June 12, 2024
The UK is gearing up for a snap general election on July 4, 2024, a move that has taken many by surprise. This election is pivotal, as it could mark the end of a 14-year Conservative rule or, alternatively, cement the Conservative Party’s dominance for nearly two decades. This article will provide an overview of the background, the current political landscape, the potential implications, and the key issues at play, all tailored for UK legal students who need a comprehensive yet accessible understanding of the situation.


Political Context

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called for an early general election, a decision seen by many as a significant gamble given the current political climate. The election, initially expected in late 2024 or early 2025, has been brought forward to July 2024. This decision comes amidst a backdrop of turbulent politics, economic challenges, and ongoing public dissatisfaction with the Conservative Party.

Recent Conservative History

The Conservative Party has faced numerous challenges over the past few years, including the fallout from Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic, and a series of scandals. Former Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss both had tumultuous tenures, with Johnson stepping down amid scandal and Truss’s brief leadership marked by economic instability.

Current Political Landscape

Rishi Sunak’s Gamble

Sunak’s decision to call an early election is seen as an attempt to capitalise on recent positive economic news, such as a reduction in inflation rates. However, opinion polls have consistently shown the Conservatives trailing the Labour Party by about 20 points. This significant gap raises questions about Sunak’s strategy and whether it will pay off.

Sunak has also emphasised his government’s efforts to address illegal immigration, particularly through the controversial policy of processing asylum claims in Rwanda. This policy, however, faces ongoing legal challenges and has not yet been fully implemented, casting doubt on its effectiveness as a campaign point.

Keir Starmer and the Labour Party

Labour leader Keir Starmer, a former barrister and human rights lawyer, has positioned himself as a serious and principled leader. Since taking over the party leadership, Starmer has focused on addressing internal issues and re-establishing Labour as a credible alternative to the Conservatives. Labour’s lead in the polls suggests widespread public support for a change in government.

Starmer’s strategy has involved distancing the party from the more radical elements of its recent past and presenting a more centrist, pragmatic platform. This approach aims to attract moderate voters who may be disillusioned with the Conservatives but wary of drastic change.

Key Issues and Campaign Focus


The state of the UK economy is a central issue in this election. While Sunak will emphasise recent improvements and his handling of the economy during the pandemic, Starmer is likely to focus on the ongoing cost of living crisis and economic inequality.

The UK has faced significant economic challenges, including high inflation, rising energy prices, and stagnant wages. Starmer’s campaign is expected to highlight these issues, proposing measures to increase support for working families, improve public services, and tackle economic disparity.


Immigration remains a hot-button issue, with Sunak’s controversial policy of processing asylum claims in Rwanda taking centre stage. This policy has faced significant legal challenges and has not yet resulted in any deportations. Starmer and Labour are expected to critique this approach and propose alternative solutions.

Labour’s stance on immigration is likely to focus on balancing border security with humanitarian considerations, aiming to create a more effective and compassionate system for handling asylum claims and reducing illegal immigration.

Public Services

The state of public services, particularly the National Health Service (NHS), will be a critical issue. Labour is likely to highlight the strain on the NHS and argue for increased investment and reform, while the Conservatives will defend their record and propose further measures to improve efficiency and outcomes.

The NHS has been under immense pressure, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Issues such as long waiting times, staff shortages, and funding constraints are expected to be key points of contention between the parties.

Climate Change

Climate change and environmental policies are also expected to feature prominently in the election. The UK has committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and both parties will likely present their plans for reaching this target. Labour may emphasise green energy investment and sustainability, while the Conservatives could focus on balancing environmental goals with economic growth.


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Implications and Future Forecast

Potential Outcomes

If the Labour Party wins, it would mark a significant shift in UK politics, ending over a decade of Conservative rule and potentially bringing new policies and priorities to the forefront. A Labour government could implement substantial changes in areas such as healthcare, education, and workers’ rights.

A Conservative victory, while currently seen as unlikely, would reinforce their political dominance and potentially lead to further policy continuity and stability. Sunak’s government would likely continue focusing on economic recovery, immigration control, and public service reforms.

Impact on Legislation

The outcome of the election will have a substantial impact on pending legislation and future legal reforms. A Labour government may prioritise different legislative agendas, focusing on social justice, public service reforms, and stricter regulations on various industries. Conversely, a Conservative win would likely continue the party’s current legislative trajectory.

International Relations

The election result will also influence the UK’s international relations, particularly its approach to Brexit and its relationship with the European Union. Labour has indicated a desire for a closer relationship with the EU, which could lead to changes in trade policies and regulatory alignment. The Conservatives, however, are expected to maintain their stance on Brexit, emphasising sovereignty and independent trade agreements.


The upcoming UK general election is a crucial event that could reshape the country’s political landscape. For UK legal students, understanding the context, key players, and potential outcomes is essential. Whether it results in a change of government or the continuation of Conservative leadership, the election will have significant implications for the UK’s future policies and governance.

Stay informed and engaged as the political drama unfolds in the weeks leading up to July 4, 2024.


Words by Mallika Singhal


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