Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced that he will hold a general election in 2024, ending speculation about his plans to extend his term until 2025. Sunak made the declaration in a speech to journalists at Number 10, saying that next year will be an election year for the UK and the US.

The decision comes as Sunak faces growing pressure from the public and his own party over his handling of the Rwanda crisis and the economy. A recent poll showed that 73 per cent of Brits want a general election before May, while only 12 per cent are willing to wait until 2025.

Sunak had hinted at an autumn election in a video posted in October, asking: “So what can a country achieve in 52 weeks? Watch this space.” However, some Tory strategists had suggested October 31 as a possible date, giving the Conservatives more time to recover from the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has fuelled rumours of a spring election by cutting National Insurance by 2 per cent from January, instead of April. This would give voters a chance to feel the benefit of the tax cut before a potential May election.