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Michael Gove predicts November general election - but insists he has ‘no inside knowledge’

Michael Gove has said the general election will be on the second or third Thursday in November, but made the extraordinary claim he has “no inside knowledge at all”.

A day after meeting with the prime minister, and with fevered speculation about when the election will be held, Mr Gove said he thinks it will be on 14 November or 21 November.

The levelling up secretary, who has been one of the most influential Tory MPs since being elected in 2005, made the prediction despite claiming he and Rishi Sunak had not spoken about when the election would be.

Michael Gove said the general election will be in November (PA Wire)
Michael Gove said the general election will be in November (PA Wire)

Appearing on the Political Currency podcast with Ed Balls and George Osborne, Mr Gove said: “I think November the 14th or the 21st … I have no inside knowledge at all.”

Mr Balls, a former Labour shadow chancellor, quipped that Mr Gove had “just been to see the prime minister today”.

But Mr Gove said he and the PM did not discuss the election, adding: “If he had told me, I couldn’t tell you … therefore the fact that I’ve told you what I think is proof that I didn’t know.”

Ex-chancellor Mr Osborne said: “I thought it was November the 14th. And one of the people whose political acumen I read most highly is Michael Gove. There’s no way Rishi Sunak has told Michael Gove.”

It comes weeks after Mr Sunak confirmed that he would not call a snap general election to coincide with the 2 May local elections, which could see the Conservatives lose hundreds of council seats.

Keir Starmer accused the PM of ‘bottling’ a May election to spend more time flying around in helicopters (Getty Images)
Keir Starmer accused the PM of ‘bottling’ a May election to spend more time flying around in helicopters (Getty Images)

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on Thursday accused the PM of having “bottled it”, with the Conservatives trailing Labour by 22 points in the polls.

Speaking at the launch of his local election campaign, Sir Keir said: “I was hoping we’d be launching a different election campaign here today.

“But the prime minister bottled it. He wants one last, drawn out summer tour with his beloved helicopter. And so – we need to send him another message.”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has previously suggested that the general election could be held in October. Meanwhile Downing Street sources have told The Independent the date will be 10 October, with the PM not wanting to wait until mid-November to avoid a clash with the US presidential election.

Jeremy Hunt has suggested the general election will be in October (PA Wire)
Jeremy Hunt has suggested the general election will be in October (PA Wire)

Speculation has been mounting in recent days that Mr Sunak could call a summer election, as he bemoaned having inherited “the worst hospital pass for any incoming prime minister” in decades from his predecessors Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.

Speaking to ex-Tory leader William Hague for Times Radio’s The Story podcast, Mr Sunak said: “There’s lots of frustrations. We’ve been through a lot as a country over the past few years, which people are understandably frustrated about and makes the environment trickier.”

But, asked about a prediction by polling guru professor Sir John Curtice that there was just a 1 per cent chance the Tories could win the next election, Mr Sunak added: “We’ve had plenty of predictions about elections and referendums in the past years that turned out to be wrong. So we should always remember that.”