Sunak calls general election: How drenched PM fired the starting pistol on a summer vote

Rishi Sunak declared “now is the moment for Britain to choose its future” as he announced the general election will be held on July 4.

Speaking in Downing Street in the pouring rain on Wednesday afternoon, a soaked Mr Sunak vowed to “fight for every vote” as he pitched the election as a direct battle between him and Sir Keir Starmer.

The Labour leader hit back by saying backing his party would be a “vote to stop the chaos”, while Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey hailed the “chance to kick Rishi Sunak’s appalling Conservative government out of office”.

The announcement has fired the starting gun for a six-week election campaign which will see the Tories fight to overturn their 20-point poll deficit.

Follow the latest developments in our new election live coverage blog

07:21 PM BST

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07:07 PM BST

Watch: Sunak explains why he called election

Rishi Sunak has said he called a general election because “hard won economic stability was only ever meant to be the beginning”.

“Our economy is now growing faster than France, Germany and the United States, and this morning we received the welcome news that inflation has returned to normal,” he said.

“Now this is a sign that our plan and our priorities are working.”

He added: “So that we can decide whether we want to build on the progress that we’ve made or risk going back to square one with no plan and no certainty.”

07:01 PM BST

Sunak’s speech condemned for ‘excluding deaf people’

Rishi Sunak’s general election speech excluded deaf people by not being accompanied by a sign language interpreter.

Michael Quinlan, advocacy manager at hearing charity RNID, said: “Calling a General Election is one of the biggest moves our country can make.

“It’s totally unacceptable that after months of promises, no British Sign Language interpreter was there for this major national announcement. It means that deaf people like me simply don’t have access to this information at the same time as everyone else.

“In February, the Government committed that they would work to provide live in-person BSL interpretation for all major press conferences and briefings from spring 2024.

“We are very much in spring and it is not happening. Deaf BSL users deserve to have that information at the same time as everyone else. This is not good enough.

06:54 PM BST

Listen: David Davis ‘surprised’ by July election

David Davis has said that he was “surprised” at the decision to call an election in July.

The former Brexit Secretary told a special election edition of The Daily T podcast that despite being behind in the polls, it could be a “smart gamble”.

“I had assumed that we would go for an autumn election, giving us enough time for the improvements in the economy to sharpen people’s pockets,” he told Daily T presenters Camilla Tominey and Kamal Ahmed.

“But it’s by no means an irrational choice. We’ve got a government – the whole 14 years of it – which has faced four ‘once in a generation’ events. If you count the tail end of the crash, which wasn’t fixed when we took over; Brexit; the pandemic and war in Europe – the government was being measured about how it dealt with that.

“Starmer wanted more lockdowns. What did Starmer do on Ukraine? Nothing. And the crash, well, bluntly, it was on their watch. And on Brexit, they don’t have an opinion at all. So I can see where the PM is going. I can see the argument.

“It’s a gamble, because in the polls we’re behind. But it may be a smart gamble.”

06:50 PM BST

Swinney: School holiday election date shows ‘contempt’ for Scotland

The scheduling of the general election during Scotland’s school holidays “shows the contempt the Tories have for Scotland”, John Swinney has claimed.

The SNP leader and Scottish First Minister said: “This is perhaps the latest act of disrespect from a Conservative government to call an election during the Scottish summer school holidays.

“There will be schools in Scotland on holiday by the time polling day comes and that will not have been given a moment’s thought by the Tory election planners.

“It shows the contempt the Tories have for Scotland.”

06:48 PM BST

Tory MP admits election campaign not off to ‘best start’

One Tory MP said that they were “not sure it has been the best start” to the party’s election campaign, writes Political Reporter Genevieve Holl-Allen.

The MP told The Telegraph that they were “really” surprised by the announcement, and said there was a feeling of shock as well as frustration among fellow MPs about the news of the summer poll.

06:44 PM BST

Read Rishi Sunak’s election speech in full

You can read the Prime Minister’s speech in full announcing the general election here.

06:40 PM BST

Sunak has ‘chosen suicide over obliteration’, says Farage

Rishi Sunak has “chosen suicide over total obliteration” by opting for a July election, Nigel Farage has said.

The honorary president of Reform UK said in a social media video that the general election would enable “deliverance day from a bunch of charlatans who call themselves Conservatives but govern as big state liberals”.

The former Brexit Party leader said: “The lack of professionalism is unbelievable. To stand there getting soaked in the rain, to read from the notes like a robot without passion, without belief, without vim, without vigour.

“But it sums up 14 years of conservatism, why they are going to get wiped in this election.

“But what he has done, he’s chosen suicide over total obliteration because as the months go by, it’ll get worse and worse and worse. No planes will go to Rwanda whatsoever.”

06:38 PM BST

Explained: Why Rishi Sunak had to go bold and call an election now

For a man who is naturally cautious, Rishi Sunak took some convincing that an early general election was the right way to go, but in the end he ran out of reasons to say no.

Good news on the economy, hopes of lift-off for the Rwanda plan and the danger that there could be bad news later in the year finally convinced the Prime Minister that the pros outweighed the cons.

So he decided, for once, to be bold and seize the initiative by going to the country on July 4.

At first glance, taking a risk on cutting short his premiership may seem hard to fathom. The polls still make for dire reading, but the logic in No 10 was that, all things considered, July makes for the least bad option.

Find out why in this analysis by Associate Editor Gordon Rayner.

06:35 PM BST

Johnson backs Sunak’s re-election campaign

Boris Johnson has offered his backing to Rishi Sunak’s re-election campaign.

The former Prime Minister’s spokesman said he would be “strongly supporting” the Conservatives.

“Boris Johnson is, as always, strongly supporting the Conservatives and encourages everybody to do the same,” the spokesman said.

06:30 PM BST

Veteran pro-EU protester responsible for drowning out Sunak speech

Veteran pro-European Union (EU) protester Steve Bray was responsible for drowning out Rishi Sunak’s general election speech.

Mr Bray, a serial demonstrator in Westminster, and 10 other activists played the New Labour anthem, Things Can Only Get Better.

Outside in Whitehall, activists sang alongside Mr Bray, who told the Telegraph: “We’ve had years of interruption, and we’ve got the highest taxes since the Second World War. I think they owe us far more than being interrupted.”

Mr Bray later said that the Metropolitan Police had served him an order banning him from every street around Whitehall and the Houses of Parliament.

