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Monday, July 15, 2024

UK Parliament dissolved

All 650 seats in the House of Commons and the House of Lords will remain vacant until the vote on July 4

The British Parliament officially dissolved one minute after midnight on Thursday, ahead of the general election to be held in five weeks.

All 650 seats in the House of Commons and the House of Lords will remain vacant until the vote on July 4.

Read more: UK PM Sunak calls snap general election

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a surprise election last week, saying, “now is the moment for Britain to choose its future and decide whether it wants to build on the progress we have made or risk going back to square one and no certainty.”

Sunak, who has been leading the country since October 2022, singled out the drop in inflation and the country’s emergence from recession earlier this year as the main achievements of his cabinet. “Only a Conservative government led by me will not put our hard earned economic stability at risk,” he said.

Government sources told The Guardian that the prime minister was persuaded to press ahead with the vote because the economic situation is unlikely to improve in the coming months.

Read more: UK royal pledges not to buy any more fur

Analysts widely expect the Labour Party of Keir Starmer to defeat the Conservatives, who have been in power since 2010. The Tories have been trailing in opinion polls since late 2021.

According to the BBC’s poll tracker, if the election had been held on Wednesday, Labour would have won 46% of the vote, with the Conservatives receiving just 24%.

The announcement of a snap election by Sunak followed the worst local election defeat by the Tories in 40 years earlier in May. The vote resulted in the Conservatives losing 474 of their 985 council seats, while Labour picked up 186 and the Liberal Democrats 104.

The ruling party also faces an exodus of MPs, with 77 Tories saying they will not seek reelection amid slim chances of success on July 4.

Starmer promised voters that he will “stop the chaos” created by the Tories. If the Conservatives “get another five years, they will feel entitled to carry on exactly as they are. Nothing will change,” he warned.

Sunak and Starmer will be looking to score points against each other in the debates, which begin on Tuesday and will be broadcast live.

The upcoming vote will be the first general election in Britain in which voter identification will be required. A passport, driver’s license, or other ID with a photo will have to be shown in order to vote.