Former Tory leader William Hague is calling for an early general election – and Theresa May says no

 
Mark Sands
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William Hague Speaks In Favour Of Remaining In The EU
Hague led the Tories to their second consecutive election defeat in 2001 (Source: Getty)

Surprise, surprise: Downing Street has shot down attempts by former Conservative leader Lord Hague to persuade Theresa May to call a snap general election.

A Downing Street source said May had been "clear and consistent in her position: she doesn't think there should be one".

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, William Hague said the move “would strengthen the government's hand at home and abroad”.

The next election is due in 2020 under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, but could be called early if a vote to dissolve parliament wins the support of two-thirds of MPs.

It means that any such move would need the support of Labour, but Jeremy Corbyn has repeatedly said he would expect his party to support an early election.

Read More: Are we heading towards an early general election?

Hague said the government faced “the most complex challenges of modern times”, including “Brexit negotiations, the Trump administration, the threat from Scottish nationalists and many other issues.”

The former Tory leader added a vote would “catch the Labour party in its worse condition since the early '30s, and with its least credible leader ever”.

It comes as Prime Minister Theresa May's government could face another defeat in the House of Lords over the Article 50 Bill on Brexit.

Read More: Hammond vows to fight bad Brexit deals as he plots high-tech UK plan

Peers may force through an amendment to the Bill demanding May offers parliament a “meaningful” vote on her negotiations with the EU, which could see the Prime Minister forced to return to talks.

The amendment still needs approval from MPs, but May has a slim working majority of just 17, and MPs have been ramping up the pressure on other amendments.

Although this has been bolstered by Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionists, political uncertainty across the Irish Sea following this week's election could see this brought into question.

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