How lobbyists predicted a snap election
Theresa May's dramatic announcement was foreseen by John Lehal and Peter Bingle.
Two leading lobbyists are claiming credit for predicting that Theresa May would call an early general election this year.
After the prime minister announced plans for a snap general election on 8 June, John Lehal and Peter Bingle were quick to say that they had seen it coming.
Insight Consulting Group boss Lehal pointed to an opinion piece he had penned for Total Politics in September last year in which he set out May's route to an early election.
Lehal, who recently sold his agency to Four Communications, had began his article by setting the scene.
He wrote: “It’s a crisp, clear morning in March. Theresa May emerges from her Ministerial Jaguar and stands outside 10 Downing Street, one hand nervously resting on the podium. The Prime Minister tells the world’s media that she has returned from Buckingham Palace, ahead of a General Election that could guarantee May another five years in office.
“A scene from 2020? Perhaps. But there is an increasing likelihood that she will be making that speech next year.”
The Labour-supporting lobbyist went on to conclude that “an early election is possible” and that May would be tempted by “the chance to win an election in her own right and guarantee herself a full term in office, and an undeniable place in history”.
Lehal is not the only senior public affairs professional to have envisaged a general election in 2017 – although he may have been the first by a matter of weeks.
In October last year, Terrapin Communications founder Peter Bingle wrote a piece stating that the Great Repeal Bill “provides the perfect political backdrop for a general election in 2017”.
The former Bell Pottinger public affairs chief also stated that “the odds on a general election and a substantial Tory overall majority next year have shortened drastically”.
Like Lehal, Bingle responded to the prime minister’s announcement on Twitter by flagging up his own Mystic Meg credentials.