Keir Starmer has put Labor on a war footing should the new prime minister decide to call a snap election, HuffPost UK has learned.
The move comes amid efforts to centralize the party’s fundraising campaign in a bid to build up a multi-million pound fighting fund should the country go to the polls in the next few months.
Boris Johnson’s successor will be announced next Monday, with Liz Truss the clear favorite to beat Rishi Sunak.
The next general election does not have to take place until the end of 2024.
But some believe whoever wins may call an early election to try to capitalize on any initial poll surges and before the full impact of the cost-of-living crisis hits.
It was reported last week that Starmer had forced his frontbenchers to stop fundraising for their own offices in a bid to tackle Labour’s money woes.
Instead, all fundraising now aims to boost the party’s own coffers.
Accounts published last week showed the party posted a deficit of £5.2m last year, although there an increase of £4.3 million in donations.
A senior Labor source told HuffPost UK that the decision to centralize fundraising was prompted by the prospect of an early election.
“This is about making sure Labor is ready to hit the ground running if there is a snap election: nothing more, nothing less,” they said.
“We take a very dim view of attempts to use some boring housekeeping to create arguments where none exist.”
The move comes as relations between Labor and the unions, which the party still relies on for much of its income, become increasingly strained.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham yesterday called on Starmer to “get a spine” and “stand up for workers”.
She said: “It’s more likely they (Labour) would get elected more if they spoke up for workers more.”
Starmer’s decision to order his frontbenchers not to walk picket lines led to a backlash from union leaders and fresh threats to withdraw their financial support.
Party grandee Peter Mandelson last week told City AM that the Labor leader “cannot allow himself or the party” to become dependent on “hard left unions”.
“The party must redouble its efforts to raise money from the public as a whole and from all donors prepared to support Labour’s campaign,” he said.