Jeremy Hunt hints at October general election

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has hinted a general election could be held in October.

He told a Lords Committee the government's next spending review had to be completed before next April and "if the general election is in October that will mean it's very, very tight".

The latest date an election could legally take place is 28 January 2025.

The PM has said his "working assumption" is one will be held in the second half of this year.

Last week Rishi Sunak also ruled out polling day being on 2 May, the date when local elections are already taking place.

Appearing in front of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, Mr Hunt also said he hoped to hold another "fiscal event" this parliament, which is due to end in January.

Fiscal events generally mean any statement including tax and spending decisions, such as the Budget and Autumn Statement.

"I can be quite open with you and say I hope I do another fiscal event this parliament and indeed return as chancellor after the general election and do a spring Budget," he said.

The chancellor told the committee the next spending review - which determines how much will be spent on public services - had to be complete before next April.

He added: "And of course if the general election is in October that will mean it's very, very tight and that is why we are thinking in advance about the most important element of that spending review which is the productivity element."

In the UK, general elections are held every five years but Mr Sunak has the power to call one earlier.

The Conservatives are trailing Labour in the polls and opposition parties have accused the prime minister of "running scared" of an early election.

In the spring Budget earlier this month, the chancellor announced a further 2p reduction to National Insurance for workers, matching the tax cut in last year's Autumn Statement.

However, there is pressure from some Tory MPs for more tax cuts, which could be set out if there was another fiscal event before the election.