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by Staff Reporter
23 May 2024
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announces general election date

Rishi Sunak made a statement in a wet Downing Street | Alamy

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announces general election date

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced that a general election will be held on July 4.

There had been mounting speculation during the day that a general election would be announced after the prime minister’s repeated refusal to name a date.

Speaking in Downing Street, the prime minister said: “Now is the moment for Britain to choose its future. To decide on whether we want to build on the progress we have made or risk going back to square one with no plan and no certainty.

“Earlier today, I spoke with His Majesty the King to request the dissolution of parliament. The King has granted this request and we will have a general election on the 4th of July.”

He added: “These uncertain times call for a clear plan and bold action to chart a course to a secure future. You must choose in this election who has that plan, who is prepared to take the bold action necessary to secure a better future for our country and our children.

“I cannot and will not claim that we have got everything right – no government should. But I am proud of what we have achieved together, the bold actions we have taken, and I’m confident about what we can do in the future.”

The polls have consistently shown Keir Starmer's Labour Party has a sizeable lead over the Conservatives.

And polling published earlier this week suggested Scottish Labour has a 10-point lead over the SNP on Westminster voting intention.

Starmer said the election was “a moment the country needs and has been waiting for”.

He said: “A chance to change for the better your future, your community, your country. It will feel like a long campaign, I’m sure of that. But no matter what else is said and done, that opportunity for change is what this election is about.

“We will stop the chaos. Look around our country – the sewage in our rivers, the people waiting on trolleys in A&E, crime virtually unpunished, mortgages and food prices through the roof. It’s all – every bit of it – a direct result of the Tory chaos in Westminster.

“Time and again they pursue their own interests rather than tackling the issues that affect your family. If they get another five years, they will feel entitled to carry on exactly as they are. Nothing will change.

“A vote for Labour is a vote for stability, economic and political. A politics that treads more lightly on all our lives. A vote to stop the chaos.”

Starmer said his party would offer a rejection of the “gesture politics” of the Tories and the SNP.

Responding to Sunak's announcement, SNP leader John Swinney said: “I look forward to leading the SNP in this election. This is the moment to remove the Tory government and put Scotland first by voting SNP.

“People in Scotland know we stand up for them and protect them from the damage done by Westminster.” 

Swinney added: “The SNP offers a better future to the broken Westminster consensus.
“In this election we’ll be making the case why decisions about Scotland should be made here – and I’ll take that message to every part of Scotland.
“In government, we’ve grown Scotland’s economy, doubled frontline funding for the NHS and ensured Scotland has the highest number of GPs per head in the UK. We’re helping with the cost of living through measures such as free prescriptions, free bus travel for under-22s and off-peak rail fares all day.
“A vote for the SNP is a vote to put Scotland first – and for Scotland to become an independent country.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the Scottish Conservatives were “ready to take the fight to the SNP”.

He said: “This election in Scotland is a huge opportunity to defeat the SNP and put an end to their obsession with independence for good.

“If voters unite in the many seats where it’s a straight fight between the Scottish Conservatives and the SNP, we can get rid of nationalist MPs who have never focused on the things that really matter.

“In key seats up and down Scotland, only the Scottish Conservatives can beat the SNP and get all of the attention on to voters’ top priorities, such as creating good jobs, reducing NHS waiting lists and investing in schools.”

Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater MSP said: “Scottish Greens are ready to go, we will be standing more candidates than ever before on July 4. With Scottish Greens in the room, people can be sure climate justice and social justice will always be on the table. 

“A strong Scottish Green vote in this election could be transformational, so everybody needs to get out and vote for people and for planet. This is the last chance to save our nature and climate from the Tories, to put an end to their planet wrecking policies, and to protect future generations from the harm being inflicted upon them.”

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