Boris Johnson could cut election campaigns to FOUR WEEKS to avoid Theresa May-like drop in popularity
Boris Johnson could cut general election campaigns to just FOUR WEEKS to avoid a Theresa May-style slump in popularity – amid rampant speculation he will call an early poll in 2023 to destroy crisis-stricken Labor
- Coalition-era legislation that sets five-year terms on the verge of scrapping
- It would revert to the previous legal situation giving the Prime Minister the power to call elections
- The PM also expected to reduce the campaign period from seven to as little as four weeks
- Downing Street wants to avoid repeating Theresa May’s disastrous 2017 campaign
Boris Johnson could cut campaign time before the general election to just one month under new laws giving him more power over the voting schedule.
The Queen’s Speech will outline the Prime Minister’s plan to repeat the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, laying the groundwork for a possible election in 2023.
But the legislation should also allow him to cut the current pre-election campaign period from seven weeks to just one month, according to the BBC’s Newsnight.
Downing Street is keen to avoid any risk of a repeat of the 2017 election, where Theresa May’s terrible ‘strong and steady’ campaign saw her hemorrhaging support during the campaign and cost the Tories their majority.
The Queen’s speech will outline the Prime Minister’s plan to repeat the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, but the law is also expected to allow her to reduce the current pre-election campaign period from seven weeks to one month.
Downing Street is keen to avoid any risk of a repeat of the 2017 election, where Theresa May’s terrible “ strong and steady ” campaign saw her bleeding sustain and cost the Conservatives their majority.
How does the law on fixed-term parliaments work and what would the new rules be?
For hundreds of years, prime ministers had the discretion to call elections, provided they were held at least once every five years.
But the Cameron-Clegg Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011 introduced a five-year standard deviation, with ballots being issued on the first Thursday in May.
It was designed to allay Lib Dem’s fears that the Tories would ditch them if they thought they could get a majority on their own.
There are two mechanisms for holding early elections – if two-thirds of MPs vote for one, or if a vote of no confidence is passed in the government and no other administration is formed within 10 days.
Constitutional experts were then very critical of the arrangements – and the legal drafting – at the time.
And the problems were highlighted in 2019 when Parliament became completely blocked by Brexit.
Boris Johnson demanded an election saying it was the only way out of the deadlock, but was unable to get enough votes from MPs.
Eventually, the SNP allowed him to visit the country and he secured a huge majority of 80 in December 2019.
The next general election is currently scheduled for May 2, 2024.
The government now wants to restore the royal prerogatives that gave control to the prime minister in the past.
This means that the Prime Minister will be able to ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament at a time of his choosing.
Ms May was forced to strike a loose trust and supply deal with the DUP, but the failed election ultimately set the stage for her impeachment by Tory MPs two years later as she struggled to pass Brexit laws in the Commons.
The Prime Minister has not had full control over the timing of an election for a decade since the Cameron-Clegg Coalition passed the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act.
Instead, national competitions are supposed to take place every five years, barring extraordinary circumstances.
However, Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has confirmed that the Queen’s speech tomorrow will include repealing the law.
Going back to previous arrangements where prime ministers can choose when will massively increase the pressure on Sir Keir Starmer after a disastrous election.
He would potentially have less than two years to straighten Labor, with proof that it is still shipping votes to crucial areas of the Red Wall. Updates to the boundaries for ridings that need to be pushed by then could also increase the advantage for the Conservatives.
Sir Keir has already expressed concern over the prospect, saying on the anniversary of his leadership appointment last month: ‘I have asked the party to be ready for the elections for 2023.’ ‘
But a No 10 source said: ‘There are no talks about an early election. We are fully focused on recovering from the pandemic and building back better. ”
The FTPA restrictions were introduced under David Cameron because Liberal Democrats feared he would break their alliance sooner if polls showed the Conservatives could win a majority on their own.
But they were condemned as poorly drafted by experts and sparked fury from Mr Johnson and Tories in 2019 when Parliament was stuck on the Brexit issue – but MPs also spent months refusing to agree to hold early elections.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Time on Sunday, Mr Rees-Mogg said: ‘I am happy to say that the FTPA will be repealed. It is already a bill and it is something that we will be considering in the next session.
“This will restore the status quo ante (the situation that prevailed before). This will ensure that the constitution acts properly and that we don’t have the absurd shenanigans that we had in 2019. ”
Pressed on whether this meant the Prime Minister could call a snap election, Mr Rees-Mogg said: ‘Subject to normal conventions. The conventions will be re-established alongside the royal prerogative. ”
The next elections were due to take place in May 2024.