Labour Planning For Early Election But Tories Still Top Odds
Labour are still a long way off winning the next UK general election despite Sir Keir Starmer telling his party to prepare for a snap poll within two years.
The UK’s lead opposition party is currently lagging eight polling points behind Boris Johnson’s Conservatives as Starmer marks a year in charge of Labour.
The next election isn’t due until the summer of 2024 but there is growing consensus that a new vote could be triggered before then. Boris Johnson has pledged to repeal the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which means the current rules on how a snap election could be called will be scrapped.
Labour supports the repeal even though it would give Johnson the freedom to call an election at the most opportune moment for the PM.
But Starmer is confident his party is ready to transition to a pre-election footing and tackle the Tories head on, saying in a recent interview: “I’ve instructed the party to be ready to fight one as early as 2023."
Polls Swing For Conservatives
Unfortunately for the Labour leader, however, there are indications that the opposition is failing to get its message across.
Last summer the left-wing party drew neck-and-neck with the Tories in the polls. But since the New Year – and with it the triggering of Brexit and the successful Covid-19 vaccine roll-out – the Conservatives have earned big gains.
Starmer himself has been criticised by people who don’t know what his stance is on particular issues. The 58-year-old is in the tricky position of trying to appeal not only to the centre ground but also Labour’s left-wing members who backed former leader Jeremy Corbyn.
With the Tories holding a polling lead, Johnson’s approval rating rising, and them boasting an 80-seat majority in the Commons, it’s no surprise they are 8/5 favourites to win the next election, with Labour at 5/2. Those odds haven’t shifted much since the start of January when a No Deal Brexit was avoided at the 11th hour.
Next UK Election Date
Remarkably, bettors are still banking on the next election taking place in 2024. That price of 3/10 is slim compared to the 7/2 odds most UK bookmakers are offering on a 2023 date.
However, punters are likely to drive those latter odds down as we near the summer and a crucial Hartlepool by-election, which could spark a surge of confidence in the Tories if they take the stalwart red seat off Labour.
As for Johnson’s own exit date, it appears as though the 56-year-old won’t be calling it quits any time soon. Having overcome what was considered the worst of the coronavirus pandemic and delivered on his promise to ‘Get Brexit Done’, the PM has seen his odds on leaving his post this year rise to 5/1.
He is now 2/5 to exit No 10 in 2023 or later.
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