General election called for 4 July – and what it means for you

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has announced the date the country will go to the polls.

A sign on a lamp post which reads "Polling Station"
There was much speculation an announcement was coming. Photograph: Claudio Divizia

When the next general election will be held had long been a source of political speculation – and a sparring point between opposing sides of the House of Commons.

The Conservative Party is expected to sustain heavy losses in the election, with Labour claiming the public want a “fresh start” after “14 years of Tory misrule.” However, the country’s leading party will be hoping yesterday’s announcement that inflation – the rate at which prices increase – dropped to 2.3 per cent in April will boost their chances in the polls. Rishi Sunak made getting the economy back on track one of his five pledges when he took office.

When it came to light yesterday the prime minister had called ministers to Downing Street for a 4pm meeting, many started to question whether the long-awaited announcement would finally be made. We now know Britain will go to the polls on Thursday, 4 July 2024.

General Election 2024
Find your polling station, key dates, candidates, previous general election results, and more.

In Leicester, this will mean each of our three MPs will need to battle it out if they want to retain their seat for the next parliament. Leicester currently has two Labour MPs, Liz Kendall (Leicester West) and Jon Ashworth (Leicester South). Claudia Webbe (Leicester East), a former Labour MP, now sits as an independent after being convicted of one charge of harassment in October 2021.

In Leicestershire, there are six Conservative MPs – Edward Argar, Alberto Costa, Luke Evans, Jane Hunt, Alicia Kearns and Neil O’Brien. The seventh county seat is held by former Conservative – and briefly Reclaim – MP Andrew Bridgen who currently sits and will be running as an independent.

This election will see a shake-up of local seats, though. A new seat has been created in the county – Mid Leicestershire – while Alicia Kearn’s Rutland and Melton seat will be split. Rutland will move over the Lincolnshire border to join with Stamford, while Melton will join areas that currently belong to the Charnwood seat to form a newly named Melton and Syston constituency.

There have also been minor changes to Leicester West and Leicester South in the city.

Lasting around 10 minutes, the prime minister also used his speech to highlight the achievements of his government. He said he has given “record funding” to the NHS, improved children’s reading, put energy security over “environmental dogma” and increased defence spending.

He added immigration is coming down, and said he is “stopping the boats” with the Rwanda scheme. The next generation will also grow up “smoke-free”, he said.

The prime minister also accused the Labour Party of having “no plan”, warning the “future will be uncertain” under them. The prime minister said he will work to earn the trust of the country and prove the Conservative Party is the right choice for a secure future.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also addressed the public last night. He began his speech by highlighting the opportunity for change, stating that the Labour Party has transformed and returned to the service of working people. He said he is now “humbly” asking for the chance to return the country to working people.

Labour Party will “stop the chaos”, he continued, referencing sewage in the nation’s rivers, people “waiting on trolleys in A&E”, crime going “virtually unpunished” and bill having soared “through the roof.” Labour has “a long-term plan to rebuild Britain”, the leader of the opposition added. It is “ready to go”, “fully costed” and “fully funded”, he said.

“The future of the country is in your hands,” the Labour leader told the public. “On 4 July, you have a choice. And together we can stop the chaos, we can turn the page, we can start to rebuild Britain and change our country.”

General Election 2024
Find your polling station, key dates, candidates, previous general election results, and more.

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