New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: I seem to remember that in both 1983 and 1987 Governments with healthy Conservative majorities called an election a year earlier than they needed to. The hon. Gentleman [Dr. Tony Wright] may say that the Opposition did not ask for an election at those times, but if they did not, it was probably only because they knew that, as the Government were so hugely popular, they would lose such an election, which is what happened. Governments do go to the country early, and they do go to the country when they want a mandate. The Government could do that equally well on this occasion.

[Dr Wright: The argument is not that Governments do not go to the electorate early; of course they do. Governments go to the electorate when they think that it is to their maximum advantage to do so. That is a truism of all Governments in all times. That is the truism that I am trying to pass on, in a humble way, to the House. That is why it is essentially dishonest to claim that there is some kind of other constitutional position that demands an election at other times. There is no such position, and there is no such precedent. That is one argument.]