Steve Bray pictured outside Downing Street disrupting Rishi Sunak's speech
Steve Bray pictured outside Downing Street disrupting Rishi Sunak's speech - Tim Sigsworth for The Telegraph

06:23 PM BST

Hunt will stand at general election

Jeremy Hunt has confirmed he will stand at the general election as he put to bed rumours that he would join dozens of Tory MPs who are quitting, reports Dominic Penna.

The Chancellor currently represents the marginal constituency of South West Surrey, which is set to be abolished and replaced with Godalming and Ash as part of the boundary review.

Despite projections he may lose his seat on the basis of current polling, Mr Hunt insisted he would “fight hard for every single vote” and talked up his credentials as a constituency MP.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, he said Britain had been “transformed under Rishi’s leadership”, adding: “It will be my honour to fight with every bone in my body to get him re-elected, because we need a government that takes the difficult decisions necessary to unlock our nation’s extraordinary potential.

“I will also stand for election in Godalming and Ash where I am proud of my local record and excited that the new boundaries include the town I went to school and the village I grew up in. It is a highly marginal seat so I will fight hard for every single vote!”

06:20 PM BST

John Swinney: Vote for SNP is ‘vote to put Scotland first’

John Swinney, the leader of the SNP, said a vote for his party at the general election would be a “vote to put Scotland first”.

He said: “I very much look forward to leading the SNP in this election campaign. This is the moment to remove the Tory government and put Scotland first by voting SNP. We will work night and day to protect them from the damage done by Westminster.

“The SNP offers a better future to the broken Westminster consensus. In this election we’ll be making the case why decisions about Scotland should be made here – and I’ll take that message to every part of Scotland.

“In government, we’ve grown Scotland’s economy, doubled frontline funding for the NHS and ensured Scotland has the highest number of GPs per head in the UK.

“We’re helping with the cost of living through measures such as free prescriptions, free bus travel for under-22s and off-peak rail fares all day.  A vote for the SNP is a vote to put Scotland first – and for Scotland to become an independent country.”

06:18 PM BST

Scottish Labour leader: ‘This is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss’

Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader, said the “people of Scotland and the UK are desperate for an election and desperate for change” as he responded to Rishi Sunak’s announcement.

He said: “After 14 years of Tory chaos and failure, this is an opportunity that we cannot afford to miss. Scotland is crying out for change and that change is only possible with a Labour government led by Keir Starmer that is on the side of working people.

“Voting Scottish Labour means booting out this rotten Tory government, maximising Scotland’s influence with Scottish Labour MPs in government and delivering the change that Scotland needs. It’s time for change and Labour is ready to deliver it.”

06:17 PM BST

Reader poll

06:08 PM BST

Election is ‘chance to kick appalling Tories out of government’, says Sir Ed Davey

Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said the general election represented the “chance to kick Rishi Sunak’s appalling Conservative government out of office and deliver the change the public is crying out for”.

He said in a statement: “For years the Conservative Party has taken voters for granted and lurched from crisis to crisis while the problems facing the country are getting so much worse.

“The NHS has been brought to its knees, people’s mortgages and rents have soared by hundreds of pounds a month, and water companies have got away with pumping filthy sewage into our rivers and beaches. All because this Conservative Government is more interested in fighting between themselves than standing up for the needs of the country.

“Every vote for the Liberal Democrats at this election is a vote for a strong local champion who will stand up for your community and health services. It’s clear that in many seats across the country, the best way to beat the Conservatives is to vote for the Liberal Democrats.”

06:03 PM BST

Snap poll is ‘a lot to digest’, says Tory MP

One Tory MP stepping down at the next election has said that the snap poll news is “emotionally a lot to digest”.

Dehenna Davidson, who will not be seeking reelection as the MP for Bishop Auckland, said that her and her team “had so much more to do, and thought we had a little more time”.

Ms Davidson wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “I think my team and I were prepared for Autumn, so emotionally this is a lot to digest. 

“We had so much more to do, and thought we had a little more time. Alas. The brilliant causes we have been working on we will continue to support from beyond Parliament.”

She added: “And let’s not forget, though some may celebrate the departure of certain MPs, when we go, our staff also are left with uncertain futures. Needless to say I’ll support them as much as I can through this tumultuous period.”

05:59 PM BST

Royal family to postpone engagements which could distract from election campaign

Rishi Sunak went to see the King at Buckingham Palace in person shortly after 3.15pm this afternoon, for a meeting lasting around 15 minutes.

Buckingham Palace has now announced the royal family will “postpone engagements that may appear to divert attention or distract from the election campaign”.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “Following the Prime Minister’s statement this afternoon calling a General Election, the royal family will, in accordance with normal procedure, postpone engagements that may appear to divert attention or distract from the election campaign.

“Their Majesties send their sincere apologies to any of those who may be affected as a result.”

05:54 PM BST

Starmer tells voters: ‘The future of the country is in your hands’

Sir Keir Starmer said the “future of the country” will be in the hands of voters on July 4.

Concluding his remarks, the Labour leader said: “Here it is. The future of the country in your hands.

“On the 4th of July you have the choice and together we can stop the chaos, we can turn the page, we can start to rebuild Britain and change our country.”

05:51 PM BST

Starmer vows to reject ‘gesture politics’

Sir Keir Starmer said a Labour government would operate with a “new spirit of service”.

The Labour leader said he would act for “country first, party second”.

He also said Labour would reject “gesture politics” which he predicted would feature in the election campaign.

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader
Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader

05:49 PM BST

Starmer: Vote for Labour is a vote to ‘stop the chaos’

Sir Keir Starmer said: “A vote for Labour is vote for stability, economic and political, a politics that treads more likely on all our lives, a vote to stop the chaos.”

He said he believed it is “time for change” and Labour would “reset both our economy and our politics”.

05:48 PM BST

Labour government would ‘stop the chaos’, says Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer said a Labour government would “stop the chaos” as he referred to sewage in rivers and people waiting on trolleys in NHS hospitals.

He said that the nation’s problems were the “direct result of the Tory chaos in Westminster”.

05:47 PM BST

Starmer: Election is the moment the country has been waiting for

Sir Keir Starmer is now responding to the general election being triggered.

Speaking to the media in central London, Sir Keir Starmer this is the “moment the country needs and has been waiting for”.

The Labour leader said he believed it will “feel like a long campaign”.

But regardless of what happens in the coming weeks people should remember the “opportunity for change is what this election is about”.

05:43 PM BST

Sir Keir Starmer urges nation to ‘turn the page’ and vote for Labour

Sir Keir Starmer said it was “time for change” as he responded to Rishi Sunak calling a general election on July 4 with a campaign video posted on Twitter.

