Rishi Sunak 'axes plans for summer election' as he warns UK is heading for hung parliament

5 May 2024, 22:48 | Updated: 6 May 2024, 09:13

Rishi Sunak has said the country is hurtling towards a hung parliament after ruling out a summer election after dismal local election results for the Conservatives
Rishi Sunak has said the country is hurtling towards a hung parliament after ruling out a summer election after dismal local election results for the Conservatives. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

Rishi Sunak has said the country is hurtling towards a hung parliament after ruling out a summer election after dismal local election results for the Conservatives

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Speaking to The Times, the Prime Minister used the threat of a Labour-led coalition government to try and convince his party to unite behind him.

Read More: Local election results 2024 in full: see how your area voted

Mr Sunak said: “These results suggest we are heading for a hung parliament with Labour as the largest party.

“Keir Starmer propped up in Downing Street by the SNP, Liberal Democrats and the Greens would be a disaster for Britain.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak doing media interviews during a visit to the Catterick military base in North Yorkshire. Picture date: Friday May 3, 2024.
Mr Sunak said: “These results suggest we are heading for a hung parliament with Labour as the largest party.". Picture: Alamy
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer (right) celebrates with newly elected Mayor of West Midlands Richard Parker at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. Picture date: Saturday May 4, 2024.
Labour told The Times it was “not planning alliances” with the SNP “or anyone”. Picture: Alamy

“The country doesn’t need more political horse trading, but action. We are the only party that has a plan to deliver on the priorities of the people.”

The intervention came after the Telegraph reported that plans for a summer election had been shelved by Downing Street in order to give the party enough time to get itself in order to fight for its future in government.

Polling experts have poured cold water on Mr Sunak's prediction, pointing to the fact that voters tend to behave differently in local elections than they do when electing MPs.

Labour told The Times it was “not planning alliances” with the SNP “or anyone”.

An autumn general election is said to be most likely after the local elections - as the Tories hope an improving economic situation and Rwanda flights getting off the ground will improve their showing.

Sunak is now banking on an autumn election to turn around Tory polling woes
Sunak is now banking on an autumn election to turn around Tory polling woes. Picture: Alamy

Downing Street has shelved plans for a general election this summer, The Telegraph understands, with an autumn vote now widely expected after Tory local election defeats.

A Sunak ally told The Telegraph: “I definitely think the weight of views is to go later as there’s still plenty we can keep doing to show delivery.”

Labour is in an upbeat mood after Tory votes collapsed across the country in the local elections.

Labour gained 185 councillors, taking their total up to 1,140, and won control of eight councils (50 overall).

The Liberal Democrats became the local opposition with 521 councillors and control of 12 councils.

Defeated Conservative Andy Street (left) listens to Labour's Richard Parker speaking as he is elected as the new Mayor of West Midlands, following the count at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. Picture date: Saturday May 4, 2024.
Popular Tory candidate Andy Street was ousted by Labour's Richard Parker in the West Midlands. Picture: Alamy

The Tory vote collapse means they have been left with 513 councillors and control of just six councils.

Labour stormed to victory in 10 out of 11 of the mayoral races, winning in London, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands.

The latter represented a major upset as the popular Tory candidate Andy Street was ousted by Labour's Richard Parker.

Mr Parker won by just 1,508 votes.

Labour also won the mayoralties in Liverpool City Region, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire, York and North Yorkshire, North East, East Midlands, and Salford.

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