Rishi Sunak fails to shut down general election rumours as he repeats ‘second half of this year’

22 May 2024, 12:10 | Updated: 22 May 2024, 14:18

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Rumours have gripped Westminster that the Prime Minister could call a snap general election in July
Rumours have gripped Westminster that the Prime Minister could call a snap general election in July. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

General election fever has gripped Westminster as speculation growing that Rishi Sunak could reveal the exact date the nation will go to the polls.

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Despite Labour being way ahead in the polls there were growing rumours today that an announcement could come in the next few hours.

There was even speculation that the election could take place as early as July 4.

There was no official word from No10 but at PMQs today Mr Sunak said: “There will be an election in the second half of the year."

Mr Sunak said: “There will be an election in the second half of the year."
Mr Sunak said: “There will be an election in the second half of the year.". Picture: Alamy

Stephen Flynn accused the Prime Minister of "playing games with the public".

Earlier Mr Sunak hailed a fall in inflation and said there would be “brighter days” ahead.

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He said the fall in inflation - from 3.2 per cent in March to 2.3 per cent in April - represented a “major moment for the economy”. 

Others suggested the big announcement later could be a Cabinet reshuffle.

Senior sources have claimed that the briefing about the election was coming from Labour however LBC understands that some parts of the civil service are now being asked to be placed on an election footing.

Many Cabinet ministers have already signalled that they believe the election will still take place in the autumn.

Some MPs have said a July election would not be ideal as the PM would want to get Rwanda flights operational before going to the polls.

A July election would also clash with the UEFA EURO 2024 football tournament which kicks off in Munich on Friday 14 June and ends with the final in Berlin on Sunday 14 July.

Mr Sunak is due to gather his Cabinet after PMQs this afternoon, with the meeting having been delayed from yesterday as a result of his trip to Vienna.

The latest polling gives Labour a 17-point lead over the Tories.

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