The Labour leader urged people to “stop the chaos, turn the page, start to rebuild, vote Labour”.

However, the campaign video was not without its problems: one of the captions was spelled incorrectly as “swich on GB Energy”.

05:33 PM BST

Formal confirmation from No 10 of triggering of election

Downing Street has issued a statement formally confirming the general election has been triggered:

The Prime Minister has today asked His Majesty The King to proclaim the Dissolution of Parliament. His Majesty has been graciously pleased to signify that He will comply with this request.

Parliament will be prorogued on Friday 24 May. Dissolution will take place on Thursday 30 May. The General Election will take place on Thursday 4 July. The new Parliament will be summoned to meet on Tuesday 9 July, when the first business will be the election of the Speaker and the swearing-in of members, and the State Opening will be on Wednesday 17 July.

05:32 PM BST

Lib Dems ‘fired up’ to oust Cabinet ministers

The Lib Dems are “fired up” to oust Conservative cabinet ministers from their seats.

A party spokesman said: “We are fired up and ready to beat Conservative MPs across the country and get rid of this appalling and out-of-touch government.

“Ed Davey is on his way now to Michael Gove’s true blue Surrey seat. Cabinet ministers in former Conservative heartlands will be looking nervously over their shoulders at the Liberal Democrats.”

05:31 PM BST

Sunak vows to ‘fight for every vote’

Concluding his remarks, Mr Sunak said: “Over the next few weeks I will fight for every vote.

“I will earn your trust and I will prove to you that only a Conservative Government led by me will not put our hard-earned economic stability at risk, can restore pride and confidence in our country and with a clear plan and bold action can deliver a secure future for you, your family and our United Kingdom.”

05:30 PM BST

Drenched Sunak confirms he will lead Conservatives into the election

Rishi Sunak effectively confirmed he will lead the Tories into the general election as he said the choice on July 4 will be between him and Sir Keir Starmer.

He said: “On July 5 either Keir Starmer or I will be prime minister. He has shown time and time again that he will take the easy way out and do anything to get power.

“If he was happy to abandon all the promises he made to become Labour leader once he got the job, how can you know that he won’t do exactly the same thing if he were to become prime minister?”

05:29 PM BST

Sunak: Voters do not know what Labour offer

Rishi Sunak claimed Labour were offering the UK “no plan”.

He said: “I hope that my work since I became Prime Minister shows that we have a plan and are prepared to take bold action necessary for our country to flourish. Now I’ve stuck with that plan, and always been honest with you about what is needed even when that’s been difficult.

“Because I’m guided by doing what is right for our country, not what is easy, and I can’t say the same thing for the Labour Party, because I don’t know what they offer and in truth I don’t think you know either. And that’s because they have no plan, there is no bold action and as a result the future can only be uncertain with them.”

05:23 PM BST

The King has approved general election date, says Sunak

Rishi Sunak said King Charles had approved his plan to hold a general election.

The Prime Minister said: “Earlier today I spoke with His Majesty the King to request the dissolution of Parliament. The King has granted this request and we will have a general election July 4.

“This election will take place at a time when the world is more dangerous than it has been since the end of the Cold War.”

05:21 PM BST

Sunak speech disrupted by New Labour anthem

Rishi Sunak’s statement in Downing Street was disrupted by loud music being played outside the gates of 10 Downing Street.

The song being played the New Labour anthem, Things Can Only Get Better by D:Ream.

05:18 PM BST

General election will be held on July 4, Sunak announces

The general election will be held on July 4, Rishi Sunak has announced.

The Prime Minister made the announcement in Downing Street after briefing his Cabinet on his plans.

He said: “The question now is how and who do you trust to turn that foundation into a secure future for you, your family and our country.

“Now is the moment for Britain to choose its future.”

05:15 PM BST

Sunak: UK has been through ‘most challenging time’ since Second World War

Rishi Sunak is now speaking in Downing Street.

He said that the UK in the last five years had “fought through the most challenging time” since the Second World War.

The Prime Minister said that upon taking office his main aim was to “restore economic stability” and after “collective sacrifice” that stability had been delivered.

05:11 PM BST

Lectern appears outside No 10

A lectern has now appeared in Downing Street - it would appear Rishi Sunak is going to brave the wet weather and deliver his statement outside.

The prime ministerial crest is not on the lectern. That confirms that Mr Sunak will be making a political announcement.

05:06 PM BST

Sunak expected to make statement inside No 10 because of wet weather

We are now waiting for Rishi Sunak to deliver his statement.

We should be hearing from the Prime Minister imminently.

It is thought Mr Sunak will speak from inside No 10 rather than in the street because of the wet weather.

04:49 PM BST

Confirmed: Rishi Sunak to deliver statement at 5pm

It has now been confirmed that Rishi Sunak will make a statement at 5pm.

The Prime Minister is expected to announce that the general election will be held on July 4.

04:45 PM BST

Ex-No 10 chief of staff predicts exodus of Tory MPs in coming days

Lord Barwell, who served as chief of staff in No 10 during Theresa May’s premiership, predicted a “fair few” Tory MPs will announce in the coming days that they are standing down if Rishi Sunak does call an election on July 4, as expected.

The Tory peer said that would not be an “ideal start” for the Conservative campaign.

04:41 PM BST

How Sunak will stack up historically if he loses summer election

If Rishi Sunak loses the next election, he will have been in No 10 for a shorter period than one of Downing Street’s greatest losers - Anthony Eden.

Eden, who resigned through ill-health following the Suez Crisis, lasted in office for one year and 279 days, writes Daniel Martin. 

So far Mr Sunak has been in office for one year and 208 days. By July 4, the expected date of the election, he will be on one year and 251 days.

If he loses, he will have to resign the next day - 28 days short of Eden’s time in power.

Eden took over from Winston Churchill in 1955 but the disastrous Franco-British invasion of Egypt put paid to his premiership and he resigned in 1957.

04:30 PM BST

Sunak to announce summer general election on July 4

Rishi Sunak will announce a summer general election later today after a meeting of his Cabinet in No 10 has concluded, The Telegraph understands.

The contest is expected to be held on July 4, delivering on Mr Sunak’s repeated statement that the contest will be held in the second half of the year.

An announcement from Mr Sunak is expected at 5pm.

04:21 PM BST

Starmer ready to respond if Sunak calls election

Sir Keir Starmer is expected to make a statement to broadcasters in response if, as is increasingly expected, a general election is called by Rishi Sunak later this afternoon.

04:18 PM BST

Jeremy Hunt ‘is not resigning’

Jeremy Hunt will not resign as Chancellor today, it has been reported.

