Rishi Sunak calls snap general election for 4 July - the key moments

Labour leader Keir Starmer warns of more Tory 'chaos' as Sunak places economy and global threats at heart of his pitch

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivers a speech to announce the date of the UK's general election, at 10 Downing Street in central London, on May 22, 2024. A UK general election is to be held on July 4, British media reported on Wednesday quoting sources, as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met with his top ministers. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP) (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)
Rishi Sunak has confirmed the election will take place on 4 July. (Getty)

Rishi Sunak has called a general election for Thursday 4 July.

The prime minister confirmed the surprise move outside Downing Street on Wednesday evening, saying: "The election will take place at time when the world is more dangerous than it has been since the end of the Cold War.”

Responding to Sunak's announcement, Labour leader Keir Starmer said: “It will feel like a long campaign, I am sure of that, but no matter what else is said and done, that opportunity for change is what this election is about.”

Read more: How to register to vote in the 2024 general election

These are the key talking points of the day:

  • Sunak made the economy and combating the global security threats facing the UK the key elements of his pitch to the nation

  • He highlighted Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the tensions in the Middle East relating to the Israel-Hamas conflict, China’s efforts to “dominate the 21st century” and migration “being weaponised by hostile states to threaten the integrity of our borders”.

  • In response, Starmer told voters: “Together we can stop the chaos, we can turn the page, we can start to rebuild Britain.”

  • Sunak had to battle both the rain and the sounds of New Labour anthem 'Things Can Only Get Better' being blasted from beyond the Downing Street gates

  • A July election is earlier than many in Westminster had expected, with a contest in October or November widely thought to have been more likely.

  • Sunak’s announcement came after the Office for National Statistics said Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation slowed to 2.3% in April, down from 3.2% in March.

  • Later, at a rally with his Cabinet and Tory activists, Sunak – in shirt sleeves having ditched his sodden suit jacket – stepped up his attack on Starmer. “The only certainty with Labour is that they will run out of money,” he said.

  • Starmer responded: “If they get another five years they will feel entitled to carry on exactly as they are. Nothing will change.” He promised a “new spirit of service”, putting the country before party interests.

  • Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said:“This Government is out of touch, it’s out of excuses and it’s out of time – and it’s time to get this Conservative Government out of office."

  • Reform UK leader Richard Tice said: “The electorate have a clear choice – people know that the Tories have broken Britain. Labour and ‘Starmergeddon’ will do what they always do, which is bankrupt Britain.'

Read below for how a dramatic day in Westminster ended with the starting gun being fired for the general election"

  • Featured

    Sunak announces 4 July general election

    Rishi Sunak has announced a general election on 4 July.
    Rishi Sunak has announced a general election on 4 July.

    Rishi Sunak has announced a general election will take place on 4 July.

    The prime minister made his announcement outside 10 Downing Street following a day of speculation which saw cabinet ministers summoned to an unusually-timed meeting, with defence secretary Grant Shapps and foreign secretary Lord Cameron cutting short foreign trips to attend.

    It also comes after the PM declared inflation was “back to normal” in a “major milestone” for the country, following official figures showing inflation slowed to 2.3% in April.

  • Can I still vote in the July general election if I am on holiday?

    This photo was taken in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, England, UK
    How can you vote if you're away on holiday for the general election? (Stock image: Getty)

    The general election on 4 July falls right in holiday season, with many wondering if they will still be able to vote if they're away.

    Many people will potentially have holidays booked for when the schools break up, but it is still possible to vote in a general election even if you are not in the country.

    People who know they are going to be abroad on the date of an election can vote by post or proxy - provided they are registered to vote in the first place.

    Read more from the Independent.

  • NHS to be key battleground in race for Number 10

    The long-term future of the NHS will likely be a key battleground in the run up to the general election.

    Recent polling suggests that the founding principles of the service are still staunchly backed by the British public.

    But satisfaction with the NHS has dipped to record lows, indicating that politicians will have to persuade voters that their party will be the most likely to improve care for patients. The latest British Social Attitudes Survey – a long-running poll tracking the views of the public – found that only 24% of the public are satisfied with the NHS

  • Protester played Things Can Only Get Better to ‘troll’ Sunak speech

    The protester who played Things Can Only Get Better during Rishi Sunak’s election speech said he chose the New Labour tune because it was the “top trolling song for the Conservatives”.

