AA Edit | Sunak rolls the poll dice

The Asian Age.

Opinion, Edit

Facing steep odds, Sunak's Tories call for early polls amid Labour Party dominance and mounting crises

Britain's Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Rishi Sunak holds a Q&A with staff at a distribution centre in Ilkeston in the East Midlands on May 23, 2024 as part of a campaign event ahead of a general election on July 4. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / POOL / AFP)

In a rash throw of the electoral dice, UK’s Tory Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called for snap general elections on July 4, months before the term of Parliament is to end in January 2025. Poll pundits give the Tories no chance though their rivals are denied an extended campaign to drive home in an end game built on a history of Tory misgovernance.

Mr Sunak, the country’s first Hindu PM, who held a fractious Conservative Party and its government together for a year and a half since October 2022 after his predecessor Ms Liz Truss lasted only 44 days at 10 Downing Street, is betting on falling inflation figures, an economy seemingly on the mend and a quick flight to Rwanda filled with deported asylum seekers giving him a better chance in the summer than later.

Trailing their main rivals, the Labour Party under Mr Keir Starmer, by 25 points, Mr Sunak’s party is facing a doomsday scenario after having held power for 14 years through a divisive 2016 Brexit campaign, the Covid pandemic, a self-inflicted government crisis with leaders enjoying social gatherings while flouting isolation guidelines that were binding on all ordinary British people and a cost-of-living crisis that still has the UK in its grip.

The Tories may be guilty of misreading the party-wise polling percentage figures from recent local elections and a bypoll into imagining a split Parliament was not impossible. Mr Sunak & Co may need a reminder that voting in general elections is rarely indistinct in the choice of a majority party to lead as they were in 2010 when the Tories fortunately came back through a coalition on downing Gordon Brown-led Labour that had been in power for 13 years.

Mr Starmer leads a more cohesive Labour Party though it suffered a typographical gaffe even as the poll dates were being announced. The party has put the saga of a Left-leaning leader in Jeremy Corbyn behind and appears confident in taking over the reins of a country plagued by pallid economic growth and in danger of going under to an unmanageable migrant crisis and a faltering health system in the NHS at a place in time far removed from the days of colonial glory that led to the saying about a British Empire on which the sun never set.