In February 2024, 46 percent of British adults would vote for the Labour Party in a general election, compared with 21 percent who would vote for the Conservative Party. The ruling Conservatives have trailed Labour in the polls throughout 2022 and 2023, with a huge gap emerging in September 2022 when Liz Truss came to power. Truss' short time as Prime Minister was widely seen as a disaster for the country and her party, and she was succeeded by Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister that October. Labour has maintained their lead in the polls since Sunak became Prime Minister, and would win the next general election based on the most recent polls.
When is the next UK election?
The next UK general election is expected in 2024, but may take place as late as January 2025. Unlike many other democracies, general elections in the UK have no fixed date, with the power to call one resting with the Prime Minister, although this must be done at least every five years. While the last election in 2019 was held in the winter, it is unlikely Sunak will wait until then to call an election, with a Spring or Autumn election in 2024 the most likely scenario. It may suit the Conservatives to bide their time until the Autumn, however, in the hope that the economic situation improves, giving a lift to Sunak's job rating and a boost to the government's sinking approval ratings. The job of catching Labour in the polls in 2024 may be a long shot for the Conservatives, especially as no ground was made up in 2023.
Sunak's five pledges - 2023
After a tough 2022, in which Britain suffered through its worst cost of living crisis in a generation, the economy was consistently identified as the main issue facing the country, just ahead of healthcare. To respond to these concerns, Rishi Sunak started 2023 with five pledges; halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce national debt, cut NHS waiting times, and stop small boats. One year on from this announcement, just one pledge can be said to be realized, with CPI inflation falling from 10.1 percent at the start of the year to 3.9 percent by November. There is some ambiguity regarding the success of some of the other pledges. The economy shrank in the third quarter of 2023, the national debt has increased slightly, while small boat arrivals are down from 2022, but still higher than in most other years. The pledge to cut NHS waiting times was not fulfilled either, with the number of people awaiting treatment rising in 2023.