May’s inner circle begins planning for snap election

UK Prime Minister Theresa May. (Bloomberg pic)

LONDON: Aides for UK Prime Minister Theresa May have begun contingency planning for a possible snap election in November, the Sunday Times reported.

Two senior members of her political operation began “war gaming” an autumn vote in a bid to win public backing for a new Brexit plan. One person in her inner circle told cabinet members she’ll probably stand down next summer in a move designed to stop them from resigning now in protest at her leadership. The Sun newspaper later quoted a Downing Street official decrying the Times article as “utter hogwash.”

The latest speculation may further energize the Labour Party conference that started this weekend in Liverpool. In an interview with the Mirror, leader Jeremy Corbyn said the government must hold an election if it can’t deliver Brexit, which is looking more likely following May’s failure to win over EU leaders last week in Salzburg. The Mirror also said Corbyn would reluctantly back holding another EU referendum if the conference wants it.

So far he’s kept his counsel on the subject, a strategy designed with the idea of watching the ruling Conservatives tear themselves apart. If he manages to play both sides of Brexit, Labour will be in power, according to one top aide. If he gets it wrong, it will be catastrophic, the person told Bloomberg last week.

A new YouGov poll published Sunday in the Observer showed 86% of Labour Party members would support a public vote on the outcome of Brexit negotiations.