Rishi Sunak has called a snap summer general election, with Britain set to go to the polls on July 4. 

The Tory leader's surprise announcement comes despite his party being 20 points behind in the polls. 

Speaking outside No 10, the Prime Minister said he would "fight for every vote".

Rumours about an imminent announcement had been swirling around Westminster all day following official figures showing inflation slowing to 2.3% in April, the lowest level since July 2021.

In his speech, Mr Sunak said the vote would be a choice for the British public on who they trusted with the economy

“This hard-earned economic stability was only ever meant to be the beginning, the question now is how and who do you trust to turn that foundation into a secure future for you, your family, and our country?

“Now is the moment for Britain to choose its future, to decide whether we want to build on the progress we have made or risk going back to square one with no plan and no certainty.

“Earlier today I spoke with His Majesty the King to request the dissolution of Parliament.

“The King has granted this request and we will have a general election on July 4.”

The Prime Minster's Downing Street address saw him battling with the weather, with torrential rain battering London.

The Herald: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivers his announcement to assembled press

As he spoke protesters on Whitehall played D:Ream's Things Can Only Get Better, the theme tune from Labour's 1997 general election campaign. 

Conservative peer and former party chairwoman Baroness Warsi tweeted a photograph of a drenched Mr Sunak, saying: “Drowned and out. Not good look to kick off a #GeneralElection campaign.”

In his speech, Mr Sunak hit out at Sir Keir Starmer, saying the Labour leader would always "take the easy way out and do anything to get power."

“I have to say, if he was happy to abandon all the promises he made to become Labour leader once he got the job, how can you know that he won’t do exactly the same thing if he were to become prime minister?

“If you don’t have the conviction to stick to anything you say, if you don’t have the courage to tell people what you want to do, and if you don’t have a plan, how can you possibly be trusted to lead our country, especially at this most uncertain of times?”

Mr Sunak ended his speech by saying only a Tory government with him in charge would ensure economic stability.

He said: “Over the next few weeks, I will fight for every vote.

“I will earn your trust and I will prove to you that only a Conservative government led by me will not put our hard-earned economic stability at risk, can restore pride and confidence in our country, and with a clear plan and bold action will deliver a secure future for you, your family and our United Kingdom.”

It will be the first July general election since 1945 and will take place when most Scottish schools are closed for the summer and thousands of families could be on holiday. 

Parliament will be prorogued on Friday 24 May with dissolution taking place on Thursday 30 May., giving MPs little more than a week for what's known as the "wash-up" to finish off work on any Bills making their way through the Commons and the Lords. 

Responding to the announcement of an election, Sir Keir said: “Tonight, the Prime Minister has finally announced the next General Election, a moment the country needs and has been waiting for and where, by the force of our democracy, power returns to you.

“A chance to change for the better your future, your community, your country.

“It will feel like a long campaign, I am sure of that, but no matter what else is said and done, that opportunity for change is what this election is about.”

He said the election would be voters’ opportunity to  “stop the chaos”.

"We can turn the page, we can start to rebuild Britain, and change our country," he added.

The Herald:

Taking to X, the First Minister said the election was a chance to “remove the Tory Government”.

John Swinney said: “I look forward to leading @theSNP in this election.

“This is the moment to remove the Tory Govt and put Scotland First by voting SNP.

“People in Scotland know we stand up for them and protect them from the damage done by Westminster.”

He said it was disrespectful for the election to be held during the Scottish summer holidays.

The leader of the Scottish Tories said his party was ready to “take the fight to the SNP".

"In key seats up and down Scotland, only the Scottish Conservatives can beat the SNP and get all of the attention on to voters’ top priorities, such as creating good jobs, reducing NHS waiting lists and investing in schools," he said.


Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said the people of the UK were “desperate for change”.

“After 14 years of Tory chaos and failure, this is an opportunity that we cannot afford to miss,” he said.

“Voting Scottish Labour means booting out this rotten Tory Government, maximising Scotland’s influence with Scottish Labour MPs in government and delivering the change that Scotland needs.

“It’s time for change and Labour is ready to deliver it," he added.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said the Tories and the SNP had "taken people for granted and made a mess of our country for too long."

"People have had enough, it’s time for change and Scottish Liberal Democrats are here for it," he added.


Alba Party leader Alex Salmond said his party were the only ones "seeking an independence mandate at each and every election and, with the SNP, Greens and Tories now all in substantial disarray, we are increasing our effort for this year’s Westminster poll."


Greens co-leader Lorna Slater said her party was standing a record number of candidates at the election. "With Scottish Greens in the room, people can be sure climate justice and social justice will always be on the table," she said.