This is it. This is the election year. The date of the budget (March 6th) opens up the prospect of a May election. We would model and assume a May election but ...
The latest poll data released this morning suggest the Conservatives are on course for a 1997-style electoral wipe out. A major new YouGov survey commissioned by Tory critics of Rishi Sunak, suggests Labour would win a 120-seat majority, if an election were held today.
The Prime Minister has signaled that Britain's general election will take place in the autumn. His "working assumption" is the UK would go to the polls in the second half of this year. November 14th has emerged as the favorite date.
In a recent interview with Laura Kuenssberg, Sunak pleaded for more time to finish the job. "The economy has turned the corner, we are pointing in the right direction. Give me a chance to finish the job. Stick with our plan. A plan that is working."
Rishi Sunak kicked off the election year trying to sell to voters that his five pledges were on track. They should vote for him to finish the job rather than "going back to square one".
OK, inflation has halved but waiting lists are higher. The boats are still coming. Immigration levels has soared. National debt has risen to 88.3% of GDP. The economy is flat lining.
When he made those pledges, Mr Sunak told his audience "people don't want politicians who promise the Earth and fail to deliver".
Yet even his own back benchers are having their doubts. Former energy minister Chris Skidmore has said he will resign when parliament returns next week over new legislation "that promotes the production of new oil and gas".
Deputy Conservative Party chairman Lee Anderson and other senior Tory figures are voting against the government in favor of amendments to the Rwanda Bill.
Kuenssberg has said that 53 Tory MPs have already said they're going to stand down before the next election.
Lord Frost, the former Brexit minister, wrote in a piece for The Telegraph that if the Tories do not change course now "there will soon only be smoking rubble left."
Grant Shapps, the Defence Secretary, has insisted that the Conservatives can "absolutely" turn around dire polling as the economy improves.
Shapps pointed to tax cuts and falling inflation, suggesting that Sunak's government was pinning its hopes on people feeling better off later this year. "The reason I think we can turn it around is because at least people know we've got a plan and we're working to it", he told Times Radio this morning.
It is possible a reduction in income tax and inheritance tax rates could feature in the budget but will it be enough to turn the fortunes of the Tory Party around? In the latest update we outline our forecasts for 2024. The economy may be flat lining but modest growth is in prospect never the less ...
The Saturday Economist
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