Truss’ Ousting Could Lead to New Prime Minister Calling for General Election

What happens now? The routes to an election

The easiest path to an election is Liz Truss seeking one from the King .

Constitutionally, the route towards a general election is simple.

The easiest would be Liz Truss formally seeking one from the King.

But there are many political routes towards an election. Here are a few:

Truss is ousted, and a new prime minister calls an election .

There is nothing constitutionally to prevent the ruling party changing leader again, but at each remove and every policy shift Boris Johnson’s 2019 mandate wears thinner.

If Truss is shunted out, her replacement could face such intense political pressure that they feel obliged to call an election.

Or they might even enjoy a mini-poll bounce and decide to chance it.

A formal confidence motion is lost :

Under the new system, put in place by the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act 2022, an election can be called by the traditional confidence vote – either the government tables a motion saying MPs have confidence in it, or the opposition tables one saying they do not.

This route would only bring an election if enough Conservatives decided they had had enough, and would trust their fate to the people.

Another type of motion is lost :

This is slightly murkier, in that repeal of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 takes us back to the world of constitutional conventions, where there is no legal requirement for a prime minister who loses such a vote to go.

However, these conventions are very strong and if, for example, Truss lost the key vote on what remains of her mini-budget provisions, escaping an election would be very difficult.

Truss calls an election :

Given current polling, this would be what is traditionally known in UK politics as a “brave” initiative, but if you are prime minister, you have the power to go to the sovereign and seek a dissolution of parliament.

One caveat is that if it seemed clear most Tory MPs did not support this, or had a successor lined up, King Charles could refuse.

We get to January 2025 :

This is the surest route of all, constitutionally.

Even if Truss were to somehow survive in No 10 for another two and a bit years, there would be no escaping an election.

The last one was 12 December 2019 and parliaments have a five-year shelf life.

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