"Emails smears: Now Brown pays the price"

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Post by racehorse » 01-07-2010 11:51 AM

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/bcecb612-fac1-11de-a53

Brown damaged by attempted leadership coup

By George Parker, Political Editor

Published: January 6 2010 13:24 | Last updated: January 6 2010 20:36

Gordon Brown on Wednesday faced down an attempted Labour leadership coup, but his authority and hopes of a political revival took a battering on a dramatic day in Westminster as senior cabinet ministers offered only lukewarm support.

The prime minister was relieved that the latest attempt to topple him attracted only a trickle of support, after two ex-cabinet ministers called for a secret ballot of Labour MPs to settle “once and for all” whether he should lead the party into the next election. The attempted putsch by Geoff Hoon, a former defence secretary, and Patricia Hewitt, former trade secretary, was hastily planned and ill-timed, coming just as Mr Brown has been showing signs of a political recovery.

Nick Brown, Labour’s chief whip, claimed the rebellion had been a flop. He reflected the anger of many MPs when he said: “It’s pretty shameful what Geoff Hoon has done.”

While the prime minister believes the rebellion has been crushed before it even started, the belated and at times grudging expressions of support from some of his most senior cabinet ministers were ominous. Lord Mandelson, business secretary, and Alistair Darling, chancellor, were among those who initially offered only lukewarm words of support for the prime minister, while David Miliband, foreign secretary, took almost six hours to give his qualified backing.

Mr Brown’s aides insisted the low-key response from ministers was a sign that the government was not rattled and that a “relaxed” prime minister wanted his colleagues to continue with “business as usual”.

But the hours of silence from potential Labour leadership contenders including Harriet Harman, deputy leader, and Mr Miliband were taken as a sign that they were waiting to see if the rebellion would build momentum.

The initial reticence of Lord Mandelson and Mr Darling was seen by some as a signal that Mr Brown should not take their support for granted. Both Lord Mandelson and Mr Darling are disgruntled with Mr Brown’s attempt to suggest that Labour can carry on spending on public services rather than stressing the need for tough action to tackle the budget deficit.

Lord Mandelson, who helped to keep Mr Brown in his job after the abortive leadership coup last June, offered a comment through his spokesman: “No one should overreact to this initiative,” he said. “It is not led by members of the government. No one has resigned from the government. The prime minister continues to have the support of his colleagues and we should carry on government business as usual.”

Mr Darling, a close friend of Mr Hoon, was said by aides to have been ignorant of the plot. But the chancellor’s statement simply recorded the fact that the government should focus on the economy and did not offer explicit backing to Mr Brown.

Unless one or more of Mr Brown’s ministers resign in the coming days, the latest attempted coup is likely to be the last chance for Labour to abandon its leader. Polling day is expected on May 6.

Many Labour MPs were furious at the move’s timing. The party has been showing signs of recovery in the polls and Mr Brown has appeared more confident at the despatch box.
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Post by racehorse » 01-07-2010 12:08 PM

I have always believed Geoff Hoon who I have known since he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Louisville School of Law in the early 1980's would be an excellent Labour Party Prime Minister. He is a person of real intelligence, honor, and sincere conviction. The Labour Party should appreciate his efforts as it was probably their best hope of clinging to power.

In any event, I still feel he has a very bright future and hope that after Labour is overwhelmingly and deservedly routed in the upcoming election, his party comes to their senses and names him as party leader to replace Gordon Brown.

Take care, Geoff. You will be okay!


--

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... wn-EU.html

Geoff Hoon profile: unlikely assassin aims to give Gordon Brown the elbow

Geoff Hoon, a keen music fan, claims to have been a fan of the band Elbow before they hit the big time last year.


By Andrew Porter, Political Editor

Published: 10:00PM GMT 06 Jan 2010

The group's name could have been the codename for his plot to oust the Prime Minister. But as it stands, Mr Hoon, unlike Elbow, won't be winning a plethora of awards for his work.

Mr Hoon is an unlikely assassin. A barrister, a former faceless MEP, and now a backbencher who many expect to stand down at the election.

