Local elections 2023: When is the next general election and who can call for a snap election?

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Local elections are taking place today in parts of the UK - but when will the next general election take place?

Local elections are taking place today (May 4) in some parts of England and Northern Ireland. This year, voters will need to bring photo ID with them to the polling station in order to cast their vote.

The change was piloted regionally before the national rollout ahead of the local elections. However, the move has been widely criticised as it is feared it could stop young people and ethnic minorities from voting.

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Elections are being held in 230 of England’s 317 local authorities, ranging from small rural areas to larger towns and cities. Polls are also taking place to choose mayors in Bedford, Leicester, Mansfield and Middlesbrough.

With the local elections now underway, many people are wondering when the next general election will take place. Here’s everything you need to know.

When is the next general election?

Prime minister Rishi SunakPrime minister Rishi Sunak
Prime minister Rishi Sunak | Getty Images

A date for the next general election is yet to be confirmed, but prime minister Rishi Sunak is said to be planning for an Autumn 2024 election.

During her time as prime minister, Sunak’s predecessor Liz Truss told Conservative Party members that she would deliver "a great victory for the Conservative Party in 2024". Just weeks later, Ms Truss stepped down as the leader of the Conservatives, leading Mr Sunak to take her place as prime minister.

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As Mr Sunak is reportedly planning for an election next year, it could take place around October or November. This will give the Conservative party around 18 months to rebuild their standings in the polls.

In recent months, Labour have had considerable leads in polls, reaching over 30 points ahead late last year. If the plans go ahead and the election takes place during this predicted time, it would be almost five years since the last. There are specific rules in place to prevent the nation going too long without being given a chance to go to the polls.

What is a snap election?

A snap election is an election that is called earlier than the one that has been scheduled. Generally, they are called to capitalise on an unusual electoral opportunity or to decide a pressing issue, under circumstances when an election is not required by law or convention.

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