Joel Hills, ITV News’s business and economics editor, quoted a Treasury source as saying: “It’s nonsense, he’s 100 per cent not resigning.”

The source went on to say Mr Hunt was “100 per cent standing” at the next election.

04:16 PM BST

General election to be called today, Cabinet ministers believe

Rishi Sunak is set to announce a general election later today, some of his Cabinet ministers believe.

The Prime Minister is expected to make the news public after the gathering of his Cabinet which is taking place in Downing Street this afternoon.

04:14 PM BST

Stage ‘being built’ for Tory event tonight

A stage is being built at the ExCel Centre in East London for a Conservative Party event this evening, it has been reported.

James Ball, the political editor of The New European, said: “I am hearing that there is currently a stage being built at the ExCeL for a Conservative Party event this evening – around 8pm.”

Mr Ball went on to claim there would be an announcement outside of No 10 at 5pm.

“Given reports of an announcement outside Number 10 around 5pm, could this be some kind of follow up launch?”

04:13 PM BST

Mitchell, Mercer and Chalk arrive at No 10

Andrew Mitchell, Deputy Foreign Secretary, and Johnny Mercer, the Veterans Minister, have both arrived at No10.

Alex Chalk, the Justice Secretary, has also just arrived. Someone has pitched up with loudspeakers outside the gates to Downing Street, blaring “It Only Gets Better”.

Andrew Mitchell, the Deputy Foreign Secretary, is pictured this afternoon arriving in Downing Street
Andrew Mitchell, the Deputy Foreign Secretary, is pictured this afternoon arriving in Downing Street - Geoff Pugh for The Telegraph

04:02 PM BST

Northern Ireland Secretary arrives at No 10

Chris Heaton-Harris, the Northern Ireland Secretary, has just entered 10 Downing Street.

Mr Heaton-Harris announced at the weekend that he was stepping down as an MP at the next general election.

He had asked Rishi Sunak if he could stay in his Cabinet post until the election.

03:57 PM BST

Coutinho, Atkins and Stride arrive at No 10

Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho has just gone into No 10.

Victoria Atkins, the Health Secretary, broke into a slight jog as she approached the famous black door. It appeared she had forgotten to bring a coat or umbrella for the Westminster drizzle.

She was quickly followed by Mel Stride, the Work and Pensions Secretary, who remarked on the rain to journalists before stepping inside No10.

03:49 PM BST

Laura Trott arrives at No 10

Laura Trott, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has just gone into 10 Downing Street.

There should be a steady stream of arrivals in the coming minutes, with the Cabinet meeting due to get underway at 4.15pm.

Laura Trott, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, arrives in Downing Street this afternoon
Laura Trott, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, arrives in Downing Street this afternoon - Stefan Rousseau/PA

03:46 PM BST

Grant Shapps first to arrive at No 10 for Cabinet meeting

Grant Shapps, the Defence Secretary, is the first Cabinet minister to arrive at No 10, reports Genevieve Holl-Allen who is in Downing Street.

He smiled but did not respond to questions from journalists about a possible snap election.

The Cabinet meeting is scheduled to get underway at 4.15pm.

03:43 PM BST

Stop ‘placating’ Sunak and give popular Tories more airtime, minister tells No 10

Downing Street must stop trying to “placate” Rishi Sunak and instead give popular colleagues like Kemi Badenoch and Penny Mordaunt more airtime, a Cabinet minister told No10 in a private memo.

Johnny Mercer, the veterans minister, accused Downing Street of acting as though the Prime Minister was as popular as he was when he took office, despite falling poll ratings.

You can read the full story here.

03:26 PM BST

Special advisers in the dark over Cabinet meeting

People within the Government are being kept in the dark about what Cabinet ministers will be discussing just after 4pm.

One special adviser quipped to The Telegraph: “We are getting on delivering for the British people… and looking at Twitter.”

03:17 PM BST

Tory MP expresses doubt over early election rumours

Tory MP Craig Mackinlay told the PA news agency he did not believe rumours of an early election were substantial.

“I am aware of those rumours. I don’t think they have actually got foundation,” the South Thanet MP said.

03:12 PM BST

Last July general election did not go well for Tories

There hasn’t been a July election since 1945 - and that time it did not go well for the Tories, writes Daniel Martin.

Clement Attlee stunned the world by taking a 145-seat majority for Labour, defeating the wartime leader Winston Churchill.

Despite leading the country to victory in the Second World War, just 36 per cent voted for the Conservatives, with 48 per cent choosing Labour.

Labour gained 239 constituencies to win 393 seats, while the Tories lost 189 to end up with just 197.

When Churchill’s wife Clementine attempted to cheer him up by telling him the defeat might be a “blessing in disguise”, he replied: “At the moment it seems quite effectively disguised.”

Labour stayed in power for six years, during which time they changed the country for ever by establishing the welfare state and the NHS.

03:06 PM BST

Summer election could give winner whirlwind first week in No 10

July 4 has been floated by some people in Westminster as a potential date for a summer general election.

That would give whoever won the contest an eventful first week in No 10.

That’s because a major Nato summit is due to be held in Washington DC between July 9-11, with national leaders attending at the invitation of Joe Biden.

So if there was an election on July 4, either Rishi Sunak or Sir Keir Starmer would win and then within days be jetting out of the country for an extended period.

02:58 PM BST

Poll: 4 in 10 voters want summer general election

Four in 10 voters want the next general election to take place this summer, the most popular response in a recent YouGov survey.

A poll conducted on May 7 found 41 per cent of respondents said they wanted the election in the summer.

The second most popular option was the autumn, with 23 per cent.

Just 7 per cent said the winter and 9 per cent said January next year - the absolute latest the next contest can happen.

02:39 PM BST

Telegraph readers weigh in on general election speculation

Just as general election speculation is dominating discussions in parliamentary corridors today, so too it is dominating the comments section of today’s politics live blog.

Telegraph readers have been offering their opinions on when Rishi Sunak should call the election:

02:19 PM BST

Jeremy Hunt pulls out of TV interview scheduled for tonight

Jeremy Hunt has pulled out of a scheduled appearance on ITV’s Peston programme this evening.

The Chancellor was supposed to be on the show from 9pm tonight.

02:12 PM BST

Michelle Donelan to miss Cabinet meeting

Michelle Donelan, the Science Secretary, is in South Korea attending an AI safety summit and so will miss this afternoon’s Cabinet meeting.

She will fly back tomorrow morning as planned.

