Chris Mason: Why did Sunak decide to call a summer election?

  • By Chris Mason
  • Political Editor, BBC News

A general election is underway – and it will soon be in your hands.

Power will soon leave Westminster, and so will those who currently hold it.

Politicians and their future – but more importantly the direction of the country – will be in your hands.

The Prime Minister announced the date outside Number 10 as rain poured down and music blasted from outside the Downing Street gates.

Song? You may remember the old 1990s hit, T:Ream’s Things Can Get Better Only from Tony Blair’s days.

Expectations for an election in the fall have been rising for weeks, giving the prime minister at least two more years in office and more room to improve the economic outlook.

“There’s no reason to get excited,” a senior government official told me a few days ago when I was part of a conversation about a summer election.

I had a conversation with another senior conservative yesterday for over an hour where the whole thing revolved around a very long campaign that would still rattle when the pumpkins were out and shining.

But not everyone is up to speed on such matters.

The results could be on a knife-edge – and there are those urging Rishi Sunak to go early, among them Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden.

Falling inflation

In other words, do it now or it will get worse.

The prime minister may indicate that at least some of his objectives are being fulfilled or appear to be on the way to being fulfilled.

Of course, this is not down to government action.

But governments are blamed when it’s skyrocketing, so it’s reasonable to expect that they’ll try to siphon off some of the debt when it falls – and it has.

The broader economic picture looks a little brighter.

Then there is the plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

This hasn’t happened yet, but it looks like flights could be imminent even during the election campaign, although the claim that it will act as a deterrent will not be tested before polling day.

And so begins the campaign.

Conservatives will say again and again: Be careful what you wish for. Workers and others will say again and again that it’s time for a change.

Whatever happens, the result will be something.

Either the polls are broadly right and the party of government will change, or they are wrong and it will be one of the biggest upsets in recent years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *