Is an October General Election Inevitable?

This article was first published on 3rd September at

After yet another extraordinary, dramatic day in UK politics, few if any observers are any clearer. Quelle surprise.

Protesters almost drown out Johnson speech

An October General Election – tipped here last week at 4.6 – crashed into 1.25 after it was announced Boris Johnson would address the nation at 6pm, straight after his MPs. In a bizarre and surely unprecedented situation, the PM’s words were almost drowned out by protesters. He did not look comfortable.

Far from announcing an election though, the PM made a point of saying he didn’t want one. Rather, the government has said it will try to call an election if, as expected, parliament votes to take control of the order paper and then demand Johnson to seek an extension to Article 50. The market barely moved.

Anti no-deal bill expected to pass

Labour backbencher Hillary Benn will introduce this bill to stop No Deal happening without the consent of parliament – see his Twitter thread below for details. Betfair punters strongly expect it to pass – our new market rates that a 1.15 chance.

What happens next? Everybody on all sides understands this is a game in which the rules are constantly changing. That adds to the unpredictability.

Assuming today’s bill passes, Johnson will try and force an election through – framed around his preferred ‘parliament versus the people’ narrative. The government says it would be for October 15th but in such circumstances, the Prime Minister can move the date. A big problem because his opponents know that.

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