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Why Sunak's Call for a Snap General Election May Be His Most Manipulative Move Yet

With a U.K. General Election Scheduled for July 4, Prime Minster Rishi Sunak's Choice of Date May Cripple The Opposition.

Article Written by Jett James Pruitt

On May 22, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak surprised nearly everyone in government by announcing the general election will take place in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland on July 4, 2024. Political pundits were shocked by his announcement as they expected the Prime Minster to set the election date in the fall.


Speaking outside 10 Downing Street in the pouring rain, Sunak declared “Now is the moment for Britain to choose its future” as he articulated the case for the Conservative Party to remain in power.


Among other things, he defended his ministry’s efforts to restore economic stability in the aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic, provide military support for Ukraine in its ongoing war against Russia, and maintain British national security amid geopolitical tensions throughout the Middle East.

While he conceded “I cannot, and will not, claim that we have got everything right,” the Prime Minister asserted he was nevertheless “Proud of what we have achieved together.”


Despite Sunak’s optimism, however, most pollsters and political analysts are almost certain the Conservative Party will lose its 14-year grip on Westminster. As of this writing, the Labour Party (the most prominent opposition party in Parliament) is well ahead of the Conservatives in virtually every national poll.


A May 30th survey conducted by Techne UK shows Labour receiving 45 percent support and the Conservatives capturing a mere 21 percent on July 4. Meanwhile, Reform UK and the Liberal Democrats are tied as the third most popular political parties, with each earning roughly 12 percent support.


Absent any significant shift in polling, the end of Tory government is near... Or is it?

UK Labour Party Leader, Keir Starmer

In his first official speech of the general election campaign, Opposition Leader Keir Starmer assured voters they can trust the Labour Party to address the country’s persistent cost-of-living crisis and promote sustainable economic development.


Notably, his campaign calls for the establishment of a publicly-owned clean power company called ‘Great British Energy’ to reduce utility bills for consumers and facilitate investment in green transportation. Under this framework, he asserted the Labour Party is the most suited faction to secure Britain’s future, stating: “The very foundation of any good government is economic security, border security, national security... This is the foundation, the bedrock that our manifesto and our first steps, will be built upon.”


Starmer’s promise of greater political stability may indeed be the winning message of this election, especially against the backdrop of challenges faced by the Sunak Ministry. Over the past several years, the United Kingdom has suffered from soaring inflation rates and economic stagnation, with the first quarter of 2024 posting only 0.6 percent growth.


This meager economic growth followed a short-lived, although acute, recession in the second half of 2023. Furthermore, real wages among both public and private sector workers have stagnated for more than a decade, and roughly 7.5 million patients are waiting to receive treatment from the National Health Service (NHS).


While waiting lists are expected to dip below 6 million by the end of 2024 and to a 10-year low by the end of 2025, many voters are nonetheless disgruntled at the slow progress of NHS efficacy. Understandably, many voters are ready for change.


Despite this, Sunak is not abandoning ship and accepting a full defeat. While there are a variety of explanations as to why the Prime Minister announced an election on such short notice, it appears he may be employing a meticulously-planned ‘exit strategy’ to minimize electoral losses for the Conservative Party, and lay the groundwork for a political comeback within the next five years.

This strategy revolves around one central premise: cripple the opposition by reducing the time they have to mount a solid campaign.

First, Sunak strategically set the election for July 4 in order to prevent the Labour Party from drafting a comprehensive manifesto articulating their platform. As shared by TLDR News, Labour Party leaders were expecting an election closer to the end of the year, rather than in the summer.


At the time of this writing, the Labour Party has not finished writing their manifesto, thus leaving many of their policy goals ambiguous to British voters.


While Labour recently announced it will publish the manifesto ahead of the July 4 election, Sunak’s last-minute announcement has effectively eaten into the party’s ability to win over undecided voters.


To further complicate matters, the communication vacuum as a result of the surprise announcement has led to the resurgence of the Workers Party of Britain (WPB), a populist left-wing party that is seen as a ‘spoiler’ for Labour.


Led by MP George Galloway, the WPB is unique within the realm of international politics for promoting socialist economic policies while simultaneously embracing social conservatism. As such, the party garners the support of many voters who want further government intervention in the British economy, but are dismayed with the Labour Party’s stance on sensitive issues such as the Israel-Hamas War.

WPB Party Leader, George Galloway

Speaking in London at the launch of his campaign, Galloway lambasted both the Conservative and Labour Parties, asserting:


“I could not tell you which is the lesser of the two evils — Keir Starmer or Rishi Sunak . . . They are indistinguishable on everything that matters — whether it’s the economy, whether it’s society. This is Blair vs. Blair this election campaign.”


In short, Galloway’s hard-hitting rhetoric may ultimately win over a considerable portion of the electorate, thus blunting Labour’s newfound momentum. This is especially a risk considering the WPB has already published their manifesto, whereas Labour has yet to do so.


Aside from negatively impacting the Labour Party, Sunak’s abrupt announcement also eviscerates support for Reform UK, a right-wing populist party headed by firebrand politicians Nigel Farage and Richard Tice.


In short, Reform UK is viewed as a major threat to the electoral prospects of the Conservative Party, as it attracts many Eurosceptic voters who have become disgruntled with Sunak’s migration policies.


At first, the May 22 announcement completely took Reform by surprise, as there was not enough time for the party to mobilize support or collect enough signatures to remain politically viable. However, Farage announced on June 3 that he will indeed stand as a candidate for the general election, and assume full leadership of the party.

Reform UK Party Leader, Nigel Farage

Nevertheless, this election may spell the end of the Reform Party, especially considering it only has one MP in the House Commons, one member of the London Assembly, and very few local councillors across the country.


Writing for The Telegraph, journalist James Johnson plainly observes “Support for the right-wing challenger has imploded. This election is, and always will be, a two-horse race.”


Finally, scheduling the election in July allows the Conservative Party to trade space for time. Currently, there are no indications that the British economy will improve, as inflation remains high and a reduction in interest rates for potential homeowners is beginning to seem unlikely.

With this in mind, Sunak may have postulated that if there is a sudden economic downturn or conditions remain stagnant while Labour is in power, the Conservative Party can ultimately convince the public in the next general election that his party, not Labour, can guarantee economic stability.

In effect, Sunak may have thought he could win back young and independent voters and consolidate Tory dominance within national politics over the next 5-10 years.

Nevertheless, from an American perspective, it appears Sunak was much more shrewd, strategic, and perhaps manipulative, in his ‘surprise’ announcement than most people may realize.

For context, the United Kingdom is a parliamentary republic, or a system of government in which the leader of the party with the largest share of seats in a national legislature becomes the country’s head of government. The July 4 Election will determine the political composition of the House of Commons, and therefore who will become Prime Minister.


Voters will elect all 650 MPs via a first-past-the-post electoral system. A party must win at least 326 seats to form a majority. A hung parliament is a situation in which no political party reaches this threshold. If this were to occur, two or more parties must then form a coalition in order to officially form a government.


Either way, this American will be spending his country's Independence Day glued to watching UK election returns on BBC News.

What are your thoughts? Please share this article with your comments.

Jett James Pruitt is a Native American, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of the bestselling book THROUGH THE EYES OF A YOUNG AMERICAN. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of, and a political strategist specializing in Generation Z voting trends. His next book, THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE: What America's Political Parties Must Do To Win Over Generation Z, is due in major bookstores worldwide later this summer.



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