Sunak calls general election for 4 July

Following mounting speculation from political journalists throughout the day, PM Rishi Sunak has confirmed that a general election will take place on 4 July.

Shortly after 5pm in the rain on a very wet May day, a sodden Sunak made the announcement outside 10 Downing Street in front of dozens of umbrella-toting journalists.

Strains of “Things Can Only Get Better” by D:Ream – Labour’s victory theme tune from 1997 – could be heard blaring out from outside the Downing Street gates.

During Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) at the House of Commons earlier in the day, when pressed on the matter, Sunak repeated the party line that the general election would take place in the “second half of this year”.

The absence of a denial that a general election was about to be called fuelled speculation that an election was, in fact, about to be called.

Following PMQs, cabinet ministers were summoned to a 4pm meeting at Downing Street, which led to the unusual action of ministers cutting short and delaying foreign trips. Home Office ministers’ diaries were cleared according to Chris Mason, the BBC’s Political editor. The chancellor cancelled an appearance on ITV’s Peston programme scheduled for 9pm.

Latest polling figures show Labour on 45% with a significant 22-point lead over the Conservatives, according to a poll carried out by Deltapoll between 17 and 20 May. The Conservatives trail on 23%, in their worst polling run since October 2022, when Liz Truss was in Downing Street.

Poll tracker graph credit: Ralbegen CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

The prime minister met the King at Buckingham Palace before the announcement in a meeting that lasted for approximately 15 minutes.

A 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.”

Parliament will be prorogued on Friday, 24 May and will be dissolved on Thursday, 30 May.

In Wirral, you can register to vote here >>> https://www.wirral.gov.uk/elections-and-voting/register-vote

You can apply for a postal vote here >>> https://www.gov.uk/apply-postal-vote

This will be the first UK general election where physical forms of voter identification will be a legal requirement to vote in Great Britain.

A list of acceptable photo ID to allow you to cast your vote at a polling station is here >>> https://www.gov.uk/how-to-vote/photo-id-youll-need

You can apply for photo ID to vote (called a ‘Voter Authority Certificate’) here >>> https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority-certificate

Since the publication of this article, the Electoral Commission has announced the deadline for registering to vote is on Tuesday, 18 June, at 23:59.

Voters need to be registered to take part in the election.

Here are other key dates announced by the Electoral Commission:

  • Deadline for applying for a postal vote, 17:00 on 19 June
  • Deadline for applying for a proxy vote, 17:00 on 26 June
  • Deadline for applying for a Voter Authority Certificate, 17:00 on 26 June

Polling day is on Thursday 4 July, between 07:00 – 22:00.

Lead image: Rishi Sunak official portrait

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