The public are divided on whether Theresa May should call an early election, with support for the idea split along party lines

The Conservative leadership contest came to an abrupt end yesterday as Andrea Leadsom dropped out of the race. It left Theresa May as the sole candidate just twelve days after nominations closed and less than a week since Conservative MPs whittled the field down to the final two. 

The new Prime Minister has no formal obligation to hold an election and, at the beginning of her campaign, Theresa May ruled out the possibility of calling one. However, questions about her mandate to govern have been already been raised by opposition parties, given she has not won a general election or a ballot of party members. 

YouGov research carried out yesterday in the wake of her accession shows that the public are split down the middle on whether there should be an early election. 43% of Brits think she should dissolve parliament and go to the country compared to 42% that think she should not. A further 15% don’t know.

Conservative voters are the most against the idea, with 72% saying she should not call an early election and 20% thinking she should. Labour and SNP voters support the idea by margins of 62%-23% and 60%-25% respectively. UKIP and Liberal Democrats split fairly evenly on the issue, with Lib Dems breaking marginally in favour and UKIP marginally against.

David Cameron will take his final PMQs on Wednesday before heading to Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation to the Queen. Theresa May will then be invited to form a government and is expected to be Prime Minster by Wednesday evening.

Image:PA

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