March 20, 2017

Prepare for a snap election

Prepare for a snap election

Peter Bingle asks whether the concatenation of recent issues has helped manufacture the perfect rationale for the Prime Minister to call an early election?

We live in a time when all the old certainties in politics have been turned on their head. The momentous events of last week are testament to that.

The PM and her closest aides have been adamant for many months that there will not be an early election. The PM is determined to stay the course and go to the country in 2020. Perhaps the growing early election speculation is therefore nothing more than idle chatter among the residents of the Westminster village. Or perhaps a concatenation of issues has created the perfect rationale for the PM to go early…

I always suspected that the reality of the government’s small majority and the fickle nature of Tory MPs would in the end persuade the PM to go early. The Great Repeal Bill is the perfect vehicle to create a ‘constitutional crisis’ which would force a reluctant PM to ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament. For what it’s worth, I do not believe that a majority of MPs – let alone Peers – will vote to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act. That will cause the PM a massive problem.

More recently, other issues have come into play which strengthen the intellectual as well as the political argument for an early election:

The first concerns the Scottish First Minister’s call for a second independence referendum. Number 10 will have been stung by Nicola Sturgeon’s jibe that unlike the PM she has a mandate. What better response than to win a large overall majority in a general election and win in the process seats off the SNP in Scotland?

The second concerns the PM’s Cabinet: several senior ministers are not performing. Too many needless mistakes are being made. The PM needs a more able government much more in her image.

The third concerns the government’s policy agenda. Theresa May is a very different Tory to Dave & George. The 2015 manifesto is no longer the policy agenda the PM wishes to pursue. Grammar schools are just one example. The PM needs a policy agenda that encompasses and justifies her much more state interventionist form of Toryism.

The fourth concerns the nagging issue of general election expenses and the embarrassing fact that many MPs representing marginal seats are being interviewed by the police. This has the potential to go toxic for the PM and her Party Chairman. Far better to draw a line and have an early election.

Lastly, the PM won’t need to deal with the difficult issue of boundary changes. She will win a huge majority on the current boundaries and then have five years to reduce the number of MPs in the next Parliament.

There will be some, including many Tories, who will caution the PM against going early. They will point to the hapless Jeremy Corbyn and say that the longer things go on the worse it will get for him. May be but the government has just endured a terrible week and there will be many more in the months ahead. This is not currently the most competent of governments. Another very strong reason to go early and secure a massive majority.

A stunning election victory will also strengthen the PM’s Brexit negotiating position with the EU…

So will she go, or won’t she? I suspect that realpolitik will settle the matter. The irony is that the Labour Party has no choice but to agree to any request for an early election.

4.50 avg. rating (89% score) - 8 votes
Peter Bingle
Peter Bingle
Peter is the Founder of Terrapin Communications. With a career in politics and communications that has spanned almost four decades, he is one of the country's leading public affairs practitioners. His career has seen him advise many top companies, including McDonald’s, HSBC, L’Oreal, Permira, Motorola, Camelot, Rolls Royce & Kellogg's.
  • LunchTimeLoather

    Mr Redwood: You are a Member of Parliament. You have more chance of doing something – anything – about the BBC’s reporting than any of us reading your piece. I can complain to the BBC forever and a day and I will always be told that they “got it about right” but “valued my comments” before being put on their naughty step known as the Expedited Complaints Procedure, which means I am then ignored. So please, go on, sort it out.

  • sylvesterthecat

    Was there any point to this piece?

  • keith

    Labour MPs can’t spell Backbone, if they had any, they would’ve done all the things you said at the end of your article months and months ago, instead, all we see is the flapping of wings and the squawking of chickens, but, then again, their constituents have know for a long time what a bunch of time servers they are, who keep their heads down, don’t rock the boat and pick up the pay packet, lets hope the majority of those spineless jobsworths get kicked out along with Corbins loony fringe.

  • Wally-Jumblatt

    “An eight per cent real terms cut of the defence budget has led to a 30 per cent reduction in capability”

    That sounds like incompetence to me.
    The basic point about defence is to have the capability to defend one’s interests.

