Theresa May spilled the beans. The Tories are preparing for a general election.

Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May
James Wright

Theresa May has been promoting new Conservative prospective parliamentary candidates on social media. Labour’s disciplinary office – known as the ‘Whips’ – saw the photos as evidence of preparation for a general election.

And there are growing signs that might be right.

Start your day with The Canary News Digest

Fresh and fearless; get excellent independent journalism from The Canary, delivered straight to your inbox every morning.

Incoming

A general election may well be incoming. Top Conservatives Boris Johnson and Iain Duncan Smith have put themselves forward for the Conservative Party’s Parliamentary Assessment Board. This is the committee that chooses who the Conservative candidates will be for a general election.

At the same time, the prime minister is touring the UK trying to win people over to her Brexit deal. This suggests that even May expects parliament will vote down her deal on 11 December, so is also preparing for another referendum or a general election. Following a defeat on May’s deal, Labour says it would table a confidence vote against the prime minister. If a simple majority of MPs votes no-confidence in May and no alternative government forms within 14 days, a general election would have to take place.

While May insists a general election will come in a “few years time”, she spent a whole year denying the 2017 poll would happen.

Tory advantages

Also, campaigning outside of an official general election timescale has advantages for the Conservatives. It means broadcasters are not bound by Ofcom’s election impartiality rules, so they don’t have to give Labour a fairer hearing. That enables the BBC, for example, to gear its version of a Brexit TV debate between May and Jeremy Corbyn in the prime minister’s favour. Under current proposals, the debate would include a 10-person panel where half of the participants support May’s deal. The other half would support a variety of other positions, such as leaving with no deal or holding another referendum. And a BBC moderator would select questions from social media and a studio audience.

The Conservatives and the corporate media have accused Corbyn of “running scared” of the BBC debate. But in reality, Corbyn accepted a debate immediately. A party spokesperson said:

As she did during the general election campaign, Theresa May is running away from the scrutiny of a real head-to-head debate with Jeremy Corbyn

. Why else would she not accept ITV’s offer of a straightforward head-to-head debate, as Jeremy has done?

Instead, her team are playing games and prefer the BBC’s offer, which would provide less debating time and risk a confusing mish-mash for the viewing public.

While accusing Labour of fear, May has refused to commit to a TV debate if there’s a general election.

“Get ready”

Meanwhile, Labour is taking measures in parliament to ensure a “smooth transfer of power” should a general election go ahead. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said a public poll could come “at any time”.

And on social media, quite a few commentators suspect a general election:

A comprehensive study from the University of Warwick found that austerity economics was the main driving force behind the Leave vote. With Labour planning public expenditure based on investment rather than cuts, only a general election can address the root causes of Brexit.

Bring it on.

Featured image via WikiCommons/ Garry Knight and Sky News/ YouTube

Get involved

  • Sign the petition calling all Labour MPs to vote against May’s Brexit deal.

Since you're here ...

We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.

The Canary Support
  • Show Comments
    1. “And a BBC moderator would select questions from social media and a studio audience.”

      I remember watching Jo Coburn ‘moderating’ the panel and questions on 9th January 2017 about the ongoing Southern Rail strikes over guard less trains. As with many similar events these can be so easily skewed. If Corbyn appears and May does not then it is a foul, should be cancelled and the public appraised, accurately, as to why.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.