UK Prime Minister Sunak calls general election for July 4

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced a general election for July 4 when his Conservative Party will face its biggest challenge to its 14-year rule.

Sunak made the announcement outside the prime minister's office in Downing Street on Wednesday. He said, "Now is the moment for Britain to choose its future."

The next general election had to be held by January next year and there was much focus on when Sunak would decide to ask for the dissolution of parliament and call an election.

The Conservative Party has been in power since 2010. But public dissatisfaction with the government has been growing recently.

Britain left the European Union in 2020, and many people in the country feel their lives have yet to improve.

The administration of Boris Johnson saw a series of scandals, including lockdown-breaking parties at Downing Street during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Liz Truss government drew criticism for causing economic chaos.

Sunak took office in 2022. He has been working on lowering inflation and curbing immigration in a bid to regain public trust.

But opinion polls this month show the Conservative Party is more than 20 points behind the main opposition Labour Party in support rates.

Sunak said during his statement on Wednesday only a Conservative government will deliver a secure future with a clear plan and bold action, and that Labour has no plan.

Protesters blasted music while he was speaking, in an indication of discontent among voters.

Labour leader Keir Starmer gave his statement in London following Sunak's announcement.

Starmer said the prime minister finally announced the next general election, and this is "a moment the country needs, and has been waiting for." He added that the election is an opportunity for change.

Starmer criticized the Conservatives, saying nothing will change if they get another five years.

He said, "we can stop the chaos" and "we can start to rebuild Britain and change our country."