General Election called for 4th July

The Westminster rumour mill starting whirling furiously earlier in the day, with Senior Cabinet members pulling out of scheduled media interviews left, right and centre and Foreign Secretary David Cameron summoned home from Albania for talks this afternoon at Number 10. The SNP’s Westminster leader Stephen Flynn sought to nail down the Tory leader on the question at PMQs at lunchtime and Sunak’s answer was as revealing as it was cryptic. On the steps of Downing Street, in the rain, just after 5pm, Rishi Sunak put speculation to bed and pulled the trigger.

Things can only get better?

The Prime Minister began his remarks by reminding voters about his role as the Pandemic Chancellor, steering the UK through its toughest years. He knows his best card is to prove the Conservatives can be trusted on the economy, but no sooner had he started his monologue on economic stability and getting a grip on inflation rates than he was drowned out by a protestor blasting D:Ream’s song ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ around Whitehall, famously the theme tune to New Labour’s rise to power in 1997.

Rishi Sunak let slip an exasperated smirk. He responded to the tumult with some of his own party’s greatest hits. Who can you really trust on public finances? With war raging in Eastern Europe we need strong government on the right to deliver security at home. With conflict raging in the Middle East, only the Conservatives have presence on the global stage.

The PM couldn’t help but take a few pop shots at the pretender to the throne either: Keir Starmer will do anything to get into power and only a litany of broken policy promises to show for themselves. In short, he concluded that Labour don’t know what they stand for and neither do the voting public.

As the rain continued to beat down on Downing Street, Rishi Sunak’s sodden jacket proved an obvious metaphor for an increasingly washed out government.

Are Labour ready?

It would seem so. Within seconds of the announcement they had published a very slick looking campaign video proclaiming themselves up for the cup.

Labour will be feeling pretty confident about their chances, with a commanding lead in all recent opinion polls. However, the party will be determined to avoid looking complacent. A six week election frenzy can throw up a great number of challenges that didn’t exist in political peacetime.

Just this week the Labour Party has sought to tighten up its policy platform with key pledges on the economy, NHS, energy, immigration, antisocial behaviour and education. That said, they’ve long been looking nervous about not squandering their lead.

Keir Starmer, does not cut the convincing, charismatic figure of Tony Blair circa 1997, but perhaps he doesn’t need to. Boring has its appeal after a volatile period for our politics. His personal approval ratings are still in negative territory, but way ahead of Sunak’s and have seen improvement over recent weeks.

What about Scotland?

The new-look Scottish Government leadership will be fuming that their chance at a reset and a bounce in the polls has been thwarted by events.

While it is generally felt that John Swinney and Kate Forbes at the helm will prove more effective in stemming SNP losses to Labour in Scotland, it means they have even less time to turn the ship around. In a UK election context, where the media story is Labour’s rise and Conservative decline, it will prove hard to cut through when a refreshed government outlook isn’t yet understood in political circles, never mind among the voters.

That said, while Anas Sarwar will benefit from momentum on the side of Labour UK-wide, he will face challenges in terms of expectation management and on key policy issues which will prove his greatest test yet as Scottish Labour leader. As with any election, it is unlikely to be completely plain sailing.


  • Polling day will be Thursday 4 July
  • The UK Parliament will be dissolved on Thursday 30 May.
  • The expectation is for next week to be a ‘wash up’ period to take place to deal with the outstanding legislation: ( 16 Govt Bills, 2 Hybrid Bills and 10 Commons Private Members’ Bills)
  • The Commons was due to be on Whitsun recess from 23 May – 3 June but this is now cancelled.


  • Friday 24 May — Parliament prorogued
  • Thursday 30 May — Dissolution
  • Thursday 4 July — Polling Day
  • Tuesday 9 July — First Meeting of new Parliament / Election of a Speaker / Swearing in of new MPs
  • Wednesday 17 July — State Opening of Parliament

For more True North news and insight click here 

Fergus Mutch

Managing Partner

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