Rishi Sunak's government has put councils on red alert for a potential snap election, leading to speculation that a vote could be called as early as May next year. Local authority chiefs have been instructed to be "election ready" by next spring as the campaign is expected to be fiercely contested. The Conservative Party has already begun developing detailed election strategies and conducting constituency-specific polling in key marginal seats.
Tory HQ has spared no expense in formulating local "mini election" strategies for different areas, aiming to replicate the success of the Uxbridge by-election. This involves identifying policy areas that resonate with voters and should be emphasized locally. For instance, "Red Wallers" are expected to focus on tough immigration lines, while rural seats may pivot towards softer issues like transport links.
The mastermind behind these election plans is Tory polling supremo Isaac Levido. The specifics of the strategy are shrouded in secrecy, with MPs instructed not to disclose details. However, one Tory source revealed, "The idea is to replicate the success of Uxbridge – to go all guns blazing on issues that matter locally."
Insiders suggest that a May election is probable, given that council CEOs have been told to be ready by then and Tory HQ is gearing up. Rishi Sunak's recent decision to abandon unpopular Net Zero policies has been seen as an indication that an election campaign is underway. By scrapping the Birmingham to Manchester leg of the HS2 rail link, the government plans to save billions and allocate the funds to other local train projects, such as Northern Powerhouse Rail.
Although the decision to scrap the HS2 project has caused a rift within the Tory Party, with Boris Johnson and David Cameron reportedly unhappy, many Tory MPs have welcomed the move. Even "Red Wallers" have expressed support, as long as their areas receive guaranteed funding for alternative train routes. One MP explained, "In my area, no one cares about HS2. It’s local rail projects that will win votes."