  • EU boooo. UK yaaaay

    A good article with one exception.
    BAE should run as fast and as far away as possible from ANYTHING to do with a Sino partnership, unless giving away every single technological advantage we have is a business aim. The P.R.C does not do partnerships, it does mass theft and appropriation.

  • Nockian

    Tax is theft with force. Use of force to coerce people to give up the property they have produced through their own honest effort is immoral. If you don’t understand the basics of moral reality by accepting the word of the church, or your parents in faith, then you must first question why honesty is a virtue and why stealing is immoral. If you can find no sound reason why theft should be immoral then let chaos and anarchy commence-life only has a value in relation to those things which sustain it, once those values are considered public property, then life itself has no value. Force is an anathema to freedom as feelings are to reason. Force is the dimunition of life and feelings are useless in preserving it.

    No one I know has ever given a good philosophical reason as to why someone should be forced to give up their life for somebody else’s. The key word here is ‘force’ not by voluntary means in which there is choice. If we are to call for tax at all then all bets are off, we can tax because we hate people and who can condemn us for doing so ?

  • Debs

    lets hope so. No deal is the best deal and yes I expect things to be hard but its worth it. Its the Parliamentary vote that concerns me.

  • Forlorn Hope

    I think you are underestimating the sheer spite of our E.U. “partners”. They will cheerfully cut off their nose as long as they keep their precious E.U. together.

  • CheshireRed

    Sorry but disagree. First off I believe the PM can only get a dissolution by losing a vote of no confidence? Hardly an inspiring start!
    Brexit needs complete focus from now to 2019 and then during the first year outside the EU. The run-in to the 2020 GE is also keeping Sturgeon at bay (sorry Nicola, can’t do Brexit, a GE AND IndyRef2 so you’ll have to wait ’till 2022-3) plus boundary changes will favour the Tories. Oh, and Corbyn simply isn’t going anywhere until the GE either. May can change her cabinet any time she chooses, so that’s not a reason either. Deliver Brexit and revised boundaries plus inept Opposition will return a landslide. It’ll all-but lock-in a win in 2025 too.
    In short there’s ZERO need to go to the country early.

  • PierrePendre

    If senior ministers are incompetent, the fault is May’s. She chose them less than a year ago and has been their colleague for years so knew their strengths and weaknesses when she named them. Perhaps their names are appearing elsewhere in the media but I haven’t seen them identified which is unusual since colleagues and journalists aren’t usually so careful of others’ feelings. They wouldn’t by any chance be female and protected by their sex and the feminist claque?

  • Andy

    Yes. The blo*dy thing needs to be repealed.

  • Trojan

    Will the fixed term parliament act cause any problems?

  • Chris McLaughlin

    The electoral boundary mess will also play a factor. Many MPs would like an election before they are redrawn, placing the winners safely for another 5 years.

    In addition, Mrs May needs a much larger majority to drive Brexit and to clean out the House of Ancient Socialists, next door in the Red Leather and Ermine.

    Time for a Spring clean Peter…

  • John Smith

    Yes, she needs to be more radical
    Later this year would be good

  • John Smith

    I think shell wait till the EUSSR reject our deal

    then shell say we should just leave the EUSSR

  • Jonathan Munday

    A GE will take 3 weeks. As long as the Article 50 letter has been sent first there need be no additional delay. All the points Bingle makes are completely valid. May has missed a trick in not having the Peers defy her over Article 50 which would have been a much simpler GE to fight. Going in the midst of the confusion of Brexit in 2020 is a recipe for disaster.

  • Jolly Radical

    . . . another 2 to 3 months delay, prevarication and yet more dilution of opportunities.

    The referendum was 9 months ago. We could have been out of the malarial swamp of the EU and trading on proper WTO terms by now . . . but the so-called ‘Conservatives’ have to add complication to everything they do . . . this is what happens when you have a gang of public sector office workers posing as a government.

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