UK election announced for July 4

With his party slowly sinking in opinion polls, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has decided on a damage limitation strategy, calling an early summer election rather than clinging on to the last possible moment. The BBC reported earlier that it will be held July 4, anticipating Sunak's official announcement outside a rain-soaked 10 Downing Street.

Recent local elections saw the Conservatives thrashed so badly it evoked the comical prospect of a party that might not even be able to serve as official opposition to an expected Labour government: fortunate for them the Scottish National Party burned down since that registered as a genuine possibility. As it is, Labour leader Keir Starmer likely expects to see a massive majority this autumn. Formally on the center-left, he's lately been eager to please right-wingers who are giving up on the Tories.

As the third Prime Minister in as many years, political obituaries for Sunak may be brief; he was the first Prime Minister with a formally-correct Vulcan name and his wife is very wealthy.

Previously: U.K. faces prospect of fourth prime minister in 18 months as Conservative Party turns once again on own leader