Tuesday 20 September 2016 7:26 pm

Would a 2017 General Election mean a landslide victory for the Conservative Party?

Tim Bale is professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, and co-author of Footsoldiers, a forthcoming book on Britain's party members.
and Alex Thomson

Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary, University of London, says Yes.

Unless everything we think we know about politics turns out to be wrong, the Tories are going to win the next election. They are way ahead of Labour on both economic competence and best Prime Minister. Just how big that win will be partly depends on when they go to the country. If Theresa May does what any normal politician would do in her position, she will engineer a contest in the spring or early summer of next year – before the compromises she’s going to have to make with Brussels become overly obvious, before the economy begins palpably to slow down, before the continuing squeeze on the NHS makes waiting lists and times even longer – and before Labour can dump Jeremy Corbyn. And even if she waits until 2020, she’ll still win. But if she goes sooner, she stands a chance of achieving the sort of majority that the Conservatives have only been able to dream about for 30 years. Carpe diem!

Alex Thomson, director at Hanover Communications, says No.

All the polling is pointing in the right direction for Theresa May. But if the last few months have shown anything, it is that politics can change very quickly indeed – just ask David Cameron. May’s first few weeks in charge of the country have been characterised by a deft political touch. She has projected strong, competent leadership allied to a focus on stability and the long term interests of the many, not the few. But if she is seen to be rushing the voters to the polls for partisan gain, her image may take a hit. Add to that a stuttering economy, a gaffe or two, and a reinvigorated opposition, and it’s certainly not hard to imagine widespread tactical voting by those either corralling round a single anti-Conservative, or even pro-European candidate in each constituency. Not in sufficient numbers to sway seats all over the country, but with the government’s current tiny majority and unchanged boundaries, certainly enough to prevent a Tory landslide, the last of which was over a generation ago.

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