01:58 PM BST

Whitehall source suggests Tories have no reason to wait to call election

One Whitehall insider suggested calling a summer election could make sense for the Government given the state of the public finances and already announced spending commitments.

They said: “I’ve always thought a summer election was likely: we’ve just had the infected blood announcement, the Horizon compensation announcement and the defence uplift.

“That doesn’t leave a lot of money left for other priorities - so why wait?”

01:48 PM BST

Labour tells Sunak to ‘get on with it’ and call general election

Rishi Sunak should “get on with it” and call a snap general election, a Labour Party spokesman has said.

“We are fully ready to go whenever the Prime Minister calls an election,” the spokesman said.

“We have a fully organised and operational campaign ready to go, and we think the country is crying out for a general election so would urge the Prime Minister to get on with it.”

The spokesman added: “We’ve seen the Prime Minister has repeatedly marched us up this hill and then sort of bottled it at the last minute when it comes to calling the election.

“But however long he keeps delaying he cannot avoid the verdict of the British public, which recognises that this is a government that has failed over the last 14 years and believes that it’s time for a change.”

01:39 PM BST

Shapps delays flight to attend Cabinet meeting

Grant Shapps has delayed a flight to the Baltic states for two hours so he can attend Cabinet this afternoon.

The Defence Secretary is travelling to Estonia and Lithania to attend a Nato meeting about the Russian threat.

01:37 PM BST

Cameron cuts short trip to Albania to attend Cabinet meeting

David Cameron is returning early from a trip to Albania so he can attend this afternoon’s Cabinet meeting.

The Foreign Secretary was in Tirana to discuss immigration policy, but he has cut short his visit so he can attend the meeting in Downing Street at around 4pm.

A source at the Foreign Office claimed they did not know what the Cabinet would be discussing.

The Tory peer’s return to the UK at short notice will further fuel general election speculation.

01:16 PM BST

No 10 refuses to rule out summer election

Downing Street has refused to rule out a summer general election amid speculation Rishi Sunak could call one imminently.

The Prime Minister’s press secretary told reporters in Westminster after PMQs: “I know there’s a lot of interest in this, as there has been pretty much every week over the last five months.

“I’ll just say the same thing I’ve always said, which is I’m not going to rule anything in or out. The PM said election – second half of the year.”

She declined to say when the second half of the year begins in Mr Sunak’s view, noting it “is quite a wide range”.

“It’s not my job to stand here and pre-empt any of that. Right now, we’re focused on delivering. Just today, we got good inflation news.”

01:12 PM BST

No 10 won’t repeat Sunak’s pledge that Hunt will be Chancellor at election

Downing Street declined to repeat Rishi Sunak’s previous commitment that Jeremy Hunt will be Chancellor at the time of the general election, amid rumours the Prime Minister could announce a reshuffle if he does not name the polling date.

Asked to reaffirm Mr Sunak’s previous promise, made in January this year, the Prime Minister’s press secretary said: “We don’t comment on reshuffle speculation.

“We think the Chancellor’s doing a very good job and it’s very clear that the economy is on the up.”

She added: “It’s the PM’s decision in terms of the Cabinet positions.”

01:06 PM BST

Analysis: Sunak fails to dampen election speculation

Rishi Sunak did nothing at PMQs to dampen growing speculation that there could be a general election this summer.

He simply repeated his now familiar line that the contest will take place in the second half of the year.

All eyes will now be on this afternoon’s unusually-timed meeting of the Cabinet at about 4pm to see if an early contest - or perhaps a reshuffle - is on the cards.

12:54 PM BST

Craig Mackinlay thanks Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Rishi Sunak for support

Craig Mackinlay had the final question at PMQs.

The Tory MP told the House of Commons that “this is an emotional day for me” as he thanked Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Rishi Sunak for their support throughout his ordeal.

He thanked Sir Lindsay “for being there for me” and then joked about one of the Commons Speaker’s visits to see him in hospital.

Mr Mackinlay prompted laughter as he said: “The rest of the hospital thought I must be dreadfully ill because they said ‘that guy has got the funeral director in already’.”

Craig Mackinlay, the Tory MP, addresses the House of Commons during PMQs this afternoon
Craig Mackinlay, the Tory MP, addresses the House of Commons during PMQs this afternoon

He said Mr Sunak had been “with me throughout” and had visited multiple times. This showed the “true depth of the character of the Prime Minister”, Mr Mackinlay said.

Mr Sunak thanked him for his “kind words” and then said he wanted to pay tribute to Mr Mackinlay’s family “who are here and I know first hand the extraordinary job they did to support him over the past several months and they all deserve our absolute admiration and thanks for what they have done”.

Mr Mackinlay asked Mr Sunak to “ensure that we embed recognition of early signs of sepsis” and to ensure the “provision of appropriate prosthetics” on the NHS.

Mr Sunak said ministers were “working hard to raise awareness” of sepsis and added: “Without getting into all the details I will just say that he is right, the NHS itself has recognised this morning that more needs to be done, and I can assure him that we will do that.”

12:47 PM BST

‘Last thing’ UK needs is another Labour government, claims Tory MP

A Tory MP claimed the “last thing” the UK needs is another Labour government because the economy is “roaring back to life”.

Danny Kruger asked Rishi Sunak at PMQs: “In 1997 the public voted in what would be a sort of continuity Conservative government. The same policies, just with different faces.

“Instead what they got was record immigration, constitutional vandalism and a broken economy.

“Does the Prime Minister agree that with the economy now roaring back to life under a Conservative government, the last thing we need is a return to the failed Labour recipe of high taxes, open borders and employment laws that destroy jobs?”

Mr Sunak replied: “My honourable friend gives a superb and passionate economic diagnosis and he is right.

“Inflation is now back to normal and indeed lower than France, Germany, the United States, at its lowest level in years. Our economy is growing faster, wages are rising and that is why we need to stick to the plan that is working.”

12:29 PM BST

SNP accuse Sunak of ‘playing games’ over election timing

Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s leader in Westminster, claimed that Rishi Sunak “continues to play games with the public” after the Prime Minister refused to rule out holding a general election this summer.

12:27 PM BST

Ministers ‘not told what they will be discussing at Cabinet’ this afternoon

Ministers have been told that they must attend this afternoon’s Cabinet meeting “on pain of death”, the Sunday Times chief political commentator reported.

Tim Shipman tweeted that while the importance of the meeting had been stressed to ministers, they have not been told what they will be discussing.

12:20 PM BST

Sunak refuses to rule out July general election amid mounting speculation

Rishi Sunak has refused to rule out a July general election.

Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s leader in Westminster, told the Prime Minister that “speculation is rife” as he asked the premier to give a clear answer to the question of whether there could be a summer contest.

Mr Sunak replied: “As I have said repeatedly to him, there is, spoiler alert, going to be a general election in the second half of this year and at that moment the British people will in fact see the truth about the honourable gentleman opposite me [Sir Keir Starmer] because that will be the choice at the next election.

“A party that is not able to say to the country what they would do, a party that would put at risk our hard earned economic stability, or the Conservatives that are delivering a secure future for our United Kingdom.”

Rishi Sunak smiles in the House of Commons after he was asked about the prospect of calling a general election this summer
Rishi Sunak smiles in the House of Commons after he was asked about the prospect of calling a general election this summer

12:16 PM BST

Government will deliver on infected blood recommendations by end of the year, says Sunak

Sir Keir Starmer asked Rishi Sunak if the Government would be able to deliver on all of the recommendations made by the infected blood inquiry by the end of the year.

Mr Sunak said “of course we want to deliver on the recommendations as quickly as practically possible”.

He said the expectation is that the Government will be able to do that “before the end of the year”.

12:13 PM BST

Sunak: NHS ‘failed people’ over infected blood scandal

Sir Keir Starmer asked Rishi Sunak if he agreed that the “very culture of the NHS needs to change” after failings in the health service were exposed by the infected blood inquiry report.

Mr Sunak agreed and said that the NHS had “failed people, it let them down”.

The Prime Minister said people in the health service should be held accountable over the scandal.

12:10 PM BST

Duty of candour should be enshrined in law, Starmer tells Sunak

Sir Keir Starmer used his first question at PMQs to ask Rishi Sunak about the infected blood scandal.

Sir Keir asked if he agreed that there was a need to ensure all institutions are always transparent whenever problems arise.

He said that a “duty of candour” should apply to all public servants across the board. He said that duty should be enshrined in law.

Mr Sunak said it was an “appalling scandal” and lessons needed to be learnt to ensure that “nothing like this can ever happen in our country again”.

He said it would “take time to fully digest” the inquiry’s findings but he said the Government was “sympathetic” to the recommendations made.

12:06 PM BST

Sunak tells MPs his economic plan ‘is working’

Rishi Sunak told the House of Commons that falling inflation showed that his “plan is working”.

He said the improving economic picture was only possible because of the “difficult decisions” taken by the Conservatives in power.

12:03 PM BST

Sunak praises Mackinlay’s ‘incredible resilience’

PMQs is now underway.

Rishi Sunak started by offering his personal welcome to Craig Mackinlay as the Tory returned to the Commons.

The Prime Minister said that everyone was in “awe of his incredible resilience”.

12:00 PM BST

Sunak takes seat in Commons ahead of PMQs

Rishi Sunak has just taken his seat on the government frontbench in the House of Commons.

Prime Minister’s Questions should get underway imminently.

11:58 AM BST

Craig Mackinlay given standing ovation upon return to Commons

Craig Mackinlay, the Tory MP, received a standing ovation and sustained applause from both sides of the House of Commons as he returned to the chamber this morning for the first time since he lost his arms and legs to sepsis.

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, shook Mr Mackinlay’s hand as he took his seat.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, said applause was not normally permitted in the Commons but this was an exception.

11:41 AM BST

Pictured: Sunak leaves No 10 ahead of PMQs

Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, is pictured leaving 10 Downing Street this morning
Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, is pictured leaving 10 Downing Street this morning - Henry Nicholls/AFP

11:35 AM BST

PMQs should provide some clarity on general election question

PMQs will get underway in just under half an hour.

Hopefully we will get some clarity on the general election question from Rishi Sunak then.

It seems unlikely that the entire session will come and go without the issue being brought up by someone.

11:24 AM BST

Tory MP Craig Mackinlay returns to Commons

Tory MP Craig Mackinlay has returned to the House of Commons for the first time since he lost his arms and legs to sepsis.

He was seen meeting Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, before attending Prime Minister’s Questions later.

11:22 AM BST

Hoyle not told of any potential plan to call election

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, has not been told of any potential plan to call a general election, The Telegraph understands.

11:15 AM BST

Sunak repeated this morning general election will be ‘second half’ of 2024

Rishi Sunak repeated this morning that he expected the general election to take place in the second half of 2024.

The Prime Minister was asked if he was tempted to call an early election after today’s inflation figures.

He told broadcasters: “I have answered this question multiple times and I have always given the same answer and that’s that we will have an election in the second half of this year.”

It is worth remembering that the “second half” of 2024 - the start of July - is now just 40 days away.

11:10 AM BST

How long does Rishi Sunak have to call the election?

The current five year parliamentary term runs out in January 2025.

That gives Rishi Sunak a fairly small window in which to call the next general election:

11:08 AM BST

Could Rishi Sunak announce the general election at PMQs?

Rishi Sunak would need to get permission from the King to formally trigger a general election.

Once permission has been granted by the monarch, Mr Sunak could then publicly announce a date for the dissolution of Parliament and polling day, likely in the form of a statement in the street in front of No 10.

However, there would be nothing to stop Mr Sunak from simply announcing a proposed date for the contest later in the year. This would not require the King’s permission and the formal process would follow later.

He could in theory make such an announcement at Prime Minister’s Questions at noon.

Mr Sunak usually has his weekly audience with the King on a Wednesday. We already know that the Cabinet is meeting this afternoon at 4.15pm.

10:45 AM BST

Tories still 20 points behind Labour amid talk of snap election

If Rishi Sunak does choose to trigger a snap general election today it would represent a huge political gamble by the Prime Minister.

The Telegraph’s general election poll tracker currently suggests the Tories are more than 20 points behind Labour.

They have been broadly that far behind since October 2022 and there has been little sign of the gap closing.

In fact, if anything, the gap between the parties has actually increased a little in recent weeks. Mr Sunak and the Tories would enter the contest as the clear underdogs.

10:20 AM BST

Could Sunak use fall in inflation as launching pad for triggering election?

That is the question on everyone’s lips in Westminster this morning.

The data published by the Office for National Statistics provided Mr Sunak with great news and firm evidence to back up his repeated claim that his plan for the country is working.

It is the sort of thing which the Tories could put front and centre of an election campaign. But will it be enough to prompt Mr Sunak to go all in and go to the country?

There is also speculation that Mr Sunak could hold a Cabinet reshuffle. This would make some sense because it would provide him with the opportunity to replace Chris Heaton-Harris, the Northern Ireland Secretary, who recently announced he is stepping down as an MP at the next election.