    Anti-Brexit campaigner Steve Bray said he selected the D:Ream song for its association with the Tory landslide defeat in the 1997 general election rather than as a show of support for Labour in the upcoming campaign.

    He added that his protest outside Downing Street was paused when his two amplifiers became soaked and stopped working during heavy rain in Westminster

    Read more from PA Media here.

  • Green leaders look to increase tally of MPs

    Green Party co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay speak at their local election campaign launch in Bristol. Picture date: Thursday April 4, 2024.
    Green Party co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay are aiming to increase the number of Green MPs in Parliament. (AP)

    The Greens’ double-headed leadership goes into the General Election determined to increase the party’s representation at Westminster from a lone MP.

    Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay were elected co-leaders of the party in England and Wales in 2021 having promised to bring a greater degree of professionalism to its organisation and campaigning.

    Read the full story from PA.

  • General election polls: Are Labour or the Conservatives on track to win in July?

    Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour has a 23-point lead in the latest poll on voter intentions from Techne UK, with the Tory-Labour gap remaining wide over the past few months.

    The data is taken from 1,641 surveyed individuals across the UK, weighted to be representative of the population.

    At just 21 per cent of the vote, the Conservatives are at one of their lowest levels of popularity with the electorate under Mr Sunak.

    Read the full story from The Independent.

  • Farage to think ‘overnight’ about Reform candidacy

    British eurosceptic populist Nigel Farage speaks during the
    Nigel Farage has said he will 'think overnight' about whether to stand as a Reform candidate. (Getty)

    Nigel Farage has said he will think “overnight” about whether he will be standing for the Reform UK in the upcoming general election.

    There has been speculation that Farage, the party’s honorary president, could return to frontline politics for the election.

    Speaking on GB News after the election announcement, he said: “Richard Tice has got [Reform] up and running, there are 500 candidates selected, he will get more. The whole plan for Reform was that it was a six-year plan – fight this election, get ready for when Labour fail, which they will.

    “[Sir Keir] Starmer’s first cabinet will not have the competence that Blair’s first cabinet had by an absolute mile. Reform will fight the election. As for what I do, I’ll think about it overnight.”

  • Opinion: The economic stars aligned for an early election. The Tories had nothing left to lose

    One swallow does not a summer make, but three in a row may indeed be indicative of a decisive change in the weather, writes Jeremy Warner for The Telegraph.

    First we had much better than expected first quarter growth, then a reasonably encouraging write-up from the International Monetary Fund, predicting among other things that the UK is likely to have the fastest rate of growth over the next five years of any G7 country other than the US.

    Read the full story from The Telegraph.

  • How to register to vote in the 2024 general election

    Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issues a statement outside 10 Downing Street, London, after calling a General Election for July 4. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2024.
    Prime minister Rishi Sunak has announced a snap election on 4 July. (Alamy)

    Rishi Sunak has called a general election for 4 July after a day filled with speculation that he could have his eye on a summer polling day.

    Speaking outside Downing Street to confirm the surprise move, the prime minister said: "Now is the moment for Britain to choose its future."

    The announcement came amid some rare welcome news for Sunak, as official figures showed inflation slowed to 2.3% in April, the lowest level since July 2021.

    Here, Yahoo News outlines what you need to do to register to vote in the general election.

  • Sky News crew removed from ExCel Centre Conservative campaign rally by security

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 22: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is greeted by delegates and party members as he launches the Conservative Party general election campaign at the Excel Centre on May 22, 2024 in London, England. After much speculation across the UK media today, Sunak announced this evening that the UK general election will be held on July 4. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)y
    Rishi Sunak was greeted by applause at a Conservative rally at the ExCel centre. (Getty)

    A Sky News broadcast crew was removed from the ExCel Centre by security ahead of the Prime Minister’s speech at a Conservative campaign rally, PA Media reported.

    Broadcaster Darren McCaffrey and his crew were escorted from the venue by two security guards, with the correspondent saying they had not been allowed in due to broadcast pooling arrangements.

    Sunak's speech to the crowd of Conservative activists at the East London venue on Wednesday evening was met with a round of applause, with those attending holding up Vote Conservative placards as the PM greeted members of his Cabinet.

  • General Election 2024: What are the key Labour and the Conservative manifesto promises?

