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‘It’s time to choose’: Rishi Sunak calls UK national election for July 4

Sunak, a former investment banker and finance minister, took office less than two years ago and has since struggled to define what he represents, increasingly frustrated that what he sees as his successes has not been appreciated.

Sunak has tried several times to turn around his party’s fortunes by recasting himself as a bold reformer, then as an effective technocrat and, more recently, as someone who will “stick to the plan” to gradually improve life in Britain, where millions of people are still struggling with the cost of living crisis.

Both parties have practically started the electoral campaign, with the lines of attack on the economy and defense already firmly drawn.

Sunak and his government accuse Labor of being prepared to raise taxes if it were in government and that the party would not be a safe hand for Britain in an increasingly dangerous world as it lacks a plan, accusations that opposition denies.

Labor accuses the 14-year government of economic mismanagement, leaving people worse off, with a series of chaotic administrations that have failed to provide the stability that businesses craved to stimulate economic growth.

If Labor, which is about 20 percentage points ahead of the Conservatives, wins the election, Britain, once known for its political stability, will have had six prime ministers in eight years for the first time since the 1830s.

Challenge

Despite Labor’s lead, some party officials are concerned that its lead is not as strong as it seems, and fear that many voters remain undecided. They also know the challenge: the party needs a record swing of votes to obtain a parliamentary majority.

The Labor Party has yet to complete the selection of all its parliamentary candidates, a party veteran has said.

Sunak could be hoping the first flights of the plan to send illegal asylum seekers to Rwanda can boost his party’s fortunes. The earliest possible date for those flights is June 24, 10 days before the election.

If they don’t take off, one Conservative lawmaker said, Sunak could then blame “left-wing lawyers”. REUTERS

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