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Published: 11:06, 10 October 2019
| Updated: 11:07, 10 October 2019
There seems to be a growing inevitability that we are heading towards a general election as the government’s efforts to secure a Brexit deal runs into the sands.
The question is when - the consensus appears to be that a snap poll could come as early as next month and it is pretty clear ministers are on an election footing - the rhetoric on “getting it done” and focus on “the peoples’ priorities” is being ramped up.
Home Secretary Priti Patel was not exactly brimming with confidence there was still time for the government to strike a Brexit deal when she visited Kent.
Her visit was intended to highlight the government’s pledge to recruit hundreds more police officers and she was rather more keen to talk about that than Brexit.
In interviews, she was strictly on message - the line being that the UK would be leaving come what may on October 31.
Further evidence that a poll is looming is the horse-trading within the Conservatives over what should be in the manifesto.
There are reports of a backlash among ‘remain’ MPs concerned about a manifesto that may be built around an explicit pledge to push for a “no deal” Brexit.
Ashford MP Damian Green led a delegation of MPs who met with the Prime Minister yesterday to voice their concerns.
They emerged with a commitment from Boris Johnson that in the event of an election he would not be countenancing the idea of going to the country on such a platform.
The MP, who heads a group of moderate Conservatives, said: “The PM agreed with us that he doesn’t see no-deal in that manifesto. So I think we can be confident that the idea that a government would go on into a general election saying what we want is no deal, which is the Brexit Party policy, that will not be the Conservtaive Party policy.”
Whether the Prime Minister's chief spin doctor Dominic Cummings feels the same way is open to question.
The Conservatives have to find some way to outflank Nigel Farage's Brexit party which arguably poses a greater threat to Boris Johnson than Labour.
More by this authorPaul Francis