UK to vote on 4 July: why the hurry?

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called a general election for 4 July even though he could have delayed it until January 2025. Sunak said on Wednesday that the British people must decide: 'Who do you trust?' Commentators discuss why the prime minister has decided to hold the election now - despite abysmal poll ratings - and whether the Tories still stand a chance of winning.

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The Guardian (GB) /

Conservatives have long since lost their mandate

The move is long overdue, The Guardian applauds:

“The prime minister's decision to set a date ... is driven not by confidence in a record to celebrate, but by a recognition that procrastination had become untenable. The Conservative party, exhausted and riven by factional feuding, has become ungovernable, leaving the country feeling ungoverned. The moment to ask the electorate whether they want to renew the Tories' operating licence in power is overdue. Mr Sunak's mandate was already threadbare when he received it as a hand-me-down from Liz Truss. ... On Wednesday, Mr Sunak could not present his party's prospectus for a fifth term as anything other than more of the same, only warn that the risk of change is too great.”

Kleine Zeitung (AT) /

Grabbing the bull by the horns

The British prime minister seems to just want to get the inevitable over with as quickly as possible, writes the Kleine Zeitung:

“Sunak is grabbing the bull by the horns - whether a future as prime minister still awaits him on the other side is another question. The Conservatives suffered a debacle in the recent local elections and their poll ratings are at a permanent record low. The fact that inflation has recently fallen somewhat is likely to have encouraged Sunak to take this decision, and he is hoping that the people of Great Britain are feeling slightly relieved and appreciative. ... Sunak comes across as someone who no longer has much to lose. The people perhaps feel the same way and are just waiting to give him a thrashing at the ballot box.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Anything but the Tories

Rzeczpospolita sees Labour on the upswing:

“Starmer is no Blair. He lacks the vision and charisma of New Labour's founder. Nor does he promise a revolution. There is no talk of Britain returning to the EU or even to the single market according to the Norwegian model. Nor is it entirely clear where the British left would find the money to improve the country's infrastructure (especially transport) or its health service. However, the fatigue with the Conservatives is so great that many Brits would prefer to vote for anything but the status quo.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Hopes of a return to the EU

Dagens Nyheter expects Labour to bring a change of stance:

“Keir Starmer is a centrist and a pro-European - even if he avoids giving the impression that he wants to reverse Brexit. To be fair, a British re-entry is probably still a generation away. But if the next prime minister were to reach out to the EU, it would be a win-win for everyone. A new trade deal would boost the UK economy. And stronger cooperation on security is needed to deal with Russia. The British have been written off before, but they've always come back. Hopefully they'll do it again - also to Europe.”