UK parties on alert for snap election



August 5, 2019 - 10:02 AM

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (TNS)

LONDON — Boris Johnson has dramatically boosted public spending since taking office, fueling speculation the U.K. prime minister is preparing not only for Brexit by Oct. 31, but a general election as well. The two are likely to be linked — either before or after the U.K. leaves the European Union.

On Monday, Johnson — in office less than two weeks — travels to Lincolnshire, eastern England, to lay out details of his 1.8 billion pound ($2.2 billion) boost for the National Health Service, delivering on his 2016 Brexit campaign vow while maintaining a focus on domestic policies. It follows recent pledges to hire more policy officers and increase infrastructure spending, including on railways.

It’s part of what the government calls economic “boosterism” as it prepares for Brexit on Halloween; it includes a cash injection of 2.1 billion pounds ($2.55 billion) to prepare the economy for a no-deal split from the European Union. But despite Johnson’s public words to the contrary, politicians are increasingly taking the rapid domestic policy roll-out as proof he’s gearing up for a snap poll. On Sunday, even Conservative Party Chairman James Cleverly didn’t rule it out.

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