British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called a surprise U.K. general election for July 4, with the leader battling a Downing Street downpour and protesters to set his Conservative Party up for a bruising six-week battle to try to stop Keir Starmer’s poll-leading opposition Labour Party from taking power.

"Now is the moment for Britain to choose its future,” Sunak said Wednesday in a statement that tried to frame the U.K. as a nation emerging from economic shocks that should stick with him rather than gambling on a new leader. "I cannot and will not claim that we have got everything right — no government should.”

Moments after the drenched premier returned indoors, Starmer took aim at Sunak and the Tories’ 14 years in office. He promised to boost ailing public services, and economic growth. "Together we can stop the chaos, we can turn the page, we can start to rebuild Britain and change our country,” he said.