Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, addressing journalists at Downing Street, officially denied rumours of postponing the next general elections to 2025. He emphasised that the elections will take place in 2024 (most likely in the fall), as originally planned. Thus, Mr. Sunak’s statement signalled the beginning of a political struggle with the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.
This decision was made at a critical moment for the Conservative Party, as recent polls showed a significant gap between the Conservatives and Labour (approximately 20 points). Now, Mr. Sunak has accepted the looming challenge from the opposition and Mr. Starmer, who managed to revive the party after its worst defeat since 1935 under Jeremy Corbyn. However, analysts warnthat such a decision could threaten a repeat of the 1997 elections. Back then, under the leadership of Tony Blair, Labour scored a decisive victory, securing 179 seats in Parliament.
Thus, leading sociologist Sir John Curtis painted a grim picture, predicting that the Conservatives could lose up to 220 of their 350 seats in the upcoming elections. Political scientists also emphasiseSunak’s inability to fulfil key promises made to the public, including addressing inflation, border security, stimulating economic growth, reducing waiting times in the National Health Service (NHS), and decreasing the national debt.
Inflation, although down from the beginning of the year, remains at 4.6%, more than twice the Bank of England’s target. Sunak’s promise to “stop the boats” failed, exacerbating internal Tory strife over a controversial plan for deportation to Rwanda, criticised by both right and left. Sir John Curtis stated that voters are primarily concerned about the state of the NHS and the declining quality of life. In his view, the government’s inability to address these issues will determine the direction of the political struggle.
So, the situation on the political landscape is heating up. By announcing the upcoming election campaign, Mr. Rishi Sunak has embarked on a challenging path of confrontation with the resurgent Labour Party. The next few months promise to be a decisive period for both parties.