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With the contents of the Queen's speech set to be delivered later this morning at around 1125BST (0625ET, 1225CET) already widely trailed, we know that it contains provisions to repeal the 2011 Fixed Term Parliaments Act. The repeal of this legislation paves the way for an early general election before it is legally due to be held in December 2024, with Westminster speculation focusing on the summer of 2023 as a potential date for an early election.
- The elections held in England, Scotland, and Wales on 6 May delivered some notably strong results for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's centre-right Conservatives, with the party taking the constituency of Hartlepool in the only parliamentary by-election of the day, while also taking control of 12 local councils in England, gaining five additional seats in the Welsh Parliament, and holding all of its 31 seats in the Scottish Parliament in the face of a strong SNP campaign.
- Opinion polling also looks strong for the PM, with the first post-May election poll showing his party up five points with the main opposition Labour Party falling four points:
- Redfield & Wilton Strategies poll: Conservative: 45% (+5), Labour: 34% (-4), Liberal Democrat: 8% (+1), Greens: 5%, SNP: 4%, ReformUK: 2% (-1). +/- vs. 3 May. Fieldwork: 10 May 2021. Sample size: 2,000
- With this polling lead in mind, and the four nations of the UK due to emerge from strict COVID-19 restrictions amid a rapid vaccination campaign in the coming weeks and months, there is the potential for the Conservatives to seek to exploit their lead in the polls.
- 2022 may be an inopportune time for an election, though, with the economy still likely to be in a position of flux following the pandemic.
- Moreover, the Boundary Commissions of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales are still engaged in the business of reviewing the boundaries of parliamentary constituencies, with the recommendations on new boundaries due to be presented by 1 July 2023 at the latest. With the boundary changes expected to benefit the Conservatives, the PM is likely to want to wait until after these come into force before calling an election.