• | 4:03 pm

Sunak calls UK snap polls in July, India-UK FTA deal likely after that

With the announcement of snap polls, the India-UK FTA deal can be signed only after a new UK government comes in

Sunak calls UK snap polls in July, India-UK FTA deal likely after that
[Source photo: Chetan Jha]

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday announced snap polls in the UK on 4 July, at least five months ahead of schedule.

Forty-four-year-old finance professional Sunak became PM in September 2022 after his predecessor and former UK foreign secretary Liz Truss’s short stint in office.

Truss had lost the support of Tory members following her hastily assembled mini-budget, which introduced significant tax cuts.

Announcing the snap polls in a rain-soaked Downing Street, Sunak said this was the “moment for Britain to choose its future,” adding that the Tories could be trusted to lead the country amid global instability.

The decision  came even as the Tories were trailing 20 percentage points behind Labor in a recent poll, with some members of Parliament (MPs) weighing submitting letters of no confidence.

In an online Survation poll conducted on 9-10 May, respondents were asked if the Westminster election was happening tomorrow and which party they would vote for. Of the 845 participants, 373 (44.15%) voted for the Labor candidate, and 203 (24.03%) chose the Conservative party. 

Labor leader and a strong contender to Sunak, Keir Starmer, meanwhile, pledged to “rebuild Britain.”

Starmer said the snap polls are a chance to end the “chaos and division” of the 14-year long regime, adding that the country has been “going round and round in circles.”

“We can deliver economic stability, cut the NHS waiting times, and secure our borders with a new Border Security Command,” he said, adding that his party would work towards reducing energy bills, tackling antisocial behavior, and ensuring the appointment of teachers in public schools. 

The new parliament is expected to meet on 9 July, and the new speaker and MPs will be sworn in. The formal state opening will be held on 17 July. 

With the announcement of snap polls in the UK, the impending India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) can be signed only after a new UK government takes charge

The negotiations on the FTA are currently in their fourteenth round.

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