Rishi Sunak calls UK general election for July 4

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Rishi Sunak calls UK general election for July 4

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called a snap general election, choosing July 4 as the date for a vote his governing Conservatives are widely expected to lose to the opposition Labour Party after 14 years in power.

Ending months of speculation as to when he would call a new poll, Sunak, 44, stood outside his Downing Street office on Wednesday and announced he was calling the election earlier than some had expected.

“Now is the moment for Britain to choose its future,” he said, listing what he considers to be the highlights of his time in government, including the introduction of the so-called furlough scheme that helped businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. “We will have a general election on July 4.”

Sunak heads into the election not only far behind the Labour Party in the polls but also somewhat isolated from some in his party, increasingly dependent on a small team of advisers to steer him through what is set to be an ugly campaign.

Sunak took office less than two years ago and since then has struggled to define what he stands for, becoming increasingly frustrated that what he sees as his successes have failed to be appreciated.

Both parties have all but kicked off campaigning for an election, with the attack lines on the economy and on defence already firmly drawn.

Keir Starmer, the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, said the election would give the country an opportunity to end the “chaos” of Sunak’s Conservative government.

“No matter what else is said and done, that opportunity for change is what this election is about,” Starmer told supporters.

“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.”

British elections must be held at least every five years, but the timing is the prime minister’s choice.