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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak calls July General Election





Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called a General Election.

He made the announcement outside Downing Street revealing that voters will head to the polls on July 4.

Mr Sunak, who has been PM since October 22 2022, when he replaced Liz Truss, said he had been to Buckingham Palace to ask the King to dissolve parliament.

He said the election would be a question of trust, warning that the British people could not believe any promise made by Sir Keir Starmer.

Mr Sunak said he had restored “hard-earned economic stability”.

“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.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called a General Election. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called a General Election. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA

He added: “On July 5, either Sir 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.

“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?”

However, the Conservatives face a tough battle. They begin the General Election campaign trailing Labour in the opinion polls by around 20 percentage points – as they have done for most of the last 18 months.

An average of polls for the seven days to May 22 puts Labour on 45%, the Conservatives on 24%, Reform on 11%, the Liberal Democrats on 10% and the Greens on 7%.

The gap between Labour and the Tories is typical of the lead Sir Keir’s party has enjoyed since the autumn of 2022, when the 49-day premiership of Liz Truss saw the government’s poll ratings slide from the low 30s to the mid 20s.

The announcement of a July election also puts pressure of the Stratford Conservative Association to find a candidate. Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi has announced he intends not to seek re-election.

The Liberal Democrats in Stratford believe the Stratford-on-Avon seat, a long-term safe seat for the Conservatives, is winnable. A recent YouGov poll also put them ahead in the constituency - although that was before Mr Zahawi made his announcement.

Reform UK and Labour have already announced their candidates.

The current line-up on the ballot paper is likely to be:

Manuela Perteghella, Lib Dems

Seyi Agboola, Labour

James Crocker, Reform UK

Greens

Neil O’Neil, NONPOL

Plus whoever the Conservatives put forward. Depending on who that is, and whether they have local connections, could also see Stratford CAN put forward a candidate with the aim of capturing conservative votes.



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