    Photo by: zz/KGC-254/STAR MAX/IPx 2022 10/24/22 Sir Keir Starmer - Leader of The Labour Party and Leader of The Opposition - is seen on October 24, 2022 outside the Global Radio Studios in Leicester Square, London, England, UK.
    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer laid out his pledges for the next election. (PA)

    Labour has been critical of the government’s economic record, with shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves promising to take an approach of ‘securonomics’ as an antidote to the economic turmoil caused by Liz Truss’s catastrophic 2022 ‘mini-budget’.

    Outlining Labour’s ‘first steps for change’ in May, Keir Starmer said the party would impose strict rules on themselves.

    Read the full story from The Independent.

  • General election 2024: Key dates in the countdown to polling day

    Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issues a statement outside 10 Downing Street, London, after calling a General Election for July 4. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2024.
    Prime minister Rishi Sunak has announced the date of the next election. (Alamy)

    Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced that general election will take place in July.

    Now that a date has been set, the clock starts ticking on a strict timetable until polling day.

    Read the full story from the Evening Standard.

  • Sunak announces general election: Prime minister’s speech in full

    Rishi Sunak has announced the next general election will be held on July 4.

    The Prime Minister addressed the nation from Downing Street on Wednesday afternoon.

    Read his full speech at The Telegraph.

  • Campaigners want answers on impact of election on blood scandal victims

    A person carrying a bag reading
    Campaigners are concerned parliament will be dissolved before final compensation arrangements are made. (Getty)

    Health organisations and charities have called for clarity on what impact the general election will have on bills concerning the infected blood scandal.

    Particular concerns have been raised about the speed at which the Victims and Prisoners Bill – which will legally establish a compensation body for victims of the infected blood scandal – will pass through the House of Commons.

    Jason Evans, director of the Factor 8 campaign group, said: “The Victims and Prisoners Bill must be included in the wash-up, or we will have been fobbed off once again. This whole thing is a mess, and I cannot begin to explain the mass confusion and anger among victims at this time. They feel betrayed and lied to, again."

    Wash-up is the opportunity for Parliament to get through any unfinished business before it is dissolved.

  • Jeremy Hunt confirms he will stand in election

    Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed he will stand in the general election, and said on X he would “fight with every bone in my body” to get Rishi Sunak re-elected.

    He added: “I will also stand for election in Godalming and Ash where I am proud of my local record and excited that the new boundaries include the town I went to school and the village I grew up in.

    “It is a highly marginal seat so I will fight hard for every single vote!”

  • Five battleground issues in UK general election

    Britain is facing six weeks of political campaigning after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on Wednesday that a general election will be held on July 4.

    Here are five issues expected to dominate campaigning as the ruling Conservatives, in power since 2010, seek to fight off a resurgent Labour opposition.

    Read the full story from AFP.

  • Church leaders plea for respect and kindness 'in the heat of the debate'

    Church of England leaders made a plea for respect and kindness “even in the heat of the debate”.

    In a joint statement, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell urged that “no matter how big the issues” at stake over the coming weeks, the upcoming period should be “a time marked by respect for one another, for good grace and a commitment to truth and integrity”.

    They said the forthcoming election would be a “critical moment in the life of our nation, which will shape our future by electing those who will make decisions affecting generations to come”, adding: “It is our prayer that, even in the heat of the debate, we will treat each other with respect and kindness."

  • First July election since 1945

    Mr. Churchill's V.E. Day Broadcast', 1945 (1955). Mr. Churchill broadcast end of hostilities of WWII, one minute after midnight, although 'ceasefire' had been sounded along the front. Millions of people rejoiced in the news that Germany had surrendered, relieved the intense strain of total war was finally over. From Churchill: The Man of the Century - A Pictorial Biography, edited by Neil Ferrier. [L.T.A. Robinson Limited, London, 1955]. Artist Unknown(Photo by The Print Collector/Getty Images)
    There hasn't been a July general election since Winston Churchill was ousted in 1945. (Getty)

    The forthcoming general election will be the first held in July since Clement Attlee swept to power in a Labour landslide after the end of Second World War hostilities in Europe, ousting Winston Churchill.

    The 1945 election – which took place on 5 July – came within two months of VE Day and initiated a political transformation that saw the creation of the NHS and the building of social housing.

    Parliament was dissolved only three weeks before Britons went to the polls, in contrast to the six weeks to go until 4 July this year.

    The Labour Party gained a 145-seat majority and the Liberal Party leader, Archibald Sinclair, lost his seat. The Conservatives lost 189 seats.

