Speculation is rife that the long-awaited announcement of a general election is imminent.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is believed to have been locked in talks with his deputy, Oliver Dowden, with the possibility of a summer ballot.

While nothing has officially been announced, there are plenty of signs pointing to a big announcement later today.

Here's what we know so far.

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Why is there speculation?

Mr Sunak has been saying for months that there will be a general election in the second half of this year.

The latest he could possibly hold one is January of 2025, but he's made clear it will be this year.

There have been rumours of snap elections at other times this year, always swiftly denied by Number 10. There have been no such denials this time.

What has the Prime Minister said?

Mr Sunak was asked the question directly by the SNP's Westminster leader Stephen Flynn, and didn't rule anything out.

He just repeated his "second half of the year" line.

So what's making people think he's going to announce it today?

Well, there's the fact no-one is denying it for a start.

There's also been a cabinet meeting called for 4.15pm today, and it seems like it's a pretty important one.

The foreign secretary, David Cameron, is flying back from a trip to Albania early - which is awkward as they've given him quite the welcome.

Defence secretary Grant Shapps has also delayed a foreign trip, while chancellor Jeremy Hunt has cancelled an appearance on ITV's Peston None of these things indicates a regular cabinet meeting.

When will we get an announcement?

So far we don't even know there will be an announcement. However, there is going to be a statement from the PM at 5pm.

When will the election be?

Again, we don't know for sure there's even going to be one - but the smart money seems to be on July 4.

That is technically the second half of the year, and that would allow the six week campaign period to begin immediately.

July 4 will also be right in the middle of the school holidays, not to mention Euro 2024, which could contribute to a lower turnout. With the Tories so low in the polls, that's probably something they'd be keen on.

What happens if Mr Sunak does call the election?

The first thing that'll need to happen is the cancellation of next week's parliamentary recess: parliament would have to dissolve a week tomorrow.

There will then be a six week campaign before the vote, assuming it's announced for July 4.

Who is likely to win the election?

All the polls point to a crushing Labour win and a huge majority for Keir Starmer.

However, things can chance once the campaigning starts.