Starting gun fired on July general election

The country will go to the polls on Thursday, 4th July, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Rishi Sunak at the Conservative Party campaign launch at the Excel Centre
Rishi Sunak at the Conservative Party campaign launch at the Excel Centre

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak vowed to “fight every day” for voters’ trust as he held his first general election rally at East London’s Excel Centre.

Joined by most of his cabinet of ministers and about a hundred party members, the PM used it as an opportunity to stress that the Tories are still in with a fighting chance of winning the election.

“Labour want you to think this election is over before it’s even begun,” he said. “But we are going to fight. We are going to fight every day for our values and our vision.”

Labour currently have an average opinion poll lead over the Conservatives of more than 20 points.

In Enfield, the borough’s three Labour MPs – Bambos Charalambous, Feryal Clark and Kate Osamor – will all be defending their seats, albeit with newly named constituencies in the case of Southgate and Wood Green, formerly Enfield Southgate, and Edmonton and Winchmore Hill, formerly just Edmonton. Enfield North’s boundaries are also changing to encompass Ponders End.

Last night Sunak claimed that “in every way, Labour would make our country less secure”, while arguing that his party have “a clear plan, with bold action, to secure our future”.

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He also emphasised that the UK was on a positive trajectory economically, saying: “Wages have been rising faster than prices for ten months now. The economy has turned a corner. Friends, our plan is working.”

The PM was introduced on stage by Home Secretary James Cleverly, who referred to the news today that inflation, in the year to April, dropped to 2.3%, down from 3.2% in March, and almost reaching the government’s target of 2%.

“Today, we have fantastic economic figures,” said Cleverly. “Inflation is now back where it should be… Not by accident, but because of choices.”

In a nod to the war in Ukraine and conflict in the Middle East, he added: “In a time of turbulence, when there is danger across the globe… We need a leader at the head of a government who is willing to make the right choices.”

The rally was held after Sunak revealed earlier on Wednesday (22nd) that he had asked King Charles to dissolve Parliament on 30th May. This was granted, he said, meaning a general election will take place on Thursday, 4th July.

Speaking in the rain on Downing Street, Sunak had said he was proud of what his government had achieved.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer later said that it was “time for change” and that his party will “return Britain to the service of working people”.

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