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UK general election set for July 4

LONDON: A UK general election is set for July 4, British media reported on Wednesday, citing sources, as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met with his top ministers.

Political editors from the BBC, ITV, Sky News, and The Guardian all indicated that Sunak would announce the date in a Downing Street statement following the cabinet meeting.

The poll will mark the first time Sunak, 44, faces the public as Prime Minister, following his appointment as leader of the largest party in parliament through an internal Conservative vote in October 2022.

The vote – the third since the Brexit referendum in 2016 – comes as Sunak seeks to leverage improved economic data to appeal to voters impacted by rising living costs.

Halving inflation within a year from historic highs above 11.0 percent at the end of 2022 was one of the former financier’s five key pledges.

That milestone was reached last year, and on Wednesday, rates slowed to a near three-year low of 2.3 percent in March, prompting finance minister Jeremy Hunt to declare: “This is proof that the plan is working.”

Political commentators have increasingly speculated that Sunak, who is significantly trailing in the polls against the main opposition Labour Party, might seek to benefit from the healthier economic outlook.

However, critics argue that the improvement is more attributable to changes in the global economy than to government policies.

Sunak has previously deflected all efforts to set a date, stating only that he would hold the election in the second half of this year.

Speculation intensified after Sunak and his top officials on Wednesday refused to deny new talk of an impending election announcement based on the positive data.

Rumours escalated when Foreign Secretary David Cameron was recalled from a trip to Albania and Defence Secretary Grant Shapps postponed a trip to Eastern Europe to attend the Cabinet meeting.

Hunt also cancelled a scheduled television interview for Wednesday evening, ITV’s political editor reported, as journalists, photographers, and camera crews gathered at Downing Street.



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