James Forsyth

May says general election will be in 2020

May says general election will be in 2020
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Theresa May is on her way to her first G20 summit. But she has still sat down for the traditional start of term interview with Andrew Marr.

Reading the transcript of it, it looks like a classic Theresa May interview: with very little given away. She avoided answering Marr’s questions on whether she would like to see more grammar schools and refused to say whether she shared her chief of staff Nick Timothy’s view that Chinese involvement in the Hinkley point nuclear project would be security risk.

On Brexit, May said little new about the deal she would like to strike--confirming the sense that, as one Minister told me, the government is ‘a way away from forming a definitive position’. Sensibly, she emphasised that she wants Britain to be a ‘global leader in free trade’; drawing an implicit contrast with the EU which is struggling to ratify the Canada agreement.

But May wouldn’t say that the recent economic figures had disproved the In campaign’s warnings about the dangers of Brexit and cautioned that she wasn’t ‘going to pretend that it was all going to be plain sailing.’ On Scotland, though, May was more confident. She tweaked Nicola Sturgeon’s tail, pointing out that ‘if you look at some of the results that are now coming out of polling in Scotland, they suggest that the Scottish people don’t want there to be a second referendum.’

May again ruled out an early election. She told Marr that ‘we need that period of time, that stability to be able to deal with the issues that the country is facing and have that election in 2020.’ May has now been so repeatedly emphatic that there isn’t going to be an early election that it is impossible to see how she could go back on that without doing real damage to her own brand. So, I think we can be confident that the next general election will be in 2020, as scheduled.