Last week someone emailed a question to the For the Many podcast, which I record each week with Jacqui Smith about election dates. They asked if we would now have to go to the polls in December every five years, given the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.
I confidently said, yes, that was exactly the case, although Jacqui and I agreed that whoever wins the election would probably want to abolish the FTPA.
However, a listener - Richard - begged to differ. This is what he wrote in an email earlier today...
While the fixed term parliament act is by no means perfect, the authors of it did think about the problem of one ‘out of cycle’ election then leaving us with perpetual winter elections.
The Act mandates for every election other than an ‘early’ one to always be the first Thursday in May: five calendar years after the last in the case of a Jan-early May election, and FOUR years later in the case of a late May-December election.
So a little known consequence of this December election is (if FTPA is not repealed and there’s no other early election) the next election will be May 2024. If this election had slipped until the new year then the next ‘scheduled’ election would be May 2025.
Glad to have cleared that up!
UPDATE: Having said this, I fully expect the FTPA act to be repealed if either main party gets a majority at the election.