  • Sunak ‘excluded deaf community’ in election announcement

    Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, soaked in rain,  pauses as he delivers a speech to announce July 4 as the date of the UK's next general election, at 10 Downing Street in central London, on May 22, 2024. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday set a general election date for July 4, ending months of speculation about when he would go to the country. The vote -- the third since the Brexit referendum in 2016 and the first in July since 1945 -- comes as Sunak seeks to capitalise on better economic data to woo voters hit by cost-of-living rises. (Photo by BENJAMIN CREMEL / AFP) (Photo by BENJAMIN CREMEL/AFP via Getty Images)
    Rishi Sunak has been accused of excluding the deaf community with his announcement. (Getty)

    Rishi Sunak was accused of excluding the deaf community by not having a sign language interpreter with him when he called the general election.

    According to the hearing charity RNID, Downing Street pledged to have British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters on hand for big announcements from spring 2024.

    However, there was no interpreter in sight when Mr Sunak made his announcement outside Number 10 on Wednesday afternoon.

  • Boris Johnson 'strongly supporting' the Conservatives

    KYIV, UKRAINE - FEBRUARY 24: Boris Johnson, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, takes part in a discussion ‘Survival, Victory, Peace’ at the meeting of the Yalta European Strategy ‘Two Years – Stay in the Fight’ on February 24, 2024 in Kyiv, Ukraine. The YES meeting ‘Two Years – Stay in the Fight’ held in Kyiv on the second anniversary of Ukraine’s resistance to the full-scale invasion of Russia. (Photo by Yan Dobronosov/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
    Boris Johnson urged people to support the Conservatives. (Getty)

    Former prime minister Boris Johnson is “strongly supporting” the Conservative Party and urges “everybody to do the same”, a spokesman said.

    It comes after speculation that the ex-MP might appear on the Tory campaign trail in the run-up to a vote.

    A spokesman for Mr Johnson said: “Boris Johnson is, as always, strongly supporting the Conservatives and encourages everybody to do the same.”

  • 'Bring it on': Momentum says priority is electing socialist Labour MPs

    The left-wing pressure group Momentum said its top priority is a General Election victory for Labour and to “elect socialist and trade unionist Labour MPs”.

    Kate Dove, chairwoman of the grassroots organisation, said: “Let’s get the Tories out. Fourteen years of Conservative austerity have broken Britain: our NHS and public services are starved of funding and on their knees, our privatised water full of sewage, a housing crisis rages on, while the wealthy few laugh their way to the bank.

    “Momentum stands with the trade union movement: the first priority is to kick Rishi Sunak out of Downing Street and elect a Labour Government instead to bring our railways back into public ownership and implement a New Deal for Working People. This must be just the first step to the comprehensive social and economic transformation the country is crying out for.

    “Our role is clear. In this election Momentum will mobilise to keep out the Tories and elect socialist and trade unionist Labour MPs in their stead, from Zarah Sultana to Ian Lavery, John McDonnell to Apsana Begum. Bring it on.”

  • Ed Davey says every Lib Dem vote is one for a 'local champion'

    Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey speaks to the media at the London Recreation Ground in Camberley, Surrey, after a General Election was called for July 4. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2024.
    Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey speaks to the media after a General Election was called for 4 July. (Alamy)

    Ed Davey said every vote for the Liberal Democrats in the general election will be a vote for a “local champion”.

    The Lib Dem leader said at an event with supporters in Surrey: “Across the country, people are crying out for change and this election is the chance to make that happen.

    “In so many parts of the country it’s the Liberal Democrats who can beat the Conservatives, who have taken people for granted for so long.

    “Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for a local champion — an MP who will fight for you, your family and your community to get the fair deal that you so deserve.

    “This government is out of touch, it’s out of excuses and it’s out of time. And it’s time to get this Conservative government out of office.”

    “And if we do, we can transform our politics, we can sort out the crisis in the health and care system, we can get our economy back on track, we can end the sewage scandal and we can get the fair deal people deserve.”

  • ‘Things Can Only Get Better’: Rishi Sunak’s election announcement drowned out by Blair’s 1997 theme tune

    Rishi Sunak’s election announcement was drowned out by the sound of Tony Blair’s 1997 general election soundtrack Things Can Only Get Better, by D:Ream.

    The prime minister’s announcement outside Number 10 of a general election for 4 July was disrupted not only by the rain gradually soaking his suit, but by a protester blaring the song through a loudspeaker.

