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Labour bracing for Conservatives to call snap election within weeks

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 20/03/2017 Fiona Simpson

© Provided by Independent Print Limited The Labour Party is preparing for a snap election amid speculation Theresa May could call the public to the polls as early as May, officials have said.

Tory MPs have called on the chief whip to push the Prime Minister to call an election despite a strong denial of the claims from Downing Street, the Times reported.

A win in a snap poll would allow Mrs May to push through controversial legislation needed to trigger Brexit.

However, some Tories fear a vote could leave Tory seats vulnerable to a Lib Dem resurgence.

According to the Times, sources inside Government have claimed Conservative Party chairman Patrick McLoughlin, chief whip Gavin Williamson and Mrs May’s private secretary George Hollingbery have discussed holding an election on May 4.

Despite the claims, Downing Street has said the Prime Minister will not call an election until 2020.

Any change in the timetable would require Mrs May to circumvent the Fixed Term Parliament Act which states that general elections should only take place every five years. An election before 2020 would require a two-thirds Commons majority to back it.

Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s head of campaigns and elections, told BBC’s Sunday Politics that the party had been preparing for the possibility of the election.

He said: “It would be very difficult not to because if the government wants to dissolve parliament, wants a general election, we don't want the Tories to be in government, we want to be in government.

"We want to have an opportunity to put that case to the British people."

"We are preparing ourselves for that eventuality in case that does come.”

© Provided by Independent Print Limited

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