When is the UK general election and what does it mean?

Rishi Sunak stood in among people holding placards
Rishi Sunak has confirmed when the next general election will take place -Credit:Getty Images

The date of the next general election in the UK has been announced. Rishi Sunak ended speculation that had been dogging him throughout his tenure by, at the end of May, confirming a date of July 4, 2024.

Mr Sunak gathered his cabinet together for a meeting in Downing Street on May 22 and went on to announce his decision in a press conference outside the Prime Minister's residence. Cabinet members were called back from international visits and media appearances were cancelled ahead of the meeting.

Electoral rules mean a general election had to be held before January 2025 but it has been a balancing act for the Conservative Prime Minister about when to call the election. His party, and he himself, have consistently had low polling figures but an election has to be held before January 2025. The Prime Minister has been repeatedly questioned about when it will take place and had said he expected it to be in the second half of 2024. Either side of the summer break was most widely expected.

READ MORE: The new political map of Wales and who would win each seat

READ MORE: The utterly bleak result a poll projects for the Conservatives in Wales

Why has a general election been called?

There had to be an election by January 2025 and the latest date Parliament could have been dissolved for a general election is December 17, 2024. Given the requirement for 25 working days to prepare for an election the next election must be held by January 28, 2025. Join our WhatsApp news community here for the latest breaking news.

What will happen in Wales?

There are big changes this election as there has been a huge rewriting of constituency boundaries. Wales' 40 constituencies are being cut to 32 under a redesign of the constituency to make the sizes more equal. The new constituencies are detailed in this story. Only the isle of Ynys Mon does not have changes and in Wales some seats are being erased or merged with others.

What will the result of the general election be in Wales?

In Wales, the polls suggest the Conservatives could be all but wiped out, retaining just one or two seats. The favourite seats for the party to hold onto are what is currently known as Montgomeryshire and will become known as Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr, currently held by Craig Williams, and the Brecon and Radnorshire seat held by Fay Jones. That seat will become known as Brecon, Radnor, and Cwm Tawe. You can see the detail of Welsh polling here.

Who is likely to win the general election according to the polls?

Across a number of polls, Labour has a substantial lead. Taking one, YouGov polling released today (May 22), shows favourability for Labour and the Green Party to be at 42% but 20% for the Conservatives. Unfavourable ratings for the Tories are at 69% compared to 47% for Labour.

When was the last general election?

The last general election was held on Thursday, December 12, 2019. The next general election was due to be held before January 28, 2025, and had to be declared before December 17, 2024.

When do MPs stop being MPs?

MPs stop becoming MPs after Parliament has been dissolved which is 25 working days before polling date. In this election that will be Thursday, May 30. Once Parliament is dissolved there are no longer any MPs as every seat in the House of Commons becomes vacant. Those MPs who are standing again are candidates, just as someone standing for the first time.