    Read the full story from The Independent.

  • Why has Rishi Sunak called the General Election for July 4?

    For a man who is naturally cautious, Rishi Sunak took some convincing that an early general election was the right way to go, but in the end he ran out of reasons to say no.

    Good news on the economy, hopes of lift-off for the Rwanda plan and the danger that there could be bad news later in the year finally convinced the Prime Minister that the pros outweighed the cons.

    So he decided, for once, to be bold and seize the initiative by going to the country on July 4.

    Read the full story from The Telegraph.

  • Baroness Warsi tweets picture of rain-soaked Sunak: 'Not a good look' to kick off election campaign

    Conservative peer and former party chairwoman Baroness Warsi tweeted a photograph of a drenched Rishi Sunak, saying: “Drowned and out.

    “Not good look to kick off a #GeneralElection campaign.”

  • Election means early test for Swinney weeks after becoming first minister

    First Minister John Swinney during a visit to see a new CT scanner which delivers additional diagnostic capacity at St John's Hospital, Livingston, West Lothian. Picture date: Friday May 10, 2024.
    First minister John Swinney faces a big test at the general election. (Alamy)

    Labour seems to be the party best placed to make gains in Scotland in the general election.

    New SNP leader and first minister John Swinney has vowed to work to get his party into a winning position, but pollsters have warned he faces a “major uphill task”.

    Read the full story from PA.

  • When is the next general election? Everything we know

    Sunak has announced a snap election will be held on Thursday, 4 July - in just 43 days.

    In the past, governments have only called elections early when confident of victory, so Sunak was previously thought to be likely to hold off for as long as he can.

    However it appears he is hoping that his inflation announcement will have given him a much-needed boost ahead of the polls.

    Read the full story from Yahoo News.

  • Buckingham Palace says royals will postpone events that distract from election

    Buckingham Palace said the King met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in person at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday afternoon, following Charles’ Prince’s Trust engagement.

    They spent around 15 minutes together, in place of their normal weekly audience on Wednesday evening.

    Mr Sunak is not expected to visit the King again on Wednesday.

    The royal family is to postpone engagements “which may appear to divert attention or distract from the election campaign”, Buckingham Palace also announced.

    A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “Following the Prime Minister’s statement this afternoon calling a General Election, the royal family will, in accordance with normal procedure, postpone engagements that may appear to divert attention or distract from the election campaign.

    “Their Majesties send their sincere apologies to any of those who may be affected as a result.”

  • Starmer: Election an 'opportunity for change'

    PURFLEET, ENGLAND - MAY 16: Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer holds a card featuring the six election pledges during the launch event on May 16, 2024 in Purfleet, England. Labour Leader Keir Starmer pledges to deliver economic stability, cut NHS waiting times, launch a new Border Security Command, set up Great British Energy and recruit 6,500 new teachers if Labour win the next General Election. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
    Labour leader Keir Starmer. (Getty)

    Labour leader Keir Starmer has described the general election is an "opportunity for change".

    Responding to Sunak's speech, he said: "Tonight, the prime minister has finally announced the next general election, a moment the country needs and has been waiting for and where, by the force of our democracy, power returns to you.

    “A chance to change for the better your future, your community, your country.

    “It will feel like a long campaign, I am sure of that, but no matter what else is said and done, that opportunity for change is what this election is about.”

  • Sunak says he has a 'clear plan' for future

    Sunak shared a post on X, formerly Twitter, following his announcement.

  • How wealthy is Rishi Sunak?

    LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 12: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sits with his wife Akshata Murty, during a Q&A event at the RAF Museum in Hendon, as he launches an employment plan which pledges to help veterans secure high-paid jobs after they leave the armed forces on April 12, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
    Rishi Sunak sits with his wife Akshata Murty. (Getty)

    Opposition parties are likely to focus at least some of their general election campaigning on the personal wealth of the prime minister in an attempt to portray him as being out of touch.

    Last week, it emerged Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty surged by more than £120m over the past year.

    The latest annual Sunday Times Rich List revealed their wealth grew substantially despite the wider UK billionaire boom coming “to an end” in the face of tough economic conditions.

    Sunak and Murty’s wealth was £651m in the latest list, soaring from £529m in 2023.

    The rise was linked to Murty’s small stake in Infosys, the $70bn (£55.3bn) Indian IT giant co-founded by her billionaire father.

