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1 January 2018updated 20 Aug 2021 9:23am

Four predictions about politics in 2018

Our special correspondent looks ahead.

By Stephen Bush

The government won’t fall…

The background hum of the next year – and indeed, every year until 2022 – will be that the government is weak, directionless, is barely able to get its business through the House of Commons, and surely the only way to get a stable government is an early election, which must in any case happen any day now.

Most of this chatter will be true: the government will continue to be weak, directionless, and barely able to get its business through the House of Commons, but there won’t be an early election because thanks to the Fixed Term Parliaments Act it is next-to-impossible to force the executive to have one if it doesn’t want one, and I cannot imagine a set of circumstances where the executive will want one.

No opinion poll lead is going to be seen as big enough after what happened in June 2017, and if the Conservatives are unpopular, they won’t want an election either.

…and Theresa May will still be Prime Minister

While ill health or other personal factors may mean May decides to call it a day, if she wants to be, she will still be Prime Minister by the end of 2018. No side of the Conservative Party will risk toppling her while Brexit is still theoretically reversible, and if Brexit goes badly no-one will want the job full stop.

I would be more surprised if May is not Prime Minister in 2018 than if she were still Prime Minister in 2022.

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The Democrats will lose power in Italy….

The return of Matteo Renzi to the political fray will not revive the party’s support in the country at large, and a fractured coalition of the right and centre-right is the most likely outcome from the Italian elections.

…but gain it in the United States

The American Democrats will have a better night, making gains in the House, and they may even take control of the Senate, a remarkable feat given the forbidding map they have ahead of them.