When is the next UK general election? Rishi Sunak announces July 4 vote

When is the next UK general election? Rishi Sunak announces July 4 vote

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced that a general election will be held on July 4, 2024.

During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, he declined to rule out a snap summer election, saying “Spoiler alert there is going to be a general election in the second half of this year.”

He announced the election date outside Number 10 Downing Street on Wednesday evening.

Here’s what we know.

When is the next UK general election?

The next general election will take place on July 4, with Parliament to be dissolved at the end of May.

The maximum term for Parliament is five years. Given the current Parliament first met on December 17, 2019, Parliament would have automatically dissolved on December 17, 2024.

Under current rules — the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act 2022 — the latest date the UK can go to the polls is January 2025.

When was the last general election?

The last general election was on December 12, 2019. The Conservative Party won a large majority of 80 seats. This was a net gain of 48, on 43.6 per cent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for any party since the 1979 general election.

Boris Johnson, the then-prime minister, called the election after months of parliamentary deadlock that delayed Brexit.

Another general election was held in 2017 called by then-prime minister Theresa May. She had hoped to strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations.

When can a general election be held?

On March 24, 2022, the Government repealed the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, which had created five-year periods between elections and allowed earlier elections only in specific circumstances. The UK thus reverted to the prior situation, when the prime minister could ask the King to dissolve Parliament so a general election could be held.

When the act was repealed, the then-minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Ellis, said: “The Fixed-Term Parliaments Act was not fit for purpose, causing constitutional chaos in 2019 and delaying the Government acting on people’s priorities.

“At critical moments, we must trust the British public’s good judgement. Elections give the public a voice, and it’s right that we return to a tried-and-tested system that allows them to take place when needed.”

Why are elections held on a Thursday?

Every general election since 1931 has been held on a Thursday.

It was suggested that this would encourage more people to vote. It has been thought that elections on a Friday would have had lower turnouts given people’s desire to begin their weekends.

Saturday and Sunday were believed to have been ruled out given the need to pay extra for polling staff (typically local council employees) to work on weekends.