Hunt hints at autumn election as PM confirms leader summit in July

Politics

Jeremy Hunt has hinted at an autumn election as speculation continues to grow over when the country will head to the polls.

Speaking at the Lords’ Economic Affairs Committee on Tuesday, the chancellor was asked about the government’s spending review – the detailed multi-year plan on how departments will spend their cash – and revealed the next one “has to be completed” by April 2025.

“And of course,” he added, “if the general election is in October, that will mean it’s very, very tight.”

The remarks came on the same day Prime Minister Rishi Suank announced he would host a European Political Community summit in the UK on 18 July, indicating a vote was unlikely to be held before the event.

Politics live: Chancellor appears to let slip when election could be

Last week, Mr Sunak ruled out a general election on 2 May – the same date as many local elections around the country – after pressure from opposition parties to go to the public, and theories spreading through the newspapers.

But he has still not gone any further in revealing when he plans to face voters, only saying back in January that his “working assumption” was for it to happen in the second half of this year.

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The latest Mr Sunak can hold a vote is January 2025.

However, after a tough few weeks for him following rebellions over the Rwanda asylum plan, the defection of right winger Lee Anderson and criticism over his handling of a key Tory donor’s remarks about Diane Abbott, few believe Mr Sunak would wait that long.

There were even reports over the weekend MPs were considering putting forward a compromise candidate to replace the prime minister before the next election in the shape of Leader of the Commons Penny Mordaunt.

But others Tory backbenchers have told Sky News that having a fourth change in leader since voters went to the polls in 2019 would lead to disaster for the party.

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