Incumbent PMs of whichever party now much less likely to go early
At the end of my session before the House of Lords Committee yesterday the chairman, Lord Lipsey asked for our thoughts on the likely year of the next general election.
I took the view that this parliament will continue to run a full term under the Fixed-Term Parliament Act and so June 2022 will be when the country votes next.
This is in spite of the fact that Brexit is most likely to happen sometime before and the consequence of the last few months is that Mrs May is to replaced and won’t be given the chance to lead her party into another election.
Her failed GE2017 gamble is going to remain in the collective political memory for generations and going early however good the polls will be regarded almost permanently as too great a risk
While the DUP arrangement with the Tories continues it is hard to envisage the circumstances in which LAB has the numbers with other parties to force through a confidence motion within the required terms of the FTPA.
Remember that the SNP, which opposed the 2017 election cannot be counted on to support any move which could prematurely cut its already reduced Westminster base. On June 8th it saw its 56 Scottish seats reduced to 35 and in none of them was its vote share above 46%. Its precarious position is one of the key facts of current politics which is rarely discussed.
The Tory MP totals could be reduced by by-election losses but the party will go to extreme lengths to avoid them.
Remember that blue team has only lost one MP to the grim reaper since GE2001.
Perhaps the only way that an early general election comes about is if the Tories split in some form which with it being so divided on Brexit we must accept as a possibility. I’d suggest, however, that the prospect of risking Mr Corbyn becoming PM will be a great unifier.
If you want a bet on the timing of the next general election it means locking up your stake for nearly five years.