British PM Rishi Sunak declares July 4 as UK general election date

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British PM Rishi Sunak declares July 4 as UK general election date
London: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday ended frenzied speculation by announcing that the country’s general election will be held on July 4.

In an address from the lectern on the steps of 10 Downing Street on a rainy London evening, the country’s first Prime Minister of Indian heritage confirmed a summer poll in six weeks’ time and that the Parliament would soon be dissolved after he formally informed King Charles III of the election timeline.

The 44-year-old leader laid out his record in office in his pitch to the British electorate, who will soon give their verdict at the ballot box. “I will do everything in my power to provide you with the strongest possible protection I can. That is my promise to you… now is the moment for Britain to choose its future,” he said.

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It comes as the governing Conservative Party is forecast for a general election drubbing by most opinion polls, with the Opposition Labour Party holding a firm lead after a series of recent by-election and local election victories.

A Labour spokesperson said the party is “fully ready to go whenever” and that the country is “crying out for a general election”. Earlier, speculation around a UK general election being around the corner, possibly in early July, went on overdrive as Sunak chaired a Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street for which ministers rather unusually cut short foreign visits and changed their plans to ensure they can attend.

Sunak stuck to his stance of a general election in the “second half of this year” when asked in the House of Commons during his weekly Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).

However, UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps delayed his flight to attend a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) meeting and Foreign Secretary David Cameron cut short his visit to Albania in order to be in London for the Cabinet meeting was soon directly connected with the prospect of an election date announcement in the offing. “As I have said repeatedly, there is — spoiler alert — going to be a general election in the second half of this year,” Sunak told MPs in the Commons.

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