A colleague told The Sunday Times that anti-Corbyn Labour MPs begged him to push for an early election. I envy his Influence. Perhaps he can persuade the Prime Minister to secure her own electoral mandate distinct from her predecessor, to capitalise on her ‘honeymoon’ and on Labour’s confusion, but I doubt it. At every leadership hustings she told Tory MPs that there would be no election before 2020.
The notion that she needs her own distinct electoral mandate is constitutional nonsense. We have a parliamentary democracy not a presidential system: the Prime Minister’s mandate to govern rests only on her majority support among MPs, who were elected for a full five year term.
Whilst it might be tempting to cut and run early, given the opportunity afforded by the state of the Opposition and strength in the polls, the suggestion completely ignores the post coalition reality. The discretion of the Prime Minister has been removed. She may no longer, at a moment of her choosing, simply ask the Queen for a dissolution of Parliament. For an early election now to take place, one of three of three things would be required; Losing a vote of confidence and failure to put together a new administration; Or a vote by two thirds of the Commons for a dissolution; Or primary legislation in both houses to restore the status quo ante.
None of these strike me as at all likely before May 2020.
Whilst it may be unlikely, it is of course possible that the Government might lose its majority at some stage over the remaining four years of this parliament. For example, if there were to be a highly divisive spat over what ‘Brexit’ should actually involve. Notwithstanding reports of dissent, we are still a long way from anything like that. An early election however, to cement a large majority, would certainly reduce the possibility of any such eventuality. Nevertheless, whatever the potential advantage, perceived wisdom, or the calculated risks of seeking an election soon, such speculation is time wasted: the Prime Minister simply no longer has it in her power.