LONDON — Former Conservative leader and Foreign Secretary William Hague has called for an early general election, hours after a dire new poll for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was published.
The peer, who was leader between 1997 and 2001 and foreign secretary between 2010 and 2014, urged Prime Minister Theresa May to scrap the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, which would allow Labour to block holding an election before 2020.
He wrote in the Daily Telegraph on Monday that “trouble is coming” in the next two years as the government commences Brexit negotiations, and said the Conservatives need a bigger majority to force changes through.
He said: “We have a new Prime Minister and Cabinet facing the most complex challenges of modern times: Brexit negotiations, the Trump administration, the threat from Scottish nationalists and many other issues.”
“There is no doubt that they would be in a stronger position to take the country through these challenges successfully if they had a large and decisive majority in the Commons and a new full term ahead of them,” he added.
A YouGov poll published on Monday found that Jeremy Corbyn’s approval rating among Labour party members has dropped by a net margin of 39% in the last twelve months, with two-thirds believing it unlikely that he will ever be prime minister.
Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer also admitted after Labour’s historic by-election defeat in the once-safe seat of Copeland in February demonstrated that Labour has “no prospect” of winning a general election if things do not improve.
Lord Hague said Corbyn was Labour’s “least credible leader ever” and had left his party in “its worst condition since the 1930s.”
The Conservatives introduced the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act in 2011 — when the party was in coalition with the Liberal Democrats and Hague was Foreign Secretary.
Hague said that the Act had been necessary to create a coalition government, but added: “Six years on the circumstances are very different, and it is time to question whether a fixed parliamentary term is in the interests of the country as we withdraw from the European Union.”
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