UK Elections 2024: All You Need to Know
UK Elections 2024: All You Need to Know

Britain is set to hold a general election this summer, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak aiming to extend his party’s 14-year tenure in power, despite the Labour Party's significant 20-point lead in opinion polls as the campaign begins.

Sunak announced the election from Downing Street late on Wednesday, following discussions with King Charles III to seek permission for the country to go to the polls on July 4. This marks the fourth general election called by a Conservative prime minister since David Cameron took office in 2010.

The House of Commons will be dissolved on May 30, paving the way for the public to vote on the earliest possible date for a general election in the latter half of 2024. In his announcement, Sunak defended his administration's record, emphasizing that re-electing his party would ensure a secure future for Britain.

Early Elections Called: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has set the UK's next general election for July 4, several months ahead of the expected date. He had until December to call the election, which could have taken place as late as January 28, 2025.

Why Early Elections? The timing is seen as a strategic move to benefit the Conservative Party. Initially, economic factors expected to improve by autumn were thought to be advantageous, according to the Institute for Government. However, recent economic news, including a drop in inflation to 2.3 percent, changed this strategy.

How UK Elections Work: Voters across the UK will elect all 650 members of the House of Commons for a five-year term. The party with a majority in the Commons, either alone or in coalition, will form the next government, with its leader becoming prime minister.

Key Candidates: Prime Minister Sunak, in office since October 2022, will lead the Conservative Party. Keir Starmer, Labour Party leader since April 2020 and former Director of Public Prosecutions, will be his main opponent. Other significant parties include the Scottish National Party, Liberal Democrats, and Democratic Unionist Party. The new Reform Party, formed by former Conservatives, may also impact the results.

UK Elections: Major Issues Explained

Economy: Britain faces high inflation and slow growth, which has left many feeling financially strained. While the Conservatives have halved inflation from its peak of 11.1 percent in October 2022, the economy slipped into a technical recession in late 2023, raising doubts about the effectiveness of their policies.

Immigration: The issue of asylum seekers and economic migrants crossing the English Channel has raised concerns about border control. The Conservative plan to deport some migrants to Rwanda has been criticized as inhumane and ineffective.

Healthcare: The NHS is struggling with long waiting lists and service delays, causing widespread frustration over healthcare delivery.

Environment: Sunak's government has postponed environmental commitments, such as ending sales of petrol and diesel vehicles and approving new North Sea oil drilling. Critics argue these decisions undermine efforts to combat climate change.

The UK's upcoming elections are set to be a critical moment in the nation's political landscape, with voters weighing these key issues as they decide the future direction of the country.

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