Late election best for Labour?

Labour MPs call on Corbyn to wait for November election

New Statesman

Labour has more to lose than the Conservatives from a late election

After ten hours and sixteen votes, an agreement has been reached between supporters and opponents of Brexit in the House of Lords to pass Hilary Benn's bill to seek an extension to Article 50 by 5pm on Friday, which means that it is certain to become a law and a general election is on the way.

But when? The various opponents of a no-deal Brexit agree on the answer - as soon as their move to seek an extension has been legally confirmed. But they disagree about what that means: does it mean after the bill has become a law? That's the opinion of the leaders of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats - at least, that's what they both argued in the House.

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General election 2019: is a late election better for Labour?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

Boris Johnson is once again asking MPs for an early general election, but an alliance of MPs are waiting until the bill that prevents a no-deal Brexit is passed.

Labour has been calling for a general election since the last one in 2017, but they are now waiting until the Benn bill is passed and given Royal Assent.

Labour MPs have called on Jeremy Corbyn to wait until November for an election.

However, others warn it could cost the party at the polls if there is a late election.

The Claim

Jeremy Corbyn has been urged to delay the snap general election until November to delay a no-deal Brexit, the Huffington Post reports.

The Labour leader told MPs last week that the party will back an election once Hillary Benn's Brexit bill is passed and is given Royal Assent.

However, the Parliamentary Labour Party has called on Corbyn to wait until mid-October to plan for a November election.

This view is backed by frontbenchers Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry and Clive Lewis.

Thornberry told Sky News that Labour should wait a couple of weeks before allowing an election to be called.

The shadow foreign secretary said: "I personally think that we need to have a general election when we’re going to win it. I’ll wait a couple of weeks.

"If we can give them a little bit of extra rope, just let them be in power for a few more weeks then people can really see how bad they are."

The Counterclaim

However, the New Statesman's Stephen Bush says that Labour has "more to lose than the Conservatives from a late election".

He argues that a drawn-out campaign could "hand a political advantage" to Johnson.

Bush explains that triggering an election after the Article 50 extension would effectively result in "a two-month election campaign on top of the 25 working day statutory campaign".

Importantly, the unofficial two-month campaign would mean no tighter broadcast rules or restrictions on what political parties spend.

He concludes: "Of course, an election runs the risk of a Johnson majority - but that’s the risk of any election at any time.

"Neither big party looks certain to do best with an imminent election or by pushing it out to November: but to my eyes the risk of waiting is heavier for Labour."

The Facts

Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, the prime minister requires a two-thirds majority - or 434 MPs - to call an early general election. Johnson's last attempt on Wednesday night was unsuccessful, only receiving the backing of 298 MPs.

Even if Johnson gets his election, it is not going to be easy for the prime minister. Private polling from No 10 shows that Johnson would do worse than Theresa May in an election.

Jason Stein, a former Tory special adviser and aide to Amber Rudd, revealed this information to Sky News' Sam Coates. He said that the Tories are looking to pick up roughly 295 to 300 seats.

They are predicted to lose seats in London, the south-west, and London. Stein said: "They need to be replaced. They're already 10 behind, we need to win 35 seats in areas we've never won before just to break even."

A YouGov poll, conducted on September 2-3, shows a two-point increase from the previous week to 35 per cent for the Tories - with Labour at 25 per cent. The Lib Dems saw their vote drop by five points to 16 per cent, while the Brexit Party (11 per cent) and the Greens (seven per cent) have held their vote.

The Times' analysis of polling data shows the Tories ahead at 34 per cent, followed by Labour at 25 per cent. The Lib Dems are third at 18 per cent, while the Brexit Party is polling at 12 per cent.

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