William Hague concedes “it is not on the cards”, but he writes in the Telegraph that the Tories should repeal the Fixed Term Parliament Act and Theresa May should call an early election to bury Labour and strengthen her hand on Brexit. These are the key quotes:
“Were the Fixed-term Parliaments Act not in force, the case for a general election this spring would be very strong indeed. 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.
Furthermore, they would have a very good chance of securing such an outcome. An election now would follow the rare experience of a by-election gain for the Government and would catch the Labour Party in its worst condition since the early Thirties, and with its least credible leader ever. But it is difficult to call an election, assuming that Labour turkeys are unlikely to vote for a very early and particularly juicy Christmas…
Could the Fixed-term Parliament Act be repealed? Yes it could, if Conservative MPs were determined and disciplined about doing it. A change introduced to help the Lib Dems in the last parliament does not have to be sacrosanct in this one. There would be much synthetic rage, but the right to go to the country has been enjoyed by Labour and Liberal prime ministers down the ages, from Gladstone to Blair.
A bill to repeal the Act could be introduced this year and be law by late 2018, even if it became necessary to override opposition in the Lords. Then the Prime Minister, who faces formidable obstacles, would have her hand strengthened, particularly if the voters remain on her side.
Such change can only be made with almost unanimous Conservative support. The chances of that would have to be calculated. If asked, I am sure ministers will say that they have no plan to introduce a change. However, quietly and carefully, it is worth thinking about. In 2019, trouble is coming.”
That will set the hare running among Tory MPs…