UK Sets July 4 Date for Election Likely to Oust Conservative Party, Spelling Uncertainty for Crypto Hub Plans

The opposition Labour Party has been silent on crypto, but said it is interested in promoting tokenization in the country.

AccessTimeIconMay 22, 2024 at 4:18 p.m. UTC
Updated May 23, 2024 at 10:28 a.m. UTC
  • Prime Minister Rishi Sunak set July 4 as the date for a U.K. general election that's likely to see his ruling Conservative Party lose power.
  • Conservative policy was to promote the U.K. as a hub for the crypto industry, while the Labour Party has not made its stance to the industry clear.

A U.K. general election, which could see the crypto-friendly Conservative Party lose its governing mandate, will take place on July 4, earlier than expected.

"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 the general election on the fourth of July," U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in his statement on Wednesday.

The Conservative Party has said it wants the U.K. to be a crypto hub and has been instrumental in passing legislation recognizing digital assets as regulated financial services in the country. In March, the government hosted members of the crypto community at the prime minister’s official residence at No.10, Downing Street to restate its plan to build legislation for the sector. Stablecoin and staking legislation was expected to come out in the coming weeks, though so far none has been proposed.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who was among the first Conservative Party politicians to set U.K. crypto hub plans in motion, set the date for the election, which could see his party fall after a turbulent 14 years of rule that included the 2020 exit from the European Union and the Covid pandemic.

The last general election, held in December 2019, handed the Conservatives – also known as the Tories – 365 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons. Second-placed Labour won 202. What followed was a period that saw four prime ministers pass through the doors of No. 10, including Liz Truss, who served just 50 days, the shortest term in U.K. history. Her predecessor, Boris Johnson, was forced to resign after breaking Covid lockdown rules and a scandal relating to the appointment of a deputy chief whip.

The opposition Labour Party is the favorite to win the election, according to polls of voting intentions. Labour has not made any statement about crypto legislation. However, the party has said it wants the U.K. to be a tokenization hub and will support the Bank of England's digital pound plans. Tokenization is the creation of a blockchain-based object that represents a real-world asset such as a work of art or a bar of gold.

UPDATE (May 22, 2024, 16:31 UTC): Adds Rishi Sunak quote to 2nd paragraph.

Edited by Sheldon Reback and Sandali Handagama.


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Camomile Shumba

Camomile Shumba is a CoinDesk regulatory reporter based in the UK. She previously worked as an intern for Business Insider and Bloomberg News. She does not currently hold value in any digital currencies or projects.