Read in full: Rishi Sunak's speech as he announces General Election

22 May 2024, 18:08 | Updated: 22 May 2024, 18:14

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak. Picture: Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Rishi Sunak has announced a General Election will take place on July 4. Read his speech in full below.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Mr Sunak said: "In the last five years our country has fought through the most challenging time since the Second World War.

"As I stand here as your Prime Minister, I can’t help but reflect that my first proper introduction to you was just over four years ago.

"I stood behind one of the podiums upstairs in the building behind me.I told you that we faced a generation-defining moment and that we as a society would not be judged by some Government action but by the small acts of kindness that we showed one another.

"You met that challenge and then some and I have never been prouder to be British.And when I introduced the furlough scheme, I did so not because I saw a country simply in need of desperate help, albeit we were, but because I saw a country whose future hung in the balance.

"I could be bold and trust in the tens of millions of you at home that you would rise to the moment, or I could accept the inevitable, millions of job losses, and pick up the pieces.In truth it was no choice at all.

"I have never and will never leave the people of this country to face the darkest of days alone. And you know that, because you’ve seen it.

"As I did then I will forever do everything in my power to provide you with the strongest possible protection I can. That is my promise to you.

"Because for so many of us it’s easy to forget the scale of what we’ve been through. We were hit by a pandemic that upended normal life.

"Who would have thought that the Government would ever tell us how many times a day we could leave our homes? Then just as we were recovering from Covid, war returned to Europe with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine sending your energy bills spiralling.

"I came to office above all to restore economic stability. Economic stability is the bedrock of any future success whether that is rising wages and good jobs, investment in our public services, or the defence of the country.

"And because of our collective sacrifice and your hard work, we have reached two major milestones in delivering that stability, showing that when we work together anything is possible.Our economy is now growing faster than anyone predicted, outpacing Germany, France and the United States.

"And this morning it was confirmed that inflation is back to normal. This means that the pressure on prices will ease and mortgage rates will come down.

"This is proof that the plan and priorities I set out are working.I recognise that it has not always been easy. Some of you will only just be starting to feel the benefits and for some it might still be hard when you look at your bank balance.

"But this hard-earned economic stability was only ever meant to be the beginning. 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. To decide whether we want to build on the progress we have made or risk going back to square one with no plan and no certainty.

"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 on 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. Putin’s Russia is waging a brutal war in Ukraine and will not stop there if he succeeds.

"That war has also made it all too clear the risk to our energy security.In the Middle East the forces of Islamist extremism threaten regional and ultimately global stability.

"These tensions are exploited by extremists who seek to undermine our values and seek to divide our values here at home.

"China is looking to dominate the 21st century by stealing a lead in technology and migration is being weaponised by hostile states to threaten the integrity of our borders.

"And these uncertain times call for a clear plan and bold action to chart a course for a secure future. You must choose in this election who has that plan, who is prepared to take the bold action necessary to secure a better future for our country and our children.

"Now I cannot and will not claim that we have got everything right. No government should. But I am proud of what we have achieved together, the bold actions we have taken and I’m confident about what we can do in the future.

"We’ve tackled inflation, controlled debt, cut workers’ taxes and increased the state pension by £900.

"We’ve reduced taxes on investment and seized the opportunities of Brexit to make this the best country in the world to grow a business, put record amounts of funding into our NHS and ensured it is now training the doctors and nurses it needs in the decades to come.

"We’ve reformed education and our children are now the best readers in the Western world.We prioritised energy security and your family finances over environmental dogma in our approach to net zero.

"We fully funded an increase in defence spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP. We made a decision to invest more in local transport that you actually use rather than endlessly plough more money into HS2.

"We set out a comprehensive plan to reform our welfare system, to make it fair for those who pay for it as well as those who need it.Immigration is finally coming down and we are stopping the boats with our Rwanda partnership.

"And we will make sure that the next generation grows up smoke-free.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.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?

"If you don’t have the conviction to stick to anything you say, if you don’t have the courage to tell people what you want to do, and if you don’t have a plan, how can you possibly be trusted to lead our country, especially at this most uncertain of times?

"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."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Gordon Ramsay 'lucky to be alive' as star shows off shocking injuries after being involved 'brutal' cycling accident

Gordon Ramsay 'lucky to be alive' as star shows off shocking injuries after being involved 'brutal' cycling accident

Putin is 'not interested in genuine peace' in Ukraine, Rishi Sunak tells world in Switzerland

Putin is 'not interested in genuine peace' in Ukraine, Rishi Sunak tells world leaders in Switzerland

Kate's big comeback: Princess and William share tender moment as she re-joins royals at Trooping the Colour

Kate's big comeback: Princess and William share tender moment as she re-joins royals at Trooping the Colour

The attack, which took place in a garden east Germany on Friday night, saw the knifeman stab four people before police arrived at the scene.

German police shoot dead knifeman at Euro 2024 party after rampage leaves one dead and three injured

Businessman sues Apple after wife finds ‘deleted’ iPhone messages to prostitute

Businessman sues Apple after wife finds ‘deleted’ iPhone messages to prostitute

Olympic cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins is bankrupt, homeless and has "lost absolutely everything", according to his lawyer.

Olympic cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins has 'lost absolutely everything' as star faces selling medals following bankruptcy

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer promises no capital gains tax on sales of homes as he dismisses tax hike claims

Home Secretary calls for 'urgent investigation' after shock footage emerges of police ramming escaped cow

Fury grows as shock footage shows police ramming escaped cow with squad car

Eight Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza - as Palestinian death toll reaches '37,000'

Eight Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack since January

Prince Louis steals the show as he dances along to bagpipes at Trooping the Colour

Prince Louis steals the show as he dances along to bagpipes on Buckingham Palace balcony

Coventry's Radford Road, where the schoolboy was killed

Schoolboy killed in hit and run as police urgently look for driver

Police rammed the cow

Shock as police ram escaped cow on the street, as officers say it 'was hurt while being moved to safety'

Exclusive
c

Angela Rayner condemns 'intimidation' of Labour's Rosie Duffield after she cancels hustings amid 'trolling and spite'

Kate and the royals came out on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the flypast

Kate joins King Charles and other royals on Buckingham Palace balcony for RAF flypast after Trooping the Colour

Exclusive
Ben Habib has hit back at suggestions Nigel Farage could join the Conservative party

Reform deputy hits back at suggestion Nigel Farage could join Tories, after leader tells LBC he could lead merged party

Olympic rings on the Eiffel Tower in Paris

IOC gives 14 Russians and 11 Belarusians neutral status for Paris Olympics