The Tory chairman Liam Fox has suggested that Tony Blair might “cut and run” and call a snap election. One date pencilled in by Mr Fox’s team is April 21 – two weeks earlier than the widely tipped May 5 – and campaign workers have been ordered on to full alert.
Fox has been quoted as saying: “I believe there are a number of reasons why Labour needs to get this election out of the way early. “They are over-borrowing and it is becoming more apparent they have got to raise taxes. Retail sales growth in the last quarter was the lowest for six years and mortgage approvals are 38% down while mortgage arrears are growing. “Council tax bills will be a nasty shock and a revaluation of business rates will kick in during April.”
Given that the County Council elections are due on May 5th it would seem very odd indeed if voters in large parts of England had to go to the polls twice in a fortnight. Such a move would leave the Prime Minister open to charges of wasting public money and it would be hard to produce a convincing rationale for doing it then rather than in May.
The call looks like a classic pre-election means whereby an opposition party can get on the news agenda. What Fox really wants to bring to our attention are the economic facts on mortgage arrears and council tax increases. Fair enough but the early election claim does not really stand up.
Not convinced? You can get 5/1 against it NOT BEING MAY 5 on Betfair.
Copyright 2005 Mike Smithson