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When is the next UK General Election likely to be?


Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer will go head to head at some point in the near future – but when? (Picture: Reuters/Getty)

It’s been more than four years since the UK’s last general election, and we’re waiting with bated breath to find out when we’ll next be able to cast our votes.

With Keir Starmer today outlining the ‘first steps’ he would take to change the country if elected Prime Minister, and Rishi Sunak ramping up the rhetoric at a major speech on security this week, many are wondering when we’ll next be going to the polls to choose our MPs and next government.

It’s fair to say Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives will be pretty nervous about the prospect of an election this year, with the party’s approval ratings dangerously low.

He’s also been refusing to confirm a date for the next general election, awkwardly laughing off the (repeated) questioning. He has preferred to be vague, saying the next vote will be “in the second half” of 2024.

Mr Sunak became the Tory leader in October 2022, following previous competitor Liz Truss stepping down as PM after just 44 days and making him the UK’s third prime minister in three months.

But what do we know so far about the UK’s next voting day?

When is the next UK general election?



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Rishi was announced as the new Conservative leader in 2022 (Picture: Simon Dawson/No 10 Downing Str)

While there is no set date for the next general election in the UK, it must be held no later than Thursday, January 23, 2025.

This is because they have to be held no more than five years apart, no matter how many prime ministers there are in the meantime.

By law, the maximum term of a parliament is five years from the day it first met.

The current parliament first met on Tuesday, December 17, 2019. It would automatically dissolve on Tuesday, December 17, 2024 – unless it was dissolved earlier by The King.

The general election (aka Polling Day) would take place 25 days later, according to gov.uk.

Could the general election come sooner?

Debacles in parliament have caused many to call for a general election (Picture: Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty)

Yes, it is possible that a general election could come sooner than 2025.

It’s up to Rishi Sunak to call an election, and it could happen at any time up to and until that final deadline of January 23, 2025.

The PM is being extremely coy about the date of the next election though – most likely because he and his party are dreading the almost inevitable crushing defeat.

He could be holding on to see if public opinion sways further in the Tories’ direction before committing to an election.

Earlier this year an autumn election date was mooted as the Tories hoped that, by then, interest rates would be falling, Rwanda flights would be in full swing, and more tax cuts could be announced.

But as the National Insurance cut didn’t swing the dial in their favour as much as they’d hoped, it’s believed the next election could be held as soon as June or July.

The Prime Minister is thought to be calling an election late next year (Picture: Jessica Taylor/UK PARLIAMENT/AFP via Getty Images)

Who can call a general election?

The decision to hold an early election usually rests with the prime minister.

After the repeal of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act (FTPA) in 2022, the power to dissolve parliament was passed back to the monarch on the advice or request of the prime minister, rather than done by a two-thirds majority in parliament.

However, there are still several other routes via which an election could be called.

If the government was to lose a formal confidence vote in the Commons, parliament is dissolved and an election is called.

Though it is slightly less clear, this could also be the case if the government was to lose another type of confidence vote, such as a King’s Speech. Conventionally, rather than constitutionally, this would call for an election.

Finally, there is always the threat of running down the clock. Despite the repeal of the FTPA, an election must still be held no more than five years after the last one.

What could the results be?

There are several routes that can lead to an election (Picture: PA)

Polling analysis by the BBC suggests that Labour will achieve a landslide election win.

Of course, polls aren’t everything and there’s always a margin for error, but it’s no wonder the Tories are concerned about their prospects during the next election when Labour are forecasted to blow them out of the water.

The most recent polls, held on April 29, suggest 44% of the population will vote Labour, while 24% will vote Conservative, 12% will vote Reform UK, 9% Liberal Democrat, and 5% Green.

Public opinion has held steady throughout this month, with Labour maintaining about a 20% lead on the Tories – which would guarantee them a large majority.

Electoral Calculus predicts Labour will end up with 472 seats in the next election, with the Conservatives dropping to just 85 seats, the Lib Dems increasing their share to 50 seats, and the Green Party potentially taking two seats.

They don’t think Reform UK will win any seats, even though they’re predicted to take about 12% of the vote.

Outside of England, they reckon the SNP will drop to just 19 seats, and Plaid Cymru may end up with four seats, up from two in 2019.

When was the last general election?

Boris Johnson came out on top during the last general election (Picture: PA)

The last general election was held on Thursday, December 12, 2019.

The main contenders were then-Conservative leader Boris Johnson and then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The election saw the Conservative Party win a landslide majority of 80 seats, making a net gain of 48 seats and winning 43.6% of the popular vote – the highest percentage for any party since 1979.

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