Labour has accused Rishi Sunak of being chicken after the Prime Minister ruled out holding a general election on May 2.

Speculation that the Tory leader would go to the country on the same day as the local elections in England had ramped up in recent days.

But on Thursday night, when asked by ITV News West Country whether he was preparing to call a snap vote on the first Thursday in May, he said: “There won’t be a general election on that day.”

Reports suggest the Conservative leader could now hold off until October 10 or 17.

The latest Mr Sunak can hold the election is January 2025, but he has previously said his "working assumption" is that it will be in the second half of the year.


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Activists wearing chicken costumes and masks with Mr Sunak's face took to the gates of Downing Street, urging the Prime Minister to "name the date now". 

The Herald:

Earlier, Labour's deputy national campaign coordinator Ellie Reeves accused the prime minister of "squatting in Downing Street"

She told Sky News: "People rightly want a general election" after 14 years of Conservative government. 

"What's he running scared of?"


Meanwhile, the Tories have come under more pressure over donations from the businessman at the centre of a race row.

Tortoise media reported that Frank Hester has donated another £5m to the party.

There was some confusion over whether the funds have been handed over. 

They have not yet been declared as the Electoral Commission only provides quarterly updates, with the next report not due until June.

If they do take the money it means the millionaire has now given Rishi Sunak’s party over £15m.

To put that into some context, last year the party’s total donations amounted to £48m. Their costs for the 2019 general election were roughly £16m.

According to the Guardian, at a 2019 meeting, Mr Hester was alleged to have said: "It's like trying not to be racist but you see Diane Abbott on the TV, and you're just like I hate, you just want to hate all black women because she's there, and I don't hate all black women at all, but I think she should be shot."

He has since apologised for making "rude" comments but claimed his words "had nothing to do with her gender nor colour of skin".

Downing Street initially declined to describe the remarks as racist, with ministers sent out to defend Mr Hester and reject calls for the money to be returned.

No 10 only changed position after Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch said that they were

The deputy leader of the Scottish Tories has said she will seek clarification on reports of the further donation.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland on Friday, Meghan Gallacher said she could not comment on the “unverified” donation.

“I’ve certainly not had the time from when I first read the story, which was late last evening, to this morning appearing on your programme,” she said.

“Certainly that can be something that we’ll look at.”

Asked if she would seek clarification on Friday, the deputy leader said: “Of course, I will have a discussion about this, but again, it’s unverified and I can’t comment on unverified donations.”

Lib Dem MP Wendy Chamberlain said: "People like Mr Hester and his attitudes need to be nowhere near our politics.

"Conservative politicians need to learn that just because someone gives you millions of pounds that does not make the inexcusable, excusable."


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Meanwhile, James Heappey has become the latest Tory to announce he will be quitting the House of Commons.

He will also leave his junior minister role at the Minister of Defence later this month.

He said while it was a “painful decision” not to contest the election for the newly-created seat he had been selected for, he wanted to “prioritise my family and pursue a different career”.

Mr Heappey is the 62nd Tory MP to announce they'll be leaving Westminster.

Speaking on his Political Currency podcast, former Chancellor George Osborne said his old party were in a “spiral.”

He said: “Another big moment has passed - the Budget - and it has not shifted Tory fortunes. The party is currently heading for election defeat… the only way to lead the Conservative Party successfully is by having a poll lead.

“In politics, you get these spirals, which is when you’re weak or when people don’t think you’re going to succeed politically at an election, the patronage starts to dissipate, the authority goes, people say ‘well he’s not going to be around much longer, I need to hitch my wagon to one of the leadership contenders’.

“That feeds on itself and that’s where you get this downward spiral where you get more and more undermining of authority, which makes the Government look even weaker.”