Along with Alistair Darling, as a young minister he was ordered by Charlie Whelan to shave off his moustache. New Labour, newly propelled into power, had zero-tolerance on facial hair and the ambitious had to abide by the rules.

Mr Hoon, who shrugged off his nickname of “Buff,” rose to the Cabinet as defence secretary in 1999, a job he held for more than five years and over the tumultuous period of the Iraq War.

His legal background stood him in good stead when the glare of Hutton Inquiry trawled over the events surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly, who had been “outted” as the source of the BBC’s sexed-up dossier story.

As defence secretary he had regular run-ins with Mr Brown and pleaded for money for the Ministry of Defence. As an avowed supporter of Tony Blair, Mr Hoon was always going to arouse some suspicion among Mr Brown’s supporters.

But when Mr Blair turned on him and humiliated him to a non-job he was happily snapped up as a new friend and ally of Mr Brown.

Mr Hoon’s reward when Mr Brown did finally enter Number 10 in July 2007 was a plum job of chief whip. A year later a reshuffle saw Nick Brown, a very old ally of Mr Brown, return as chief whip.

Mr Hoon became Transport Secretary and seemed happy to return to the backbenchers.

His expenses claims were exposed by The Daily Telegraph and showed that Mr Hoon had amassed a £1.6 million property portfolio while living in a grace and favour flat and claiming second home allowances on a house in his constituency.

But his discomfort over that was to be compounded when he lost the chance of one last big job. On leaving the Cabinet he had been tipped the wink that he that he was in the frame for a big European job that would come up in the autumn.

Instead the new EU high representative on foreign affairs role, which was in Gordon Brown’s gift, went astonishingly to Baroness Ashton.

It was probably the final straw for Mr Hoon.

-
The Right Honorable Geoffrey Hoon
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Post by racehorse » 01-07-2010 12:39 PM

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/bae89478-fb00 ... ck_check=1

Conservatives struggle to hide their glee

By Jean Eaglesham, Chief Political Correspondent

Published: January 6 2010 22:16 | Last updated: January 7 2010 13:29

The Tories struggled to hide their satisfaction on Wednesday as Labour’s rebel duo delivered with panache the general election message that David Cameron had fought to convey at the start of the week.

The opposition party’s campaign slogan was adapted rapidly by the Conservativehome activists’ website, on a mocked-up poster featuring Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt that stated: “Even we can’t go on like this”.

Eric Pickles, the Conservative party chairman, took to the airwaves to use the latest evidence of Labour splits to renew Tory calls for an immediate general election. It was irresponsible for such a “completely divided, dysfunctional, faction-ridden” government to remain in power during the worst economic crisis since the second world war, Mr Pickles said.

Privately, the Tory enjoyment of watching their deadly rivals act out an apparent “death wish” – to quote one Labour backbencher – was tempered with caution about the potential electoral impact of a leadership coup.

The Tories have long planned for Gordon Brown to be their opponent in this year’s ballot box fight. Some of their key messages on the need for change are predicated on polling evidence of voters’ dislike of the prime minister, which suggests he is less popular than his party.

Alan Johnson, the home secretary, is the Labour leader that Mr Cameron would least like to fight at a general election. Mr Johnson is seen as a popular figure and strong communicator, whose working class roots would throw the Conservative leader’s privileged background into sharp relief.

But senior Tories suggested on Wednesday that the electoral risk of a prime ministerial ousting had receded. “I’m not sure installing Johnson would make a big difference, even if they could do it without a bloodbath – it might have been different had this been six months ago,” a shadow cabinet member told the Financial Times.

The Tories believe voters, already jaded about politicians following the furore over MPs’ expenses, might react badly to another un-elected Labour prime minister being foisted on the country less than six months before the general election.

Public scepticism towards Westminster helps explain why the Conservatives were careful to eschew public gloating over Mr Brown’s misfortunes. Mr Cameron wants to demonstrate empathy with voters’ concerns about the economy, rather than engage in too much political point scoring.

The latest bout of government infighting may exacerbate voters’ dissatisfaction with the status quo. For the Tories, though, the real electoral hurdle is converting dislike of Labour into enthusiasm for themselves. The narrowing of their opinion poll lead in the run-up to Christmas has made for a sober mood in the shadow cabinet.

“It feels like we’re running a marathon at the moment and we’ve still got five miles to go,” one Conservative insider said.
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Post by racehorse » 01-07-2010 08:10 PM

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/electio ... ewitt.html

Gordon Brown fights off challenge from Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt

Gordon Brown has been forced to rely on lukewarm backing from senior Cabinet colleagues to see off an attempt to oust him as Prime Minister.


By Andrew Porter, Political Editor

Published: 9:43PM GMT 06 Jan 2010

Mr Brown was told of the letter minutes before he faced David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions at midday

In a surprise move, Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt, both former Cabinet ministers, called for Labour MPs to be given a secret ballot on whether Mr Brown should go on.

Mr Hoon, the Prime Minister’s former chief whip, and Miss Hewitt, the former health secretary, wrote in a joint letter that the party was “deeply divided” just months before a general election.

The call plunged Downing Street into crisis, with Mr Brown spending several hours trying to persuade Cabinet colleagues to dismiss the demands and support him.

By last night, the attempted coup, which had begun at lunchtime, appeared to have failed as no senior figures were prepared to back it. But while every senior minister issued a statement condemning the letter, few voiced strong support for Mr Brown.

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, who has long harboured leadership ambitions, took until 7pm to say that he supported the “re-election campaign for a Labour government”.

Alistair Darling, the Chancellor and a close friend of Mr Hoon, said: “As far as I’m concerned, we should be concentrating on the business of government and getting through the recession.”

Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, also issued a muted statement of support.

“No one should overreact to this initiative. It is not led by members of the Government. No one has resigned from the Government,” said his spokesman.

“The Prime Minister continues to have the support of his colleagues and we should carry on government business as usual.” It took Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, more than five hours to come out and back Mr Brown. He told reporters that the secret ballot “was not going to happen”. Alan Johnson and Harriet Harman – both talked of as potential successors to Mr Brown – similarly did not comment until after 5pm.

Rumours had been circulating for 24 hours before Mr Hoon and Miss Hewitt’s intervention that a Cabinet minister was on the verge of resigning over Mr Brown’s leadership.

Mr Brown was told of the letter minutes before he faced David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions at midday.

In their letter, the former Cabinet ministers wrote: “This is a clear opportunity to finally lay this matter to rest.

“The continued speculation and uncertainty is allowing our opponents to portray us as dispirited and disunited. It is damaging our ability to set out our strong case to the electorate. It is giving our political opponents an easy target. In what will inevitably be a difficult and demanding election campaign, we must have a determined and united parliamentary party.

“It is our job to lead the fight against our political opponents. We can only do that if we resolve these distractions.”

Mr Hoon said a ballot could be held if enough MPs demanded one at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party in the House of Commons on Monday night.

For the coup to succeed, the plotters needed public support from senior figures.

However, with Mr Hoon known to be disillusioned after failing recently to be appointed to a senior position in the EU, and Miss Hewitt standing down as an MP at the election, their bid lacked credibility.

Also, Labour MPs feared a turbulent leadership contest in the run up to the general election.

Some Labour MPs appeared genuinely angry that Mr Hoon and Miss Hewitt – a known Blairite – had thrown the leadership back into the spotlight when the party was trying to present a united front in the battle against Mr Cameron.

No 10 began an urgent operation to find public backers for Mr Brown as the Prime Minister faced the first genuine challenge to his leadership since James Purnell resigned from the Cabinet last June.

Some ministers admitted privately that they wanted to remain silent and see where the plot went. But as the attempted coup appeared to run out of steam, they eventually voiced their support.

The delays and weaknesses in the endorsements will be seen as a blow to Mr Brown’s authority.

Mr Brown would have been furious that Mr Hoon, whom he rescued from the political wilderness and made chief whip in his first Cabinet, was behind the plot.

His supporters will also be angry at the timing of the move, after what they felt was a successful first week of election year. The Prime Minister had also given Mr Cameron an uncomfortable time in the Commons over Tory marriage tax plans and would have felt buoyed by a rare good performance.

Ed Balls, his closest Cabinet colleague and friend, said: “The country will think we have lost our marbles.”

John Mann, a Labour backbencher, claimed Mr Hoon had only acted because he did not get the European Union high representative job last month. He said it was “sour grapes”.

Labour rules do not allow for a secret ballot, but Tony Lloyd, the chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, could hold a non-binding vote if he chose.

Mr Lloyd called Mr Hoon’s intervention “a sideshow” and insisted that most Labour MPs did not want a ballot. He added: “It is not what the Parliamentary Labour Party wants nor, frankly, what the British public wants.”
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Post by racehorse » 02-21-2010 01:17 AM

June 3, 2010 is the latest possible date that Prime Minister Gordon Brown can call for an election to be held on. While it has recently recovered a little in the polls, the Labour party's long reign in government over Great Britain appears to be coming to an end soon. ;)
--


Brown in appeal to voters as poll shows Labour is closing

Prime Minister attacks the Conservatives for changing their PR and slogans, but not their policies


By Brian Brady, Whitehall Editor

Sunday, 21 February 2010


Gordon Brown has mounted a remarkable and angry defence against "lies" that could threaten his chances of a return to No 10 after the general election. The accusations concern his behaviour and treatment of staff.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent on Sunday, the Prime Minister revealed his frustration at the way he is portrayed by what he sees as a "hostile" media.

In particular, he dismissed the suggestion that he once assaulted a senior aide while rushing to a Downing Street reception. Three allegations of physical violence on members of staff appear in a new book about the Brown regime by the political commentator Andrew Rawnsley. It is serialised in The Observer today.

"It is simply a lie to say that I've ever hit anybody in my life," Mr Brown said. "I may have done one or two good tackles at rugby, but the idea that is suggested in this so-called inside account is just ludicrous."

The problem of getting his message across at a time when he faced damaging claims that he had behaved violently towards junior staff during a "reign of terror" in Downing Street lay behind Mr Brown's decision to agree to his controversial televised interview with Piers Morgan last week.

"What I say to the public has been mediated by newspapers that are very hostile to me," Mr Brown told the IoS. "It's important that people form their own impression, rather than have an impression imposed upon them by other people."

Mr Brown's strike against his detractors came as the parties began campaigning in earnest for a general election that is now only weeks away. In a keynote speech to party activists yesterday, he issued a "clarion call" to disillusioned Labour supporters and signalled that the economy would be at the heart of his campaign to claw back the Tories' lead in opinion polls.

The outburst coincided with a new poll showing Labour had cut the Tories' lead to just six points, the smallest gap since December 2008. A YouGov survey for The Sunday Times showed Labour jumping two points since last month to 33 per cent and the Conservatives falling to 39 per cent. The share would deny the Tories an overall majority at the general election.

Tory grandee Lord Heseltine claimed David Cameron would not win a general election outright and would struggle to form a government. The former deputy prime minister said he would "put money" on a hung parliament, with the Tories the largest party.

The Prime Minister used his interview with the IoS to set the scene for the campaign, attempting to establish "clear red water" between the Government and the Opposition across a wide range of policy areas.

In an attack of unusual ferocity, he claimed that Mr Cameron was leading a party that was right-wing, "unreconstructed" and "would destroy opportunities for millions of people to get middle-class jobs and incomes".

Mr Brown said: "The Conservatives have done all the public relations part of ... trying to persuade people they've changed. They've got the posters, they've got the slick advertising, they've got the big budgets for slogans which suggest they're different. But, in practice, when you actually look at the policies, there's not much evidence that they've changed."

Mr Brown also confirmed that he will be giving evidence to the Iraq conflict within days – in effect, ruling out any lingering possibility that he might call an early election.

