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Election speculation mounts as Sajid Javid brings forward spending review

2 min read

Sajid Javid has brought forward his review of Whitehall budgets - prompting fresh speculation that the Government is preparing for a general election.

The Chancellor had been due to set out his vision for the UK economy in a major speech on Wednesday morning.

But in a surprise move, the Treasury announced that it had been scrapped because the spending review will now take place in early September - possibly as early as next week.

In a statement, they said: "With apologies, the Chancellor's planned economy speech due to take place tomorrow is being rescheduled. The forthcoming Spending Round will instead be brought forward in early September and will cover the themes and priorities he was due to outline."

Mr Javid announced his "fast-tracked" one-year spending round earlier this month, replacing the traditional three-year review.

At the time, he said: "We will get Brexit done by 31 October and put our country on the road to a brighter future.

"The Prime Minister and I have asked for a fast-tracked spending round for September to set departmental budgets for next year.

"This will clear the ground ahead of Brexit while delivering on people’s priorities."

Westminster insiders claimed that bringing it forward, the Chancellor will be able to unveil a series of eye-catching spending pledges which could form the basis of a Conservative election campaign in the autumn.

Opposition parties have agreed to try to change the law to block a no-deal Brexit when MPs return from their summer recess, a move which could force Boris Johnson to call a snap election in order to deliver Brexit on 31 October.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: "Sajid Javid is getting a record of announcing events and initiatives, and then within hours cancelling or reversing them.

"This doesn’t inspire confidence. Panic seems to be setting in inside government."

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