Now we know why he has rushed to announce the election. The Chief Whip was being swamped with ‘no confidence’ letters by Tory MP’s who lacked faith in his leadership.

This revelation has come from the Chief Political Editor of BBC Newsnight.

In 1997, Labour assured us that “Things Can Only Get Better” before Tony Blair secured a sweeping victory in the general election. He then took us into a war that the world is still being eaten up by two decades later.

This year, Rishi Sunak seems to have concluded that the Tories won’t see any improvement if he postpones an election until the autumn. His rush to the polls on 4th July suggests that a prime minister known for caution and a fixation on spreadsheets is actually taking a gamble. However, this gamble has been precipitated by many of his Tory MP’s deciding they had had enough of him. Calling a general election when his party consistently lags behind Labour by 20 points in the polls appears either brave or reckless, depending on perspective. If he succeeds, however, it would mark the Tories’ most unexpected election triumph since John Major secured a 21-seat majority in 1992.

Mr. Sunak and Mr. Major share some similarities. Both served as chancellor of the exchequer before becoming PM, and both have been criticised for being somewhat dull. But by choosing a summer election over one in the autumn, the typically cautious Mr. Sunak is taking risks on several fronts, particularly the economy, immigration, and his “stop the boats” Rwanda policy.

Regarding the economy, just hours before Mr. Sunak’s surprising announcement, he informed MPs during Prime Minister’s Questions that inflation was “back to normal” and “the plan is working.” While inflation has indeed dropped to its lowest level in nearly three years, the decrease from 3.2% to 2.3% fell short of government expectations. The likelihood of a June interest rate cut has diminished, and Mr. Sunak’s pledge to reduce income tax from 20p to 19p per pound by the general election seems to have vanished.

After his Budget in March, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt optimistically stated that his 2p national insurance cut was not the final move before the election. With a general election in October or November, which Mr. Hunt favoured, another mini-Budget was anticipated in September, potentially including the promised income tax cut. However, with the snap election on 4th July, the Conservatives can now only promise tax cuts post-election if they return to Downing Street.

On immigration, the situation is mixed. Nearly 10,000 migrants have already crossed the Channel in small boats this year, a record number likely to increase in the better summer weather. Thus far, the threat of deportation to Rwanda hasn’t deterred migrants as hoped, but this may change once flights commence next month.

One advantage for Mr. Sunak in a snap poll is that while Labour is prepared, Reform UK is far from ready. This is also something to consider alongside the dozens of Brutus with their knives sharpened as something his advisers have proposed.

The last July general election was in 1945, on 5th July, when Labour’s Clement Attlee defeated Winston Churchill with a 147-seat majority. Margaret Thatcher preferred June elections, opting for 9th June in 1983, resulting in a 144-seat majority, and 11th June in 1987, with a 102-seat majority over Neil Kinnock’s Labour.

However, a July election raises concerns. Scots may object as it falls during their school holidays, which begin on 28th June and end on 16th August. Additionally, it clashes with the sporting calendar, including the Euros and Wimbledon.

Could the general election overshadow football fever? Is Mr. Sunak anticipating less election coverage? Or are the Conservatives’ electoral prospects relying on Gareth Southgate and his team? Mr. Sunak, a football enthusiast, may hope that a successful run by Harry Kane and the England team in the Euros creates a positive atmosphere that benefits his campaign.

According to political lore, Harold Wilson attributed his defeat by Edward Heath in the 1970 general election to England’s World Cup quarter-final loss to West Germany four days earlier. So while Mr. Sunak may not believe that things can only improve for the Tories between July and autumn, he’ll be banking on England’s footballers to improve his chances by 4th July.

The Opposition Respond

Keir Starmer has stated that the “opportunity for change” will define the general election on 4th July.

The Labour leader described Rishi Sunak’s announcement as a “moment the country needs and has been waiting for”. Speaking in central London, Starmer reiterated the six “first steps” for government he outlined last week and added: “It will feel like a long campaign… but no matter what else is said and done, that opportunity for change is what this election is about.” He declared: “It is time for change.”

His remarks came shortly after Rishi Sunak ended months of speculation about the timing of the general election and confirmed it would take place on 4th July. In a statement outside Downing Street in the pouring rain, the Prime Minister said he had met with 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,” Mr Sunak said.

The Prime Minister criticised Mr Starmer – who, according to polls, is on course to succeed him in Downing Street, saying he has shown “time and time again that he will take the easy way out and do anything to get power.”. Referring to the now-abandoned pledges Starmer made to Labour members in his bid to succeed Mr. Corbyn, Mr. Sunak said: “He was happy to abandon all the promises he made to become Labour leader once he got the job, how can you know that he won’t do exactly the same thing if he were to become prime minister?”

Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, urged voters to “kick this appalling Conservative government out of office.”. “For years, the Conservative Party has taken voters for granted and lurched from crisis to crisis while the problems facing the country are getting so much worse,” he said. “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. All because this Conservative government is more interested in fighting between themselves than standing up for the needs of the country.”

A party spokesperson said Mr Davey was “on his way now to Michael Gove’s true blue Surrey seat.”.

John Swinney, the newly appointed leader of the SNP, 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.”

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