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Have your say: How much do you want a general election?

Rishi Sunak: General election 'not what the country wants'

The country doesn't want a general election, Rishi Sunak has said, as he was grilled on the subject during the Tory party conference.

The prime minister told Sky News that he believes the public doesn't want a snap election, amid recent speculation that both his party and Labour are gearing up for one.

Appearing on Sky News during a round of interviews in Manchester on Tuesday, Sunak told political editor Beth Rigby that he was not concerned by an election.

Asked if he would "go to the country", he said: "That’s not what the country wants.

"I go out (and) about every day. That’s not what anybody wants. What people want is politicians making a difference to their lives."

'Getting on and delivering': Read more/Latest news

Sunak said he was busy "delivering" for people and was not worried by the prospect of a general election.

He said: "I’m just getting on and delivering for people. You can see that with net zero, you can see it with the number of boat crossings down this year by a fifth.

"You can see it with our progress on bringing inflation down, helping people. You can see it with a long term workforce plan, hiring doctors and nurses for the future.

"These are all things that are going to change our country for the better."

Asked at the end of the interview if he would be PM for the next Conservative party conference, he replied: "Of course, I'm working very hard to deliver for the country".

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is interviewed via videolink for Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday, outside BBC Broadcasting House in central London. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
Rishi Sunak said he is 'delivering' for the country. (Getty)

A general election is expected next year, with a poll required to be held before the end of January 2025.

Speaking at the beginning of the Tory conference on Sunday, the party's chairman Greg Hands said the Conservatives would enter the next general election as the "underdogs".

He said: "This is likely to be a general election where the Conservatives enter as the underdogs.

"I know in recent years you will have had difficult conversations with voters, I certainly have.

"But I would say just three things about those conversations. First, every single conversation I’ve had on the doorstep has been improved by the mention of Rishi Sunak and the job that he does as our prime minister.

"Second, that there is no enthusiasm for Sir Keir Starmer and even less trust in him. And third, that wherever Labour runs something in the country, they run it badly."

Hands also accused the Labour leader of being a "man who will literally say anything that suits him at that time", showing the audience a pair of flip-flops featuring the Labour leader.

Labour's pre-election 'u-turns'

Meanwhile, Labour said there will be a "high bar" for policies making it into its election manifesto after it was accused of a series of u-turns, including the decision to announce that it would not strip some private schools of tax breaks afforded to them by having charitable status.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said the party was reviewing its policy offer to ensure it was deliverable ahead of a likely general election next year.

Asked whether the public could see more Labour policies ditched, Streeting told the BBC: "It is no bad thing that we are working really hard to make sure there is a high bar to get into Labour’s manifesto.

"That bar is: is it credible? Can it be delivered? Will it make a real difference to people’s lives?

"That is how we formulate our manifesto and that is how we will be able to offer the real change our country needs."

A polling station at former school, Coventry, UK.
A general election is expected to be held next year. (Stock image: Getty)

When is the next general election?

A date hasn't been announced for the next general election, but given that parliament has a maximum term of five years between general elections, the latest possible date it could be dissolved is 17 December 2024 (unless the King chooses to dissolve it sooner).

That means the last possible date for a general election would be January 2025, hence the speculation that things are hotting up for an election next year.

But the PM has suggested that he would be prepared to wait until the last minute to call an election to show what he can "deliver" for voters.