Next UK general election date: When will it be held in 2024?

Alice Perry
Rishi Sunak. Photo: ComposedPix / Shutterstock.

As each week passes, we get closer to the next general election. But when will it be?

Speculating wildly about the potential date is a popular Westminster pastime. While only Rishi Sunak knows for sure, here is the case for some of the different options…


It has long been thought possible a general election could take place on May 2nd, the same day as the local elections in England and Wales. A dual election in May would maximise resources and potentially boost voter turnout, which could help the Conservatives in certain parts of the country (both locally and nationally). The early date for the March Budget fuelled speculation. 

But Sunak poured cold water on that idea in an ITV interview on Thursday night, saying it would not take place on that day. Tories still don’t appear to have ruled out other May dates, though Politico suggests the “logistical headache” of two big polls in a month makes it unlikely. But it reports too that some in Labour think Sunak could still change his mind on May 2.

Full disclosure, I have made some potentially unwise bets with Tory colleagues that the election will take place this spring. The counter-argument (as they regularly remind me) is, why call an election when you are 20 points down in the polls? Wouldn’t you want to go longer and hope something comes up? But what is nothing turns up? What if things get worse? After all, the recent budget and its unfunded tax cuts haven’t shifted the polls. 

Another argument for May is that the local election results will probably be very bad for the Conservatives. Despite fierce expectation management, last year’s local elections exceeded the Conservative’s stated worst-case scenario, and this election cycle is more demographically favourable to Labour.

Would you really want to go into an autumn election campaign off the back of terrible local election results, with all the party infighting and damaging leadership speculation? Labour have been their and done that in recent years and we learned the hard way that divided parties don’t win elections.   

I feel a May general election is still not out of the question, but this could just be wishful thinking on my part. We will all find out in a few weeks as deadline for calling a May 2 election is March 26th. 


If Rishi Sunak doesn’t choose to hold a general election in May, he could be forced into one in June. If the election results are bad, an election could be called soon after to respond to the fallout or even prevent a leadership contest.

This would be messy and if there was a chance the election could be in June, wouldn’t you want to get ahead of this and hold it in May?  

July or August 

It feels very unlikely that a general election will be called over the summer. That said, I was elected in a council by-election in August 2011 and can confirm that it is a lovely time of year to campaign.

Turnout will be lower, but the weather can be lovely and long evenings are nice for activists. This probably isn’t the top of Rishi Sunak’s considerations though.


A September general election would need to be called in August, which again seems unlikely. But if the election hasn’t already taken place, expect the September “back to school” return from summer recess to feel like full election mode. 

Party conference season also begins in September. Will they go ahead if the general election hasn’t been called?

Will the general election deliberately be called during the conferences? Someone pointed out that if you were the Prime Minister, you’d want to call the election outside Downing Street to look prime ministerial (rather than a Birmingham conference centre) but could Sunak to be tempted to call the election just before or during Labour Party conference (if it take place)? We will see.


There is a lot of speculation that the general election will be in October. This is because the economy may in improve in the autumn and interest rates could fall later this year. The Conservatives are also said to be keen to avoid a UK election overlapping with the USA presidential election, which will take place on November 2nd.

The theory goes that if Trump is elected President, this could upset markets, which in turn would undermine the incumbent government. An October election is plausible.


Before the intense speculation about October, it was being briefed that Rishi Sunak would call at election at the Conservative Party Conference for an election to take place in mid-November.

This is still possible but now feels less likely. 


If you want to avoid the USA presidential election, you could hold the UK general election in December. Possible dates include the 12 or even 19 December. Polling suggests voters are not keen on a December election.

Who can blame them? The weather in 2019 was horrible and the election campaign (for many, many reasons) was depressing for Labour. If the general election takes place in December 2024, Conservative activists and candidates may get a taste of this.


Power is hard to relinquish. Rishi Sunak may choose to go long and hold the General Election at the last possible opportunity in January 2025. There is a risk voters will punish him for this, but he may calculate that it is worth it.

But will he be able to keep the show on the road until January 2025? Would he even want to? For all our sakes, let’s hope not.

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