Boris Johnson is the current Prime Minister of the UK, and with a huge majority of 364 to 277.

The next general election is scheduled for 2024. What are the paths for an earlier election, other than an unlikely snap elections? I am not curious about Labour somehow forcing election. I am curious about any and all events which do not involve destabilizing the UK (i.e. a revolution).

  • 3
    I’m voting to close this question because why should current situation be any different to any other time?
    – Jontia
    Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 6:41
  • @Jontia: I think that you are missing the point of the question. I think that this is quite different from the situation where the Tory majority is not that large and Theresa May calls a snap election, or in the case where the conservative majority is even smaller and a few rebels vote with Labour.
    – Ink blot
    Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 9:21
  • Really it's the previous situation with Tory/DUP prop or Johnson (kick out my MPs) minority government that is unusual. The current situation is much more normal.
    – Jontia
    Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 9:39
  • @Joe: I was not curious about Labour somehow forcing election. I am curious about any and all events which do not involve destabilizing the UK (i.e. a revolution).
    – Ink blot
    Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 20:16
  • 1
    The question is unclear. By definition an earlier election would be a "snap election" (since it is not the scheduled 2024 election). Your title says "force an early election" but in a comment you say "not somehow forcing election". So there seems to be a confusion of terms. For the govenment to fail dramatically enough to preciptiate an election would require a huge failure of policy, it could only be speculation as to what that could be, but it would have to be an order of magnitude greater than "Hard Brexit" or "Economic turndown".
    – James K
    Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 9:54

1 Answer 1


Technically? Yes.

It would require either a regular majority of the Commons voting through a motion of no confidence in the government or a qualified majority (i.e. two thirds of MPs) voting for an early election. These provisions are set out in the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011 (FTPA).

In practice, this is incredibly unlikely given the government's current majority. Forty members of the Conservative party would have to vote against their own leader.

Alternatively, parliament choosing to revoke or revise the FTPA would be a possible route to an early election. However, this is equally unlikely to offer Keir Starmer the ability to force an early election. As unless provisions were made to give the leader of the opposition some means to call an election (which the government majority would never allow), it's likely choice of when an election is held would return to the Prime Minister.

  • Revoking the FTPA would have absolutely no effect on an opposition party's ability to force a general election. They would still require a no-confidence vote with the 40 government rebels. In practice, removing the FTPA aids only the party of Government who are then free to call a GE at an advantageous time, such as immediately after a feel-good event, or following government back incentives being announced, but before they have to be paid for.
    – Jontia
    Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 8:00
  • As I say in my final paragraph, that is a route that could be taken to remove the conditions of the FTPA, but given all likely results of that, the answer is still, "No." Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 8:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .