(Bloomberg) -- As visual images go, it was bad. In the pouring rain, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was drowned out by Tony Blair’s election anthem “Things Can Only Get Better” as he announced a general election for July 4.

For months, the embattled Conservative leader kept the nation guessing when he would finally call a vote largely expected in late 2024. He was trailing the Labour opposition by an abysmal 20 points and the economic news just wasn’t getting any better. It was time to call it and after a day of feverish speculation in Westminster, the lectern was pulled out in front of 10 Downing Street for a moment that needed to be perfectly choreographed - if he was to stand a chance.

Instead, rain-sodden and fighting to be heard over a protester blaring a song famously associated with Labour’s 1997 landslide election win, Sunak’s crisp and expensive-looking suit kept getting wetter and wetter in the famously unpredictable English weather. That was not the backdrop he, who has never won an election, needed as he made his 7-minute pitch to secure another term in office for his Tories.

The Liberal Democrats, the smaller opposition party, were quick to pounce with a jibe, sharing the picture of him on X along with the tag-line: “Things can only get wetter.” The UK’s biggest union, which support Labour, also poked fun at Sunak, who often invites negative press for being independently wealthy: “Forced to work in the rain unnecessarily? Join a union.”

Observers on social media, generally, had a field day.

The image of Sunak in the rain contrasted with that presented by Keir Starmer, the Labour leader and the man widely expected to become Britain’s next prime minister. Starmer responded to Sunak setting the election date from a dry wood-paneled room with two Union Jack flags behind him, a background akin to that normally used by Britain’s leader when making a statement.

Sunak’s own party was quick to lament the optics. Several Tory politicians, including a cabinet minister, told Bloomberg privately that he should have had an umbrella or given his statement inside. One also objected to the timing, and said it was a mistake to do the statement on a Wednesday, given that’s the day that Bray — the infamous protester — is most often in Westminster.

Conservative Party leaders have a bit of a history in recent years of ignominious statements that risk fueling a narrative for the worse. 

Former Prime Minister Theresa May famously gave a leader’s speech at the Tory conference in 2017 where her backdrop fell apart as she spoke, chiming with the mood of her faltering leadership. The danger for Sunak is similar: that this dour image risks setting the wrong tone for the campaign.

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