However, his appearance before the Chilcot inquiry is likely to increase the pressure on the former premier Tony Blair. Mr Brown hinted strongly that he intended to distance himself from the big decisions that propelled the UK into war on Iraq.

After confirming that he supported the war on the grounds of Saddam Hussein's "breach of international obligations" – rather than his alleged weapons of mass destruction – Mr Brown said he was obliged to support the decision. He added: "I'll deal with all these questions when I give evidence but, for me, it's always been about a country that refused to co-operate with the international community over many, many years, when it was in breach of its international obligations.

"In Britain, it's a cabinet decision. You accept the collective responsibility in a cabinet, and I would expect every member of a cabinet I was in to accept their collective responsibility. When a decision's made you've got to stand up and defend it."

Labour has trailed the Tories in the opinion polls for more than two years, since the end of Mr Brown's "honeymoon period" as Prime Minister, but the gap has been closing gradually in recent weeks. In a speech in Warwick yesterday, launching the election slogan "A future fair for all", he attempted to attract disillusioned voters back to Labour, saying: "Take a second look at us, and take a long, hard look at them."

He developed the theme in his interview with this newspaper, insisting that the election was a choice between two opposing approaches, rather than a "referendum" on the performance of the Government. . . .


Rest of Article at:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 05977.html

-
A furious Gordon Brown says some newspapers deliberately misrepresent him.
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Post by racehorse » 02-28-2010 03:51 PM

If this new and shocking Sunday Times poll is indicative of what really occurs the Labour party will be the beneficiary of the greatest political upset and comeback in British History. I think this poll is a severe outlier and an obvious abberation as it differs greatly from all other surveys for the last two years.

Still, the campaign ahead may prove far more interesting than was anticipated. We will see what happens. ;)

From The Sunday Times

February 28, 2010

Gordon Brown on course to win election

David Smith and Jonathan Oliver

GORDON BROWN is on course to remain prime minister after the general election as a new Sunday Times poll reveals that Labour is now just two points behind the Tories.

The YouGov survey places David Cameron’s Conservatives on 37%, as against 35% for Labour — the closest gap between the parties in more than two years.

It means Labour is heading for a total of 317 seats, nine short of an overall majority, with the Tories languishing on a total of just 263 MPs. Such an outcome would mean Brown could stay in office and deny Cameron the keys to No 10.

The poll result presents the Conservative leader with one of the greatest challenges of his leadership today as he makes the keynote speech to his party’s spring forum.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Cameron defied his right-wing critics who believe the party’s modernisation has gone too far. He said: “Some people say to me, ‘Play things safe; try to win by default — the government is in a mess.’ I say, ‘No. This is the Conservative party that is offering radical change. I’m doubling up on change’.”

With the expected May 6 election now just over two months away, Cameron will seek to reconnect with voters through a series of pledges, including a plan to restore discipline in schools. In an echo of the speech that won him the Tory leadership in 2005, he will address the Brighton conference without notes.

“This is very, very clear,” he said. “I’ve made my choice. There is no going back. This election is about change and we will be offering change.”

Cameron insisted he was unconcerned about the collapse in Tory support. “The polls move around a lot,” he said. “The voters tell us that they want change. They want to know the Conservative party itself has changed.”

The narrowing of the Conservative lead has been dramatic and rapid. Until January the Tories held close to a 10-point lead. But a week ago a Sunday Times YouGov poll put the gap at six points, suggesting a hung parliament, with the Tories still on course to become the largest party.

In the last election, in 2005, support for the parties generally held steady in the run-up to polling day. YouGov polling for The Sunday Times showed Labour leads of between two and five points from January through to the June election. Labour’s margin of victory was three points.

In today’s poll, Labour has risen two points on the previous week, from 33%, while the Conservatives have dropped two from 39%. The Liberal Democrats are unchanged on 17%.

The collapse in the Tory poll lead will put pressure on the pound in financial markets tomorrow by adding to fears that a hung parliament will mean insufficient action is taken to cut Britain’s budget deficit.

