UK General Election on July 4: PM Rishi Sunak Faces Voters for the First Time as Leader

General elections in the UK will be held on July 4. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced this on Wednesday night from 10 Downing Street in London. He stated that it is now time for Britain to choose its future. After informing King Charles III about the election timeline, Parliament will soon be dissolved, and the election process will commence thereafter.

First Election for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

This will be the first time Rishi Sunak faces voters as Prime Minister. The ruling Conservative Party did not announce a prime ministerial candidate before the 2022 election. After the election, the party’s parliamentary group elected Sunak as their leader. Sunak became PM after receiving support from nearly 200 MPs.

Rishi Sunak: The First Prime Minister of Indian Descent

Rishi Sunak, 44, is the first Prime Minister of Indian descent in the UK. He took charge in October 2022. The next general election was expected in January 2025. Sunak had until December to announce the election but chose to do so seven months earlier.

Prime Minister’s Power to Set Election Dates

After the Fixed-term Parliaments Act was repealed in 2022, the Prime Minister gained the authority to set the election date. The Prime Minister decides the election date considering the most advantageous time for their party.

Understanding the Election Process in the UK

Similar to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in India, the UK has two houses: the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The House of Lords has no role in selecting the Prime Minister or the government.

Members of the House of Commons have the right to choose the Prime Minister. There are 650 members in the House of Commons, meaning there are 650 constituencies in the UK. One candidate wins from each constituency and becomes a member of the House of Commons.

To form a government, any party needs to win 326 seats. If no party achieves a majority, multiple parties can form a coalition government. The Conservative Party has been in power in the UK for the last 14 years.

Sunak to Face Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer

The main competition in the British elections is between the Conservative Party and the Labour Party. Sunak could be the Conservative Party’s face for PM. Opposing him will be Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer. Starmer is a former Director of Public Prosecutions in England and has been the Labour Party leader since April 2020.

Many opinion polls show the Labour Party significantly ahead of Sunak’s Conservative Party. However, besides the Conservatives and Labour, the Scottish National Party, Liberal Democrats, and Democratic Unionist Party are the three other major parties in the UK.

Some MPs Against Sunak

A source from Britain’s ruling Conservative Party told the BBC that some MPs within the party are calling for a vote of no confidence against Rishi Sunak. One MP described the current atmosphere within the party as one of ‘panic.’

In a March Ipsos poll, Sunak received a rating of 38, the worst rating. In April, a YouGov poll suggested that the Conservative Party would win only 155 seats in the next elections, compared to 365 seats won in 2019 under former PM Boris Johnson’s leadership. This time, the opposition Labour Party claims it will secure 403 seats.

Conservative Party Lost 10 By-Elections Since 2019

In the 2019 general election, then-PM Boris Johnson secured a majority for the party, but since then, the party has lost more than 10 by-elections within a single term. About three months ago, the losses in two seats, Wellingborough and Kingswood, have caused concern among Conservative MPs.

A by-election was held in Wallingford after Conservative MP Peter Bone was removed. Here, Labour Party MP Jane Kitchen received 45.8% of the vote, 28.5% more than the last time. This seat had been held by the Conservative Party since 2005. A similar situation occurred in Kingswood, where the Labour Party received 44.9% of the vote, 16.4% more than the last time. This seat had been held by the Conservative Party since 2010.

Who Is Rishi Sunak?

  • Rishi Sunak was born on May 12, 1980, in Hampshire, Britain.
  • His parents were from Punjab and settled abroad.
  • His mother is a pharmacist working in the National Health Service (NHS). His father graduated from Oxford University and Stanford University.
  • Rishi earned an MBA from Stanford University in the USA. He then studied politics, philosophy, and economics at Oxford University.
  • Before entering politics, Rishi worked at the investment bank Goldman Sachs and in hedge funds. He later established an investment firm.
  • In August 2009, Rishi married Akshata Murthy, daughter of Narayana Murthy, co-founder of the Indian software company Infosys.
  • The couple has two daughters – Krishna (born 2011) and Anoushka (born 2013).

A Glance at His Political Journey

Rishi Sunak was first elected as an MP in 2015. In 2018, he joined the local government as a minister. In 2019, he was made the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. He played a significant role in PM Boris Johnson’s election campaign. On many occasions, Rishi represented Boris in TV debates.

In 2022, Sunak became Britain’s youngest Prime Minister. His predecessor was Liz Truss, whose term lasted only 49 days. Sunak was the Chancellor of the Exchequer in Liz’s government. The Conservative Party often puts Sunak forward for any media interviews.

Niyati Rao

Niyati Rao is a seasoned writer and avid consumer who specializes in crafting informative and engaging articles and product reviews. With a passion for research and a knack for finding the best deals, Niyati enjoys helping readers make informed decisions about their purchases.