Jeremy Hunt refuses to rule out the possibility of a May general election

7 March 2024, 08:59 | Updated: 7 March 2024, 09:05

Jeremy Hunt refuses to rule it out the possibility of a May general election
Jeremy Hunt refuses to rule it out the possibility of a May general election. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle de Wolfe

Jeremy Hunt has refused to rule out the possibility of a May election following yesterday's make or break pre-election Budget.

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The Chancellor set out his fiscal plans yesterday ahead of the next general election, with his "BMW" Budget highlights including a 2p cut to National Insurance, as well as notable changes to childcare and child benefits.

The date of the forthcoming election has not yet been confirmed by the Tories, with Hunt failing to nail down a date during media rounds on Thursday morning.

An election has to take place before January 2025.

Speaking with Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on Thursday, Hunt noted his desire to increase public spending by one per cent a year.

When asked about when a potential election could take place, the Chancellor has refused to rule out a spring general election.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt speaks with Nick Ferrari | Watch Again

However, he added that an Autumn election was a "working assumption" during interviews on Thursday.

It leaves the door open for the possibility of an additional tax-cutting 'mini-Budget' before the election in a bid to further entice voters at the ballot box.

The government would need to dissolve parliament by March 26 in order to call an election on May 2.

Speaking with Sky on Thursday, Mr Hunt said: "I think that whether [the prime minister] chooses to have the election early or whether he chooses to - which is the working assumption - do it in the autumn... in the end, what a budget has to be is responsible, and on that there is total agreement."

Read more: Jeremy Hunt freezes duty on fuel and alcohol as he unveils pre-election 'tax-cutting' Budget

Read more: 'Britain deserves better': Keir Starmer slates 'Tory con' Budget and brands 'nicked' non-dom policy 'a desperate move'

It follows a Budget which saw the government's pledge of 15 hours of free childcare for working parents of two-year-olds expanded to include children over nine months.

However, recent less-than-promising opinion polls have reinforced a sense of unease among Conservatives, raising the likelihood that an election may be pushed until October or November.

Will there be a May election? Hunt refuses to rule it out following yesterday's Budget.
Will there be a May election? Hunt refuses to rule it out following yesterday's Budget. Picture: Alamy

Speaking with the BBC, Mr Hunt said: "It's a matter for the Prime Minister, it's above my paygrade but...

"What we are showing today is what the key division in British politics is – do you believe the way to grow the economy is with more spending higher taxes, what the Labour Party believe, or do you think actually the way to create more jobs and fire up the economy is by reducing the tax burden in a way that is responsible and protects public services?"

It comes ahead of local elections, which are set to take place on May 2.

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