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Tories could push for 2023 general election after axing key legislation

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees Mogg in Downing Street, London, ahead of a Cabinet meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). - Credit: PA

A senior Tory has revealed plans to repeal the Fixed Term Parliament Act, which some speculate could pave the way for an early general election.

Commons leader Jacob Rees Mogg said the government would introduce legislation on shelving the Act in the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday.

The Act – introduced by former prime minister David Cameron in 2011 – tabled a fixed election date of every five years meaning the next would be in 2024.

Prior to the legislation, prime ministers could legally declare an election at any time within a five-year window, which critics say unfairly advantage the incumbent leader.

The repeal comes as senior Tories increase pressure on No 10 to translate recent support of the party into a fifth Westminster term by calling an election within the next two years.

The i newspaper reports that they believe a 2023 election would allow the party to ride on good news and escape the difficult tax decisions that loom on Covid borrowing, which could disproportionally hit voters in Red Wall seats.

The speculation follows a number of victories for the governing party in local elections in the north of England.

The Tories won a net gain of 12 councils and a new MP in the former Labour stronghold of Hartlepool, which the party has held since its creation in 1974.

Discussing the contents of the Queen’s Speech on the Westminster Hour, Reed Mogg said: “I am glad to say the Fixed Term Parliament Act will be repealed… that is something we would be looking at in the next session of parliament.

“It will restore the status quo ante. It will ensure we have the constitution operating properly and don’t have the absurd shenanigans that we had in 2019.”

Quizzed on whether Boris Johnson would be compelled to call an early election, Rees Mogg said: “He is absolutely subject to the normal conventions; the conventions will be restored alongside the royal prerogative.”

Downing Street is said to be sceptical about an early general election with advisers “still scarred by Theresa May’s early election”.