There is another point of intrigue: the Cabinet normally meets on Tuesday mornings but this week it is due to meet this afternoon.

No 10 said this was because of the PM’s visit to Vienna yesterday but an afternoon Cabinet is unusual and only adds to the feeling that something could be afoot.

There is silence from the centre of the Government on both the election and reshuffle questions. We should find out in the next few hours if this is just a case of excitable speculation or something more significant.

10:07 AM BST

No 10 refuses to rule out snap general election

No 10 has refused to rule out a snap general election after Rishi Sunak hailed a fall in inflation and said there are “brighter days” ahead.

Speculation is rife in Westminster this morning that Mr Sunak could seize on the improving economic picture and trigger the election.

Numerous No 10 insiders this morning refused to give any guidance on the idea of a snap election being called. There is also speculation Mr Sunak could launch a Cabinet reshuffle.

Chris Mason, the BBC’s political editor, said that he had offered senior figures in the Government the chance to deny the prospect of a snap election being triggered but they had so far failed to do so.

09:46 AM BST

Blow for Sunak as just a quarter of voters want another Tory government

Just a quarter of voters want there to be a Conservative government after the next general election, according to a new poll highlighting the scale of the electoral challenge facing Rishi Sunak.

A survey conducted by Ipsos between May 4-18 found 25 per cent of people said a Tory government would be their preferred outcome of the next election.

Some 14 per cent said they would prefer a Tory majority government and 11 per cent said a hung parliament with the Tories as the biggest party.

But a majority of voters - 56 per cent - said a Labour government would be their preferred outcome.

That was made up of 37 per cent who said they would prefer a Labour majority government and 19 per cent who said a hung Parliament with Labour as the biggest party.

09:23 AM BST

Hunt acknowledges people do not feel better off now than a few years ago

People do still feel worse off than a few years ago, Jeremy Hunt has acknowledged.

Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme, the Chancellor said: “Do people feel better off now than a few years ago? No, because we have had something that you and I have never had in our lifetimes.

“We have had two massive economic shocks in quick succession so no, they don’t feel better than they felt a few years ago.

“The numbers show very clearly that since 2010 over a longer period of time living standards have improved, we have got four million more jobs, we have attracted more investment than anywhere in the world apart from China and the United States.

“The reason I am saying that is because this is an election year, people are going to make a choice about the future.

“When it comes to the important things that make a difference, the difficult decisions on having a flexible labour market, on getting taxes down so that we attract investment from overseas, a Conservative government will continue to take those difficult decisions.”

09:04 AM BST

Bank of England should now be able to cut interest rates, says Tory MP

Tory MP Philip Dunne said falling inflation should now allow the Bank of England to start cutting interest rates.

He said: “Inflation back within the normal range is very welcome news. Interest rates at more than double the inflation rate should now allow the Bank of England to start to cut rates.

“I hope those facing mortgage interest renewals will see lenders start to offer lower rates in anticipation of lower bank rates.”

08:54 AM BST

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg: ‘Interest rates ought to have been cut already’

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former Tory business secretary, said the Bank of England should have already cut interest rates.

He said: “Interest rates ought to have been cut already as inflation is a lagging indicator.”

08:50 AM BST

Tory MP: Bank of England should ‘actively consider’ interest rate cut

Mark Francois, a Tory former minister, said the Bank of England should now “actively consider” cutting the interest rate.

He told The Telegraph: “It’s great news that CPI inflation has fallen back to 2.3 per cent.

“As that’s only 0.3 per cent above the Bank of England’s formal inflation target, hopefully this will give the Monetary Policy Committee the confidence to actively consider rate cuts, to relieve pressure on household budgets and further boost emerging growth in the economy.”

08:44 AM BST

Pictured: Starmer leaves his London home ahead of PMQs at noon

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, is pictured this morning as he left his London home
Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, is pictured this morning as he left his London home - TS/

08:34 AM BST

Bank of England ‘certainly’ should cut interest rate, says senior Tory MP

Dame Harriett Baldwin, the Tory chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said the Bank of England “certainly” should cut the base rate at its next meeting in June.

She said: “Now that inflation is back in its target range I repeat my opinion that the independent Bank of England should have cut interest rates by a notch at the May meeting and they should certainly cut base rate at their next meeting in June.

“Yesterday’s staff report from the IMF confirms that monetary policy is still tightening and is not neutral.”

08:25 AM BST

Ex-Tory MEP urges Bank of England to cut interest rate

A former Tory MEP said the Bank of England needed to get “ahead of the curve” and start cutting interest rates.

David Campbell Bannerman, chairman of the Conservative Democratic Organisation, said: “The Bank of England haven’t covered themselves in glory over the last few years: slow to raise interest rates when needed and asleep over the LDI meltdown.

“Now they must start cutting to get growth up and keep ahead of the curve.”

08:23 AM BST

Tory MP: Interest rate cut would ‘bring relief to many’

Paul Scully, a former minister, suggested the Bank of England should now cut the interest rate.

The Tory MP said: “Inflation was running high, not because of an overheating economy but high energy prices which are coming down and so bringing inflation down too.

“An interest rate cut will bring relief to many who are fixing their mortgages for the next few years, confidence to those looking to invest in the UK and won’t affect inflation.”

08:21 AM BST

Sunak: ‘Everything is heading in the right direction’

Rishi Sunak welcomed the fall in the rate of inflation, telling reporters it was a “major milestone”, but admitted there was “more work to do”.

The Prime Minister said: “I understand that people are only just starting to feel the benefits of the improvements that we have made and that will take time for people to really feel them.

“But what we are now seeing is that everything is heading in the right direction.”

He added: “The economy grew in the first quarter of this year, faster than France, Germany and America.

“Wages have been rising faster than prices for almost a year now, energy bills are down hundreds of pounds now from where they were, mortgage rates are down from the peak and today’s news on inflation being back to normal is very welcome.

“If you put all of that together it shows we have got momentum, it shows that the plan is working but of course there is more work to do for people to really feel the benefits of all these things.

“That is why it is important that we stick to the plan. As I have said, these things don’t happen by accident.”

08:20 AM BST

Richard Tice: Bank of England has been ‘too slow’ to cut interest rate

Richard Tice, the leader of Reform UK, said the Bank of England had been “too slow” to cut the interest rate and it should announce a decision to do so today after the fall in inflation.

Mr Tice told The Telegraph: “The Bank of England was too slow to raise rates and is now too slow to cut them.

“It should reduce them today to help generate desperately needed growth; we have had no real GDP growth per person since 2020.”

