July 22, 2019
Will Johnson go for elections?
Along with the Times journalist Matthew Paris, we belong to a tiny minority of observers who believe that Boris Johnson may well trigger immediate elections - or at least an elections at some point during the autumn. Nobody can be sure what’s going on in Johnson’s mind. Maybe all he cares about is not to go down in history as the country’s shortest-lived prime minister. But there are clear strategic advantages for him to jump, not least the Conservatives' rapidly-vanishing majority in the House of Commons. That said, we must caution ourselves against over-gaming this. UK politics over the last four years is full of examples of poor strategic choices.
The latest piece of information that could weigh in favour of early elections is a YouGov poll published in the Times, showing a dramatic fall in Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity among Labour Party members. Two fifths want him to stand down before the elections. If Johnson were to trigger an election immediately, he could profit from Corbyn's unpopularity. If he waited, and mismanaged Brexit, Johnson might confront a new, more popular Labour leader.
Johnson is due to take office on Wednesday. He will have until Friday to organise a Commons vote in favour of an election, or else wait until Parliament reconvenes after the summer break on September 3.