June 2024 \ World News \ World News

London: In a surprise development, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in May called an early general election in July. Addressing reporters outside his 10, Downing Street residence, amid rain, he said that, earlier in the day, he had asked King Charles to dissolve Parliament on May 30 and this was granted, and thus the election will take place on July 4, the BBC reported. Elections were slated for later this year.

Noting that the last five years have seen the country fight through the most challenging times since World War Two, Sunak, who chaired a Cabinet meeting before his announcement, said that the country has fought through those challenges and it made him proud to be British.

He stressed that the UK economy is still growing, inflation has returned to normal, interest rates have come down and the government’s plan is working, However, he acknowledged that he recognizes things are not easy for many people currently.

Among a resurgent Labour Party seeking to return to power after 14 years in the wake of his Conservatives dismal performance in the recent Council elections, the Indian-descent Sunak told the people that the question now is “who do you trust”.

It is the moment to decide Britain’s future, he said, to decide whether you want to “build on the future you’ve made or risk going back to square one”. Sunak also admitted that he cannot and will not claim they got everything right while in power, but he is proud of what they achieved and what can be done in the future, listing his achievements as giving “record funding” to the NHS, improving children’s reading, putting energy security over “environmental dogma” and increasing defence spending.

Responding to the announcement, Labour party chief, Sir Keir Starmer called this a moment the country needs and has been waiting for. This is the time to change communities and the country, he said, terming the election campaign an opportunity to secure a better future.

Starmer said the Labour party has changed over the last few years and asks for a chance to do the same for the country, promising it will “return Britain to the service of working people”. It will reverse things like sewage being pumped into rivers, people waiting for treatment in A&E, and reverse the trend of rising mortgages and food prices, he promised. A vote for Labour is a vote for stability, Starmer said, and a vote for “a politics that treads more lightly... and stops the chaos”.

“It is time for change,” he said. Liberal Democrats leader, Sir Ed Davey said the general election will be a “chance to kick Rishi Sunak’s appalling Conservative government out of office and deliver the change the public is crying out for”.

“The NHS has been brought to its knees, people’s mortgages and rents have soared by hundreds of pounds a month and water companies have got away with pumping filthy sewage into our rivers and beaches.”

Tags: UK

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