While Boris Johnson has said he will “absolutely” not call a public vote before the Brexit Halloween deadline he may be faced with no other option if he fails to secure a deal with Brussels and a no deal exit is blocked by MPs. Senior figures have been jolted by the “mad energy” of the Prime Minister, who this week beat rival Jeremy Hunt to the Tory leadership to win 66 percent of votes from Conservative party members. While it made significant gains in the last general election, Labour has taken a number of blows in recent months, with a poor performance in the European elections in May and struggle to contain its growing anti-Semitism crisis.
A senior Labour figure told the Financial Times: “We need to get on to an election footing and fast, and work out what our dividing lines are.
“Boris is creeping into our area with more money for police and infrastructure. We need to work out how to tackle that.”
Another source said: “The Johnson team have all this mad energy and the Lib Dems have all this mad energy under Jo Swinson and we only have one song, which is hating austerity.”
The Spectator suggested if the former London mayor could strike a deal with the EU and take the UK out of the bloc in an orderly way he would be “unassailable”.
Momentum’s national co-ordinator Laura Parker claimed Mr Johnson was “clearly eyeing up an October election” and said the group would work hard to ready itself for a campaign.
On Friday Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said “mark my words, there is a general election coming,” as he dismissed the possibility Mr Johnson could secure a Brexit deal.
Mr Farage claimed the Prime Minister was preparing for a public vote, saying: “If you look at some of the people that Johnson has placed inside Number 10 to work for him they are the kinds of people who do work on elections”.
Mr Corbyn spoke at a Westminster rally on Thursday, accusing Mr Johnson of lacking a clear plan for Britain and should call a general election.
He used the event to lay out six key pledges as part of Labour’s manifesto, vowing to introduce a £10-an-hour minimum wage, create 40,000 jobs in a “green industrial revolution” and maintain the winter fuel allowance if he gets into power.
The Opposition leader also promised to inject more spending into the NHS, give pensioners free TV licences and bus passes, offer paid-for school meals to all primary school pupils and reduce class sizes for five to seven-year-olds.
Over the past few months the opposition party has battled to save its reputation as the antisemitism scandal goes from bad to worse.
Earlier this month, the full extent of the problem was laid bare when former staffers spoke out in a damning Panorama programme.
Critics accused Labour of hypocrisy when it emerged the party had used non-disclosure agreements to silence some ex-employees.
In June 2018, a Labour party press release said if Mr Corbyn was elected prime minister he would ban the use of NDAs “which stop disclosure of future discrimination, harassment or victimisation”.