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‘We Do Want a General Election’, Voters Tell Conservatives – As Majority Think Life has Got Worse Under Sunak

Voters want Rishi Sunak to be a ‘short-term Prime Minister’ new polling suggests

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaving the stage after delivering his watered-down net zero strategy. Photo: AP/Alamy

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More than two-thirds of voters back a general election in the next six months, according to new WeThink polling for Byline Times.

The finding comes after the Prime Minister claimed that now is not the time for a general election. Asked whether he would go to the country to get a mandate, Rishi Sunak told Sky News earlier this month that “that’s not what the country wants” and that “what people want is politicians making a difference to their lives”.

However, Byline Times can reveal that 70% of respondents to the polling back a general election within six months. And although 60% of Conservative voters oppose a national vote being held soon, backing rises to 74% among Liberal Democrats, and 86% among Labour voters. Even right-wing Reform UK voters strongly back an early election, with 72% in favour.

The Conservatives are currently trailing Labour in the polls by around 20 points. The latest the Prime Minister can call an election is January 2025, but he may attempt to hold it as close to then as possible given his party’s unpopularity as it stands. Inflation is expected to fall to around 4% next autumn, which could shore up some support for his embattled party. 

Meanwhile, a year since Sunak became Prime Minister, 55% of voters believe that life has got worse for them during his tenure, the polling suggests.

One in eight (12%) say it has got better, and a third (33%) say it has stayed the same. Even among Conservative voters, just 29% say that life has got better for them, while 24% say it has got worse. 

In further new WeThink polling for this newspaper, 73% of those polled say they oppose redundancy pay for ministers who served in ousted Prime Minister Liz Truss’ 49-day Government. Ministers who served under her were entitled to thousands of pounds of redundancy pay while still being MPs. Asked if this was unfair, three-quarters said yes, compared to 14% who believe it is fair.

Shockingly for Truss, who remains highly active on the Conservative right, the figure against her ministers getting redundancy cash sits at 74%, with just 10% thinking it’s fair.  

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There have been calls for those who served in Truss’ Government to pay back their severance pay, given the extremely short time they served.

Truss herself received £18,660 in severance pay after her Government collapsed – “equivalent to £381 for each day of her disastrous 49-day tenure”, The Times reported. Her sacked Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, whose mini-budget spooked the markets and sent mortgage rates soaring, received £16,876.

Boris Johnson, who was also forced from office last year, received £18,660, among dozens more ministers who were handed pay-outs for being sacked or quitting.

Truss and Johnson are both entitled to an ‘office allowance’ of £115,000 a year to support them after being ousted as prime ministers. 

Sacked or quitting ministers can receive three months’ salary when they leave office, provided they don’t return to government within three weeks. Special advisors are also entitled to between three and six months’ pay. 

The findings come as the international hard-right gather today, 30 October, in London for the ‘Alliance for Responsible Citizenship’ Conference. It appears to be a gathering of ultra-conservatives, backed by the business duo behind GB News including would-be Telegraph buyer Paul Marshall.

Speakers include controversial Canadian psychologist and author Jordan Peterson and new US House Speaker Mike Johnson, while the UK’s Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove will also be saying some words.

1,189 adults in Britain were polled online on 27 October 2023 by WeThink, commissioned by Byline Times. Results were weighted to be representative of the wider population

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