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Sunak suggests UK general election in 2nd half of year

Rishi Sunak has said he is working towards a general election in the UK in the second half of the year after coming under pressure to call a vote soon.

The British prime minister said it is his “working assumption” that he would not be sending the public to the polls in the spring, as opposition figures have been talking up.

Mr Sunak dangled the prospect of future tax cuts to voters and attacked British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer’s green proposals as the two leaders set out their stalls at the start of the election year.

Labour has claimed that a spring vote is the “worst kept secret in parliament” in a possible ploy to claim Mr Sunak has bottled it if he goes longer.

The Liberal Democrats have also been calling for Mr Sunak to hold the vote in May rather than trying to “cling on” to power for the rest of the year.

But Mr Sunak said: “So my working assumption is we’ll have a general election in the second half of this year and in the meantime I’ve got lots that I want to get on with.”

2023 ‘wasn’t the easiest of years’ – Sunak

The Conservative leader declined to rule out a May election categorically but repeated his intentions to go for later in the year.

“I want to keep going, managing the economy well and cutting people’s taxes.

“But I also want to keep tackling illegal migration,” Mr Sunak said.

“So I’ve got lots to get on with and I’m determined to keep delivering for the British people.”

Mr Sunak conceeded that 2023 was challenging for the UK, but promised a “better year”.

He said: “Look, 2023, I’ll be honest, it wasn’t the easiest of years, for any of us, it wasn’t an easy year for our country.

“I’m going to tell you, I know that 2024 is going to be a better year, I want to make sure that all you believe 2024 is going to be a better year too.”

He said “lots was tricky”, including that the UK was still dealing with the legacy of Covid, the war in Ukraine and the conflict in Gaza.

He said he was confident of improvements because he is “making progress” on his five priorities, arguing the economy is outperforming expectations and that debt is “on track to be lower and falling”.

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