Politics

When could the UK general election 2019 actually happen this year?



It is looking increasingly likely that there could be a general election, with MPs divided over whether to press on with Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

The Prime Minister’s Cabinet appears to be split over how to move forward, as he faces either calling an early general election or trying to get his Withdrawal Agreement Bill through Parliament.

Mr Johnson has previously warned he will push for a snap election if he is forced to accept a lengthy delay to Britain’s departure, potentially into next year.

But time is rapidly running out for the PM to hold one this year, with a strict timetable appearing to somewhat hamper his efforts. Meanwhile, even if the UK does hold a general election, there is simply no guarantee Mr Johnson will succeed in getting the Parliamentary majority he needs to break the Brexit deadlock currently paralysing Parliament.

So if Mr Johnson wants an election this year, what is the deadline he must abide by to call one? The Standard takes a look.

Countdown to Brexit: 7 days until Britain leaves the EU

What is the deadline to call election to be held this year?

By law, Parliament has to be dissolved 25 working days before polling day.

That means there must be at least five weeks between an election being called and polling day itself.

Elections are traditionally held on a Thursday, and if the Government were to stick to this day, there are realistically only four Thursdays left for the UK to have an election in 2019, once the 25-day notice period is taken into account. 

In short, time is running out for one to take place comfortably before Christmas. 

Bearing in mind the 25-day limit, MPs would need to trigger an election this week for one to take place before the end of November.

They can do this by a vote in the House of Commons – but no such vote has been tabled for today or tomorrow, which are the only days MPs are due to meet before the weekend.

Instead, a snap general election – were MPs to vote for one in the next fortnight or so – would almost certainly end up taking place in December.

It would be the first UK general election to occur in December since 1923.

The most likely date for a December election this year is probably Thursday December 12.

For this to happen, Parliament would need to be dissolved on November 7.

This scenario would give enough time for the European Union to formally agree an extension to the UK’s departure from the EU beyond the current deadline of October 31 – potentially until January 31 2020.

It would also allow time for the election of a new Speaker of the House of Commons, which is due to happen on November 4, and for Sajid Javid to deliver the 2019 Budget, which is scheduled for November 6.

An election any nearer to Christmas than December 12 is likely to be seen by politicians as undesirable, given the disruption it would cause to the festive season – and the fact many of the venues needed for polling stations will be busy holding events for Christmas.

These scenarios assume that polling day would, as is tradition, fall on a Thursday – but there is nothing in law to stop it being on another day.

For example, if the Government was willing to postpone the Budget, the trigger-vote could happen on November 4, with dissolution following on November 5 and an election on December 10.

If MPs fail to trigger an election by November 7, however, polling day would almost certainly slip into early next year.

However, the deadline could be pushed until the very last minute if MPs decide to trigger a vote on November 14 – meaning an election would be held on December 19, just a few days before the Commons Christmas recess.

While the dates for the recess are yet to be confirmed, in the past they have begun around December 20-21. Assuming similar dates this year, it means the absolute deadline to call a general election this year could potentially be November 14.



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