Rishi Sunak announces general election for July

Rishi Sunak has called a general election
Rishi Sunak has called a general election -Credit:Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced that a general election will be held in July.

Mr Sunak spoke outside 10 Downing Street today to confirm that the country will go to the polls on July 4 - in around six weeks time.

Speculation began mounting in Westminster this morning that an election announcement could be on the cards. Rumours swirled following news that inflation has fallen to 2.3% - the lowest figure in around three years.

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The Conservatives and their under-pressure leader have been significantly behind Keir Starmer's Labour Party for a long time and face an uphill task to retain power. Mr Sunak clearly believes the improving economic outlook gives him his best chance of an upset.

The latest the government could call an election is January 2025 but Mr Sunak has repeatedly said the vote will take place in the second half of this year. This was a comment he repeated when quizzed by the Scottish National Party's Stephen Flynn at Prime Minister's Questions earlier today.

But while many had been speculating that this would mean an autumn election, Mr Sunak has chosen to go earlier in the second half of the year by naming July 4 as the date of the hugely anticipated vote.

There are 650 seats for MPs in the House of Commons. For any party to win an outright majority at a general election - and the ability to form a government - they must win at least 326 of those seats.

Labour currently have just 205 seats while the Conservatives boast 344. This means Labour need to win an extra 121 seats on top of what they already have to form a majority government.

The Tories only have to lose 18 seats to lose their overall majority and Labour will be hoping to win many seats currently held by the Tories.

Speaking outside Downing Street today, Mr Sunak said: "On July 5, either Keir Starmer or I will be prime minister.

“He has shown time and time again that he will take the easy way out and do anything to get power.

“I have to say, if he was happy to abandon all the promises he made to become Labour leader once he got the job, how can you know that he won’t do exactly the same thing if he were to become prime minister?

“If you don’t have the conviction to stick to anything you say, if you don’t have the courage to tell people what you want to do, and if you don’t have a plan, how can you possibly be trusted to lead our country, especially at this most uncertain of times?”

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