Early legislative elections in the United Kingdom: Labor in the majority again?

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In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak created a surprise by announcing that general elections would be held on July 4. If the rumor of an early vote had been circulating in the corridors of Westminster for some time, the scenario of a summer election seemed until now unlikely.

After fourteen years of government marked by Brexit, inflation and the decline in public services, the Conservative Party is struggling in the polls, well ahead of Labor. The Tories now have only three months to reverse the trend. Opposite, the Labor Party and its leader Keir Starmer are dreaming of a return to power… What should we expect from these early elections? Can they save the Conservatives “in extremis”, or on the contrary endorse the newfound popularity of Labor? What challenges await the Labor Party?

Reduce damage

It is therefore a six-week campaign which opens until the July election, and even if the Prime Minister imposes his pace and creates a surprise, the forecasts are not in his favor. For Clémence Fourton, lecturer in English studies at Sciences Po Lille, this decision seeks above all to limit damage in the conservative camps. According to the researcher, it is “a default choice”, specifying that “the Conservatives are struggling in the polls, twenty points behind the Labor Party. » If Rishi Sunak had until January 2015 to call the British to the polls, voting in July allows him “to prevent the situation from getting worse. It should be remembered that the parties organize their congresses in September. Anticipation allows us to avoid internal wars within the Conservative Party, and a clash with the American elections in the fall. » This surprise was one of the last cards that Downing Street could play against Labor in the lead.

Keir Starmer, future Prime Minister?

In power since 2010, the Tories are today criticized for a decade of budgetary austerity and the difficult management of the Covid crises, inflation and even Brexit. Opposite, the Labor Party is getting a makeover thanks to Keir Starmer, official leader of the opposition since 2020. “This lawyer stands out and tries to distinguish himself from the conservatives to the extent that he has not joined a private school nor had the elitist background shared by the majority of conservative leaders, recalls Clémence Fourton. Keir Starmer is above all a centrist. Several currents confront each other within the Labor Party. He is located on the right. » A positioning which allows him to distinguish himself from his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn, significantly more to the left. Keir Starmer cultivates his difference on economic and geopolitical levels, moving closer to Tony Blair.

This article is originally published on .radiofrance.fr

 

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