08:12 AM BST

Senior Tory MP urges Bank of England to cut interest rates after inflation fall

A Tory former minister said the fall in inflation should prompt the Bank of England to make a series of cuts to the interest rate.

David Jones told The Telegraph: “We need to see a series of interest rate cuts - at least three before the end of the year.

“Inflation has been squeezed out, and now is the time to stimulate the economy.”

The Bank of England opted to keep interest rates at 5.25 per cent in May. The next decision is due to be taken on June 20.

08:10 AM BST

Hunt unsure of final cost of infected blood scandal compensation

Jeremy Hunt said he did not know how much the infected blood scandal compensation scheme will cost.

Asked if a reported figure of £10 billion was accurate, the Chancellor told BBC Breakfast that “we don’t know the final number” but it will be “many billions of pounds”.

He said the Government will “pay what it takes”.

08:07 AM BST

Labour spending plans would require £2,000 tax hike, claims Hunt

Jeremy Hunt claimed Labour’s spending plans would require tax hikes of £2,000 per household.

The Chancellor told BBC Breakfast that the Tories were prepared to take the “difficult decisions that a Labour government would not”.

He said: “The Labour priority is to increase spending, they haven’t funded all of their spending plans, we think they would have to put up taxes by about £2,000 a household to do that.

“That is a big divide in British politics and we need ot have that debate about the future because this is an election year.”

08:05 AM BST

Hunt denies being ‘Kwasi Kwarteng 2.0’

Jeremy Hunt denied that his plan to cut taxes against the advice of the IMF made him “Kwasi Kwarteng 2.0”.

Asked the question during an interview on BBC Breakfast, Mr Hunt replied: “No. And I made it very clear and in fact my record demonstrates that every time we have cut taxes it is because we can afford to do it and we have done it without increasing borrowing and that was the mistake that Kwasi made.”

07:56 AM BST

Rishi Sunak: ‘Inflation is back to where it should be’

07:53 AM BST

Chancellor signals he will defy IMF and press ahead with tax cuts

Jeremy Hunt signalled the Tories will press ahead with tax cuts despite a warning from the International Monetary Fund that the UK actually needed higher taxes.

The Chancellor said he respectfully disagreed with the IMF because he believed lower taxes were the key to delivering higher economic growth.

Asked if he was therefore planning to ignore the IMF and cut taxes before the election, Mr Hunt told BBC Breakfast: “Well, look at what we have done. We have set…”

Told that it sounded like he was indeed going to ignore the IMF and cut taxes before the election, Mr Hunt replied: “Hang on. We haven’t announced that we are going to have another fiscal event this year, we haven’t made a decision on that.

“We have said that we will make that decision when the time is right and it depends on all sorts of other factors.

“But we do want to continue on the path of bringing down the tax burden because that is how we will grow the economy.”

07:44 AM BST

Hunt suggests improving economy will be key part of Tory election campaign

Jeremy Hunt suggested the improving economic picture in the UK will be a key plank of the Conservative Party’s general election campaign message.

He argued that changes to the economic outlook were the result of “difficult decisions” the Labour Party would not have been willing to take.

The Chancellor told BBC Breakfast: “I think people will be relieved that that has happened [inflation has fallen].

“But in an election year we will be saying that as the country that has created more jobs than nearly anywhere else in Europe, that is because of difficult decisions taken by me and my Conservative predecessors on having a flexible labour market, on getting taxes down where we can, on reforming welfare that a Labour government would not take and that is the big choice that we face in an election year.”

07:40 AM BST

Inflation now back to ‘normal levels’, says Hunt

Jeremy Hunt said inflation in the UK was now “lower than the United States and the Eurozone” and he believed today’s fall in rising prices will be a “real relief for families”.

However, the Chancellor conceded that prices are still higher than they were a year ago and that is why the UK must “continue to stick to the plan to get inflation down to the 2 per cent target”.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Mr Hunt said inflation was now back at “normal levels”.

07:37 AM BST

Tory deputy chairman: Inflation fall ‘more evidence’ plan is working

Jonathan Gullis, the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, said today’s fall in inflation was “more evidence” that Rishi Sunak’s plan for the economy was working.

Mr Gullis said the Prime Minister was “delivering an economy turning a corner”.

Here is his tweet:

07:35 AM BST

Nobody will be feeling better off after inflation fall, claim Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats said the Tories had presided over the “worst cost of living crisis in a generation” and today’s fall in inflation was therefore not a cause for celebration.

Sarah Olney, the party’s Treasury spokesman, said: “Nobody will be feeling any better off after today, with families still facing a £9 billion mortgage bombshell this year alone.

“Conservative Ministers cannot celebrate today after presiding over the worst cost of living crisis in a generation.

“The after shocks of this crisis will be felt for years to come, and the blame lies squarely with this incompetent government.

“The Conservative Party should never again be trusted to manage the British economy.”

07:32 AM BST

Rachel Reeves: Not the time for a Tory ‘victory lap’ after fall in inflation

Rachel Reeves said that “now is not the time” for a Tory “victory lap” after inflation fell to 2.3 per cent in April.

The shadow chancellor claimed that families are still “worse off” after 14 years of the Conservative Party being in power.

She said: “Inflation has fallen, but now is not the time for Conservative ministers to be popping champagne corks and taking a victory lap.

“After 14 years of Conservative chaos families are worse off. Prices in the shops have soared, mortgage bills have risen and taxes are at a seventy year high. Rishi Sunak is now putting family finances at risk again with his £46 billion unfunded policy to abolish national insurance that will mean higher borrowing, higher taxes or the end of the state pension as we know it.

“It’s time for change. Labour’s first steps will deliver economic stability so we can grow our economy and keep taxes, inflation and mortgages as low as possible.”

07:30 AM BST

Sunak hails ‘major moment for the economy’ after inflation falls

Rishi Sunak has hailed a fall in inflation as a “major moment for the economy” as he claimed it was “proof” his plan was working.

The rate of consumer prices index inflation fell to 2.3 per cent in April, down from 3.2 per cent in March, according to eagerly-anticipated data published by the Office for National Statistics this morning.

It means inflation is now at its lowest level in nearly three years, providing a significant boost to Mr Sunak as he pins the Tories’ electoral hopes on an improving economy.

Mr Sunak said in a statement: “Today marks a major moment for the economy, with inflation back to normal. This is proof that the plan is working and that the difficult decisions we have taken are paying off.

“Brighter days are ahead, but only if we stick to the plan to improve economic security and opportunity for everyone.”