band back together” in time for a possible early election.
Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown claimed the only way Mrs May could secure a “soft Brexit” deal which appeased her Eurosceptic backbenchers would be to call an early election, adding: “the possibility curve rises now quite sharply towards a May election”.
It is unlikely Mrs May will raise the matter, unless to name the date or to flatly rule out a quick poll - any hinting at an election would be seized upon by critics as weak and indecisive - as Gordon Brown found to his cost.
In the meantime, all we have to go on - other than the warnings of Jeremy Corbyn - are Mrs May’s words from the speech she used to launch her campaign to succeed Mr Cameron. No early election, she said, and no emergency budget.
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