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Theresa May snap general election news surprises everyone except the Sunday Express

By Dominic Ponsford

Theresa May’s shock announcement today that there will be a general election on 8 June took political correspondents entirely by surprise.

But the Sunday Express can take solace from the fact that it predicted an early general election on 19 March (albeit picking the wrong date of 4 May).

Its front page story was headlined: “May 4: Tories pinpoint date for a snap General Election”.

Political editor Caroline Wheeler and Camilla Tominey wrote: “Conservative Party Chairman Patrick McLoughlin, Chief Whip Gavin Williamson and the Prime Minister’s Private Secretary George Hollingbery have talked about a May 4 ballot, in the wake of Nicola Sturgeon’s demand for a second referendum on Scottish independence.

“Although Mrs May has so far resisted the idea of shoring up her mandate and increasing her narrow Commons majority, the Tory election fraud probe could convince her to call an early poll.

“In text conversations with the senior Tories, a source stated a May 4 poll could help the Prime Minister ‘kill at least two birds with one stone’.

“The Tories would be able to take SNP seats in Scotland in a bid to avert a constitutional crisis while also getting rid of the election fraud scandal,” the source said.

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“Another general election would wipe the slate clean.”

The election fraud investigation is itself a result of journalism by the Daily Mirror and Channel 4 News.

More than a dozen MPs are facing possible criminal investigations over undeclared election expenses at the 2015 general election.

In March the Conservative Part was finded £70,000 as a result of an Electoral Commission probe into election expenses prompted by the reporting of Channel 4 News.

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