It would be held in November or December 2023, four years after he led the Conservatives to an 80-seat majority.
“Labour struggles to get their people out more than we do which gives us an advantage,” a cabinet source told the Mirror.
“And we think people will begin to see the results of the PM’s levelling up agenda with roads being constructed and houses built in the Midlands and the north.”
Oliver Dowden, Tory party chair, was asked earlier in the week whether a 2023 election was planned. He said: “The PM has told me to make sure the Conservative Party machine is ready to go for an election whenever it comes.”
He said the government was focused on “getting on with the job of making sure that we deliver for the British people” and was not speculating about elections.
Under current law, the prime minister would need a two-thirds majority backing in parliament to hold an early election. But the Commons recently passed a bill that would repeal the fixed term parliaments act 2011. If it passes the Lords, the bill would grant the prime minister the right to call an election at his discretion.
The 2019 election campaign saw canvassers trudging door-to-door in the wind and rain on dark winter evenings. When election day came it was the wettest on record but predictions that the weather would lead voter turnout to plummet were proved wrong.
Turnout was 67.3 per cent, down just 1.5 per cent on the sunny vote of 2017 and higher than the four previous elections of the 21st century.
A 2023 winter election would be only the second in the post-war era. But they were not uncommon before — five out of the ten elections between 1900 and 1935 were held in winter.