Lord Rose calls for election 'sooner rather than later' as he delivers damning verdict on government's record

A Conservative peer has called for an election to take place "sooner rather than later" - adding that if the government were accountable to shareholders, they would have been sacked.

Lord Stuart Rose, the former chief executive officer of Marks and Spencer and current chair of Asda, was speaking to the Politics Hub With Sophy Ridge on Sky News.

He has been a Conservative peer since 2014 and was not previously an MP.

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Lord Rose told Sophy that he is "not a mouthpiece for the government" - but is rather "a Conservative because I believe in Conservative values".

Asked about the state of the current Labour Party's offering, he said they "certainly appear" to be business-friendly.

The Conservative peer said that what he would "like to see" is an election "sooner rather than later".

"What on Earth are we waiting for?" he said. "I think the electorate is desperate now to have some sort of clarity about where we're going.

"What we need to do, then, is if an election is announced - whatever that period is, four to six weeks of electioneering - both parties need to set out very clearly what is in the plan."

He says that Labour is yet to lay out its plan when it comes to business.

But Lord Rose was also not complimentary about the current administration.

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He said that, in his opinion, "if this government was being judged like a chief executive of a corporation", it would not have lasted the 14 years since 2010.

"The shareholders would have said 'on your bike' and, you know, we'll see what happens in October, but I'm not hopeful," he added.

The exact date of an election has not been confirmed, although some think October is the most likely as it would mean the vote takes place before the US election in November. The chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, has also previously hinted at this date.

Lord Rose went on to warn against some of the proposals being put forward by Labour when it comes to business - including the party's policies on sick pay and parental rights from day one of employment.

Labour has also pledged to scrap zero-hour contracts and end probationary periods.

Lord Rose said: "It's something that I would say be very, very careful about what they plan to bring in because we do have one huge benefit in this country that we've got, you know, fairly flexible labour laws."

He said that these laws already give "significant protection to employees" as well as "flexibility to employers".

He added: "And we must make sure that what we do isn't retrograde, because business needs help."