UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak calls for general elections on July 4

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on Wednesday that the UK will hold a general election on July 4.

| Updated: 23 May, 2024 6:32 pm IST

NEW DELHI: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on Wednesday that the UK will hold a general election on July 4. Standing outside his Downing Street office, Sunak declared, “Now is the moment for Britain to choose its future.” This will be the first time Sunak faces the electorate as Prime Minister.

Sunak highlighted key achievements of his tenure, including the introduction of the furlough scheme during the Covid-19 pandemic. The announcement of the election date followed a crucial Cabinet meeting, which saw Foreign Secretary David Cameron and Defense Secretary Grant Shapps return from trips abroad to attend.

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The UK is constitutionally required to hold a national election by January 2025, and Sunak had previously indicated it would take place in the latter half of 2024. Responding to speculation about a summer vote earlier in the day, Sunak confirmed, “Spoiler alert: There is going to be a general election in the second half of this year.”

Labour Ready for Change

Opinion polls suggest the Conservative Party, which has been in power for 14 years, is likely to lose to the opposition Labour Party. Labour leader Keir Starmer welcomed the election announcement, stating that it offers a chance to end what he called the “chaos” of the current government. “A vote for Labour is a vote for stability—economic and political—a politics that treads more lightly on all our lives; a vote to stop the chaos. It’s time for change,” Starmer told supporters.

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Despite some positive economic news, such as a significant drop in inflation to 2.3%, the Conservatives have struggled to gain ground against Labour, which has maintained a 20-point lead in opinion polls since late 2021. Sunak, the third Conservative prime minister since the last election in 2019, has managed to stabilize the economy but has not boosted the party’s popularity. Labour has expressed confidence in its readiness for the election, with a spokesperson saying, “We are fully ready to go whenever the prime minister calls an election.”

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