British PM Rishi Sunak calls snap general election for July 4

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a national election on Wednesday, naming July 4 as the date for a vote his governing Conservatives are widely expected to lose to the opposition Labour Party after 14 years in power.

Ending months of speculation as to when he would call a new poll, Sunak, 44, stood outside his Downing Street office and announced he was calling the election earlier than some had expected, a risky strategy with his party behind in the polls.

“Now is the moment for Britain to choose its future,” he said, listing what he considers to be the highlights of his time in government, including the introduction of the so-called furlough scheme that helped businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. “We will have a general election on July 4.”

Sunak heads into the election not only far behind the Labour Party in the polls but also somewhat isolated from some in his party, increasingly dependent on a small team of advisers to steer him through what is set to be an ugly campaign.

But he seems to have decided with some economic gains, such as inflation falling and the economy growing at its fastest pace in almost three years, now was the time to take a risk and present his agenda for a new term formally to voters.

Labour said before the announcement it was more than ready for an election.

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