Downing Street denies snap election to be held in May

Downing Street has ruled out a snap election in May, after rumours that they were set to announce it went into overdrive.

Theresa May was thought to be set to call a snap election as early as May, according to political commentators.

However, her spokesman said: “There is not going to be one until 2020.”

Political editor Robert Peston earlier posted a video on Facebook saying he would be “staggered” if the Prime Minister decided not to go forward with the plan, highlighting Brexit and a second Scottish independence referendum among his reasons.

Mr Peston, ITV’s political editor, said that a “material change of circumstances” in the shape of Nicola Sturgeon calling for a second Scottish independence referendum may well have changed Mrs May’s mind about ruling out an election before 2020.

He added that her slim majority could cause problems as Brexit negotiations go forward, with backbenchers able to rebel against the front bench.

And with polling placing the Tories as much as 18 points ahead of Labour, a huge majority is likely for the Prime Minister, enabling her to be more confident about pressing forward with her plans without any serious challenges.

Mr Peston said: “She will never have an opportunity like the one she has now to wipe out the Labour party.

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“All the polls show she is enormously popular and that Labour is spectacularly unpopular. The temptation to go now to establish a very large majority for the Tory party will be massive for her.”

Reports that the Tory party chairman and chief whip have met up this morning to discuss the May date have stirred up fresh speculation, although Government sources have been quick to pour water on the rumours.

Currently the Fixed Term Parliaments Act means a government is secure for five years and Mrs May will have to call for a vote in Parliament in order to overturn it.

However, Labour have suggested they would vote for an early election, with Campaigns and Elections Chair Andrew Gwynne telling Sunday Politics that the party want a chance to kick the Tories out.

The Government would need to announce a May General Election this week in order to fit the timescale needed for one to be held.

Previous reports suggested that Mrs May would call one either later this year or following the two-year negotiation period once Article 50 is triggered.

Top pic: Rex