It is possible that, five days before the United States chooses its next president on November 5, the United Kingdom will choose a new prime minister. Unlike America, Britain (following a cynical and unsuccessful experiment with fixed-term parliaments in the 2010s) can have a general election out of the blue, but one is required to happen in the next year. In the Westminster village, the popular view is that it may occur on Halloween, but that can be but a guess: even the tradition that British elections are held on a Thursday is only that, a tradition. Under the Quinquennial Act of 1911—now in force following the repeal in 2022 of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act—a general election must be called not later than five years to the day after the outgoing parliament first met. That means by December 17 this year, and it must be held within twenty-five working days of its calling—therefore, by...


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