UK’s Sunak: Expect to Hold Election in Second Half of Year

London — British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Thursday he expected to call a national election in the second half of this year, all but ruling out an earlier vote in May.  

Sunak’s Conservatives are heavily trailing the main opposition Labour Party in the polls ahead of an election which must be held by early 2025. Opposition parties have called for the vote to be held as soon as possible.

“My working assumption is we will have a general election in the second half of this year, because in the meantime I have lots I want to get on with,” Sunak told reporters during a visit to central England.

“I want to keep going, managing the economy well and cutting people’s taxes … I’ve got lots to get on with.”

Sunak has struggled to make progress on key pledges he made exactly one year ago, including to stop small boats of migrants arriving on the south coast of England, to grow the economy and to cut hospital waiting lists, though he hit a target of halving inflation by the end of 2023.  

Sunak and finance minister Jeremy Hunt have said they can turn attention to cutting taxes now inflation is under control.

An announcement that a spring budget would be relatively early, on March 6, had fueled speculation that Sunak might opt for an election in May.

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