    Her shares grew in value by £108.8m to nearly £590m for the year.

    The couple’s wealth however still remains below its level from 2022, when it sat at around £730m for the year.

  • Will Labour win the general election? Latest odds and polls

    Rishi Sunak has announced a snap election - with the country set to go to the polls on Thursday, 4 July.

    Labour is ahead of the Conservatives in the polls, but the prime minister is clearly hopeful that his announcement that interest rates have fallen to their lowest level in nearly three years (in what he described as a "major moment for the economy") will give him a boost.

    Read the full story from Yahoo News.

  • When was the last general election?

    Image ©Licensed to Parsons Media. 13/12/2019. London, United Kingdom. Boris Johnson Wins 2019 General Election.   Boris Johnson Election Night.  Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds at Conservative Party HQ after  Boris secures a 80 seat majority in the 2019 General Election.   Picture by Andrew Parsons / Parsons Media
    Boris Johnson pictured in 2019, celebrating his general election victory. (Alamy).

    The last election was held on 12 December 2019 with Boris Johnson winning a landslide victory over Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party. The election was dominated by the issue of Brexit and finishing the UK's exit from the EU, a process which had begun with the referendum in 2016.

    The Conservatives won 365 seats, their highest number since 1987 and Labour won 202 seats, its lowest proportion since 1935.

  • Lib Dem leader Ed Davey: 'Let's go out and win!'

    Responding to the Prime Minister calling an election for July 4, Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Ed Davey said: “This General Election is a chance to kick Rishi Sunak’s appalling Conservative Government out of office and deliver the change the public is crying out for.'

    He said: “For years the Conservative Party has taken voters for granted and lurched from crisis to crisis while the problems facing the country are getting so much worse."

  • What could happen in the general election?

    There are likely four possible outcomes when Britons go to the polls in July. These are:

    • The Conservatives lose a majority but remain the largest party

    • Labour becomes the largest party in a hung parliament

    • Labour wins an overall majority

    • Labour wins a working majority

    For a full rundown of these outcomes, read this analysis from the PA news agency

  • Sunak reflects on Covid pandemic during speech

    As he was soaked by pouring rain, Sunak reflected on the Covid pandemic and other challenges in recent years. (Reuters)

    Rishi Sunak began his address by reflecting on the Covid pandemic.

    He said: “In the last five years our country has fought through the most challenging times since the Second World War.

    “As I stand here as your Prime Minister, I can’t help but reflect that my first proper introduction to you was just over four years ago. I stood behind one of the podiums upstairs in the building behind me.

    “I told you that we faced a generation-defining moment and that we as a society could not be judged by some Government action, but by the small acts of kindness we showed one another.

    “You met that challenge and then some, and I had never been prouder to be British.”

  • Starmer says only a 'changed Labour Party will get Britain's future back'

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer shared a video via X, formerly Twitter, with a single word: 'Change'.

    In the video, he pointed to issues he blamed on the Conservatives, saying: "Nothing seems to work anymore", adding: "They have failed".

    The Labour Party tweeted a slick video of its leader saying: “Britain is a great and proud country. But after 14 years under the Tories, nothing seems to work anymore.

    “Public services crumbling, ambulances that don’t come, families weighed down by higher mortgage rates, antisocial behaviour on our high streets. The list goes on and on.

    “Political chaos feeding decline, feeding chaos, feeding decline. The answer is not five more years of the Tories. They have failed.

    “Give the Tories five more years and things will only get worse. Britain deserves better than that.”

  • Sunak: 'Now is the moment for Britain to choose its future'

    Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves Downing Street in London, Britain, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Hollie Adams
    Sunak said he had spoken to the King to ask for the dissolution of parliament. (Reuters)

    Announcing a general election, Rishi Sunak said: “This hard earned economic stability was only ever meant to be the beginning, the question now is how and who do you trust to turn that foundation into a secure future for you, your family, and our country?

    “Now is the moment for Britain to choose its future, to decide whether we want to build on the progress we have made or risk going back to square one with no plan and no certainty.

    “Earlier today I spoke with His Majesty the King to request the dissolution of Parliament.

    “The King has granted this request and we will have a general election on July 4.”

  • Sunak trolled by '97 Labour election anthem during announcement

    Sunak got visibly soaked as he made his speech. (Reuters)
    Sunak got visibly soaked as he made his speech. (Reuters)

    Sunak made his announcement in pouring rain, getting visibly soaked as he stood at the lectern outside 10 Downing Street.

