Rishi Sunak urged to hold summer election as aides fear he 'cannot hold on until autumn' amid Tory rebel plot

28 March 2024, 00:27

Rishi Sunak's inner circle has reportedly urged him to call a summer election.
Rishi Sunak's inner circle has reportedly urged him to call a summer election. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Jenny Medlicott

Rishi Sunak’s aides have urged him to call a summer election amid fears that Tory rebels will step up their plot to oust him.

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The Prime Minister’s inner circle has reportedly pressed Mr Sunak to call an election as early as June as they fear he will not make it until the autumn as party leader.

As speculation grows over the amount of letters of no confidence submitted against the Prime Minister, Mr Sunak’s aides reportedly now fear the situation is untenable.

Those close to Mr Sunak are said to fear that the situation may grow worse if the election is held off until the autumn with the potential of more Tory MPs resigning and plotting from rebels increasing, the DailyMail reports.

It comes following previous reports that a group of senior Tory MPs had been plotting to oust the Prime Minister ahead of the next election.

Last week, Sir Simon Clarke, former Chief Secretary to the Treasury claimed that dozens of letters of no confidence had been handed in against Mr Sunak as he said they only ‘need a couple of more letters’ to trigger a leadership contest.

The aim of submitting letters of no confidence is to trigger a leadership contest, which would remove Sunak ahead of a scheduled general election later this year, a vote which the Conservatives are currently expected to lose heavily.

The Prime Minister has been urged to call a summer election.
The Prime Minister has been urged to call a summer election. Picture: Alamy

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A total of 53 letters are required from MPs to trigger a contest. The current number of letters is only known by Brady.

It comes after Britain’s top polling expert gave Labour a 99% chance of winning the next election on Wednesday, only adding to already growing fears within the Tory party.

Earlier this week, an additional two Tory ministers announced they would be standing down in the next general election.

Skills, apprenticeships and higher education minister Robert Halfon and armed forces minister James Heappey stepped down making them the 62nd and 63rd Conservative MPs to announce they are resigning.

As an 'exodus' appears to continue within the party, advisers are also reportedly growing concerned that the Reform party could gain more ground in the time it takes to call an election.

Some senior aides of Mr Sunak are believed to already be looking for post-election jobs.

Tim Montgomerie doesn't think Rishi Sunak will make it to the next election

An unexpected claim has also emerged that the Prime Minister is beginning to doubt his own ability to salvage the situation.

Tory adviser Tim Montgomerie told the DailyMail that a source in Downing Street had said that Mr Sunak had openly said to advisers: “Am I not very good at this? Why isn't anything happening?”

Meanwhile, preparations for the General Election are said to be getting underway within the party, as departments have reportedly been asked to draw up policy ideas for the Tory manifesto.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is also said to be preparing for a fiscal event before the election is called.

Responding to claims of a July election, a No. 10 source said: “The working assumption is second half of the year.”

Mr Sunak would have to call an election at the end of April for a June election or at the end of May for one in July.

A source close to the alleged Tory rebels plotting against Mr Sunak also said: “When you have John Curtice predicting that Labour have a 99 percent chance of winning it is hard to see how anyone can question the logic of at least considering whether a new leader would do a better job.

“It is patently obvious that we need to roll the dice before the election.”