Early election declared by Sunak: UK to vote on July 4

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called for a general election on July 4, with Labour leading the Tories in the polls

May 22, 2024 by Peoples Dispatch
Rishi Sunak in a press conference. Source: Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

Voters in the United Kingdom will head to the polls on July 4 after an unexpected announcement by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on May 22 launched the process towards a general election.

The decision came months earlier than originally anticipated. Many analysts believed that the Tories’ poor polling results, trailing 20% behind Keir Starmer’s Labour, would prompt Sunak to hold on to power until the end of the year.

However, Sunak appears to have concluded that the situation would not improve for the Tories, who have been in power for the past 14 years. Despite the prime minister proudly announcing new inflation indicators nearly in line with the government’s goals, UK citizens continue to suffer the consequences of conservative policies.

Skyrocketing prices have made everything from food to housing more inaccessible to the majority of British citizens. Public services, including the well-loved National Health Service (NHS), have been devastated by privatization agendas and budget cuts. The rights of the working class and migrants have reached historic lows under recent Tory administrations. The anti-migrant Safety of Rwanda policy wherein which asylum seekers would be deported to Rwanda has driven fear among asylum seekers and the displaced.

Read more: Sunak’s government targets asylum seekers to improve election chances

The Labour Party has embraced the news. Party leader Keir Starmer urged voters to turn the page in the upcoming election and give Labour the mandate “to rebuild Britain and change our country.”

However, Starmer’s leadership has been marred by its own controversial decisions. The party’s policies have taken a more centrist stance since Starmer became leader. Voices that have long supported peace and liberation, like former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, have been sidelined within the party.

Corbyn, who has represented the Islington North constituency for over 40 years, has been denied the support to stand as a Labour candidate. He is expected to run as an independent in the same constituency. On election day, he could end up facing journalist Paul Mason on Labour’s ballot ticket— a mind-blowing turn of events, given Mason’s extensive efforts to belittle Corbyn’s progressive initiatives over the past few years.

While a Labour victory under Starmer may not bring the same boost that one under Corbyn might have had, the opportunity to elect someone other than the Tories has given hope to many, including trade unions and their allies. Kate Dove from Momentum told Morning Star that the platform would work hard to drive the Tories out and replace them with trade union and socialist parliamentarians.

“The first priority is to kick Rishi Sunak out of Downing Street and elect a Labour Government instead,” Dove stated. “This must be just the first step to the comprehensive social and economic transformation the country is crying out for.”