    D.Ream song Things can only get Better – used by Tony Blair's Labour Party as their 1997 election anthem – could be heard playing on loudspeakers from outside Number 10 as Sunak delivered his speech.

  • How can I register to vote?

    You need to be over the age of 16 and a British citizen to register to vote.

    You can register online on the government's website. The form takes five minutes and you will need your national insurance number.

    Despite being able to register to vote at 16 you must be 18 to vote in a general election.

  • Lectern brought out ahead of Sunak's announcement

    A lectern has been set up outside Number 10 Downing Street in preparation for an announcement.

    The lectern bears no Government crest in a further sign of Rishi Sunak’s expected plans to call a general election.

    The royal seal, which indicates an announcement relating to government rather than party business, is absent from the front of the podium.

  • Sunak currently the 44th longest-serving PM

    Rishi Sunak is currently the 44th longest-serving prime minister out of 57 - and a 4 July election means he won't move any further up the list.

    Still, his tenure has been significantly longer than Liz Truss, who holds the title as the shortest-lived PM at 49 days.

  • Sunak has been advised now is the time to go for a general election, sources tell Guardian

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 22, 2024: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak departs 10 Downing Street for the House of Commons to attend the Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) in London, United Kingdom on May 22, 2024. (Photo credit should read Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
    Rishi Sunak has reportedly decided to announce a general election for July. (Getty)

    The Guardian reported that sources had told the newspaper that Rishi Sunak wants to hold a summer election following his announcement that inflation is back under control and the economy is improving.

    According to the newspaper, government insiders suggested that the PM had been persuaded it would be better to announce an election now, given that the economy is unlikely to improve significantly before the autumn, and the ongoing controversy around his Rwanda scheme.

  • Emily Maitlis says: 'It's on' for 4 July election date

    Journalist Emily Maitlis appeared to confirm that 4 July is the date for a general election, saying: "It’s on ! July 4th. Just had this from 3 people in last minute."

    With less than an hour to go until an official announcement, there remains to be official confirmation from Downing Street but journalists close to Westminster seem increasingly confident in a July election.

    Emily Maitlis
    Emily Maitlis
  • Sunday Times political commentator: Tory revolt not 'out of the question'

    Tim Shipman, chief political commentator at the Sunday Times, appeared to agree that a Tory revolt could be looming in the wake of a sudden election announcement.

    He also revealed that ministers had been told to attend a cabinet meeting at 4pm "on pain of death", but had not been told what they would be discussing.

    He later joked that X - formerly Twitter - and his own WhatsApp inbox was a "doom loop of journalists, Labour advisers, cabinet ministers and spads [special advisors] all asking each other what we know", pointing out that that remained nothing concrete.

  • Watch Rishi Sunak - live

    Ministers have started to arrive at Downing Street for the Cabinet mee

  • 'Panic in the tea room' as rumours of snap election continue to swirl

    Other sources suggested that shockwaves are rippling behind the scenes ahead of the 5pm announcement.

    BBC Newsnight's political editor Nicholas Watt reported that sources had told him there was "panic in the tea room", with suggestions that there were already calls for a vote of no confidence in Sunak.

    There has still been no confirmation that the PM definitely plans to call a general election - but with so much speculation his party are undoubtedly concerned not only by the timing given they are trailing in the polls, but also the shock of the sudden announcement.

  • Peston 'even more confident that an early election is coming'

    ITV News political editor Robert Peston, who had previously predicted an election date of November, also changed his tune on Wednesday, joining in speculation.

    While he insisted in one post on X, formerly Twitter, that: "We honestly don't know if there's going to be an election called or not ..." he said later that he was "even more confident that an early election is coming" than he was before lunchtime on Wednesday, adding: "If I subsequently look an eejit, so be it."

    He cited suggestions that the final stages of the finance bill are being "rushed through" tomorrow which he said would be "consistent with a 4 July general election".

  • Rumours suggest Sunak to make 'announcement' at 5pm - but not what it will be

    TalkTV presenter Peter Cardwell said he had heard from two "decent sources" that there would be an announcement to the press from the prime minister at 5pm today in Downing Street.

    While speculation is that a press announcement could be to call a general election, it could be to announce a cabinet reshuffle or something else, so an announcement doesn't automatically mean an election.