Next General Election date: When will Rishi Sunak call for a national vote

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who has to decide when to hold the next General Election.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who has to decide when to hold the next General Election. -Credit:UK Parliament

With the Local Elections currently in progress, many people have been asking when the next General Election will take place.

Although it has to happen before the end of January 2025, it has been suggested by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that the national vote will be held 'in the second half' of 2024.

Most commentators seem to think that autumn - around October or November - would be the preferred time for a poll. But, this has not stopped speculation that it could be called in the summer, or even as late as next year.

With Labour still racing ahead in opinion polls, the Prime Minister could be biding his time for as long as possible to try and win over voters. Mr Sunak is allowed to call a General Election at any point within his five-year term, but if an election has not been called by the fifth anniversary of the current Parliament starting, it will automatically be triggered.

The timetable for a General Election is 25 days, starting with the dissolution of Parliament and ending with polling day, with bank holidays and weekends not counted. This means that the latest date the upcoming General Election could be held is January 28 2025.

There are three main options, the first being an election in June or July, which would come just after the current Local Elections, if the results force the Prime Minister's hand, negatively or positively. This could also be impacted by the implementation of the controversial Rwanda policy which was pushed through Parliament in April.

Shadow Health Secretary West Streeting previously said in the Commons: "Westminster is awash with rumours that the Prime Minister is going to call a July general election, presumably to avoid giving his Rwanda gimmick the time to fail."

Another potential time is October or November, with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt suggesting that the 'feelgood factor' of interest rate cuts would be felt this autumn, meaning it would be a good election time for the Tories. A vote at this time would give the PM more time to get the public onside and narrow the gap in opinion polls.

Finally, there is the potential of a December or January election, which is what happened five years ago at the last General Election in 2019. December 17 is the latest possible date for Westminster proceedings to finish, ahead of the country going to the polls.