The last time the gap between the two main parties came this close and the Tory support was so low was in autumn 2007. That was before Brown’s honeymoon ended with his failure to call a snap general election. The Conservatives went on to peak in May 2008 with a 26-point lead.

Today’s poll suggests recent claims about Brown’s tantrums and his intimidation of staff may have actually helped him. Just 28% of people believe the prime minister is a bully and 50% agree he has a “strong sense of right and wrong”.

The survey disclosed growing concerns about Cameron’s elite background and lack of empathy with ordinary families. Just 25% think that Cameron understands problems faced by “people like me”, compared with 35% for Brown.

Furthermore, only 28% think the Conservative leader wants to do the best for “all groups in Britain”, against 39% for the prime minister.

Peter Kellner, president of YouGov, the Sunday Times pollster, said that while individual polls could throw up unexpected shifts, the recent trend had been for a significant narrowing of the Tory lead.

“Our daily polls should be regarded a bit like the FTSE index: a 100-point rise or fall in a day might be a blip or a trend — often we can’t tell for a few days,” he said.

“I am confident the Tory lead is down this weekend but I can’t promise whether the latest movement will be sustained, increased or reversed in the days ahead. One of the reasons for doing daily polls is to monitor these fluctuations.”

The Tory lead of 6%, which was first reported in The Sunday Times, was maintained in YouGov’s polls in The Sun last week. The increase in support for Labour on Thursday and Friday, as the latest Sunday Times poll was being conducted, came as figures showed a strengthening economic recovery.

Under the British parliamentary system, the prime minister remains in office after a general election until he either tenders his resignation or is defeated in a Commons no confidence vote.

If the election result leaves Labour just short of an overall majority, Brown is likely to battle on, with Labour running the country as a minority government. The party would seek to do deals with minor parties such as Ulster’s Democratic Unionist party or, if necessary, Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats, to get its legislation through parliament.

If repeated in a general election on the basis of a uniform swing in all constituencies, today’s poll would leave Labour just nine seats short of the 326 needed for an overall majority in the new 650-seat House of Commons.

The Tories would be well behind on 263 seats, with the Liberal Democrats on 41. Kellner calculated that, even allowing for a larger swing to the Tories in marginal seats, where the party has spent millions of pounds on campaigning, the poll was consistent with Labour being by far the largest party.

He suggested that in such a scenario Labour might win 300 seats, with the Tories on 270 and the Lib Dems on 50.

Labour will believe it is benefiting from the upturn in the economy. For the first time in a YouGov poll since July 2007, before the financial crisis, people trust Labour more than the Tories to run the economy.

YouGov, which began polling after the 2001 election, has developed a reputation for accuracy. Its final Sunday Times poll in 2005 was precisely right, and it accurately predicted Boris Johnson’s victory in the 2008 London mayoral election and the results of last year’s Euro elections.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/p ... 7388743981
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Post by racehorse » 04-05-2010 10:05 AM

Sometime this week, Gordon Brown who can not delay any further will be forced by Law to ask the Queen to call for a General Election. Prospects for a Conservative victory look extremely promising. ;)

--

British Parliamentary Election

Polling Data

Poll Date Conservatives Labour Liberal Democrats Spread

RCP Average 3/23 - 4/1 37.8 28.3
20.0 Conservatives +9.5

The Sun/Sunday Times 3/31 - 4/1 39 29 20 Conservatives +10

Angus Reid 3/31 - 4/1 38 27 20 Conservatives +11

The Guardian 3/30 - 3/31 38 29 23 Conservatives +9

Daily Express 3/29 - 3/29 38 28 18 Conservatives +10

Metro 3/23 - 3/29 37 27 19 Conservatives +10

The Independent 3/26 - 3/28 37 30 20 Conservatives +7



http://www.realclearworld.com/epolls/20 ... ion-2.html
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Post by racehorse » 04-06-2010 09:54 AM



General election 2010: Gordon Brown and David Cameron hit the campaign trail

The main party leaders have hit the campaign trail following Gordon Brown’s announcement that he has asked the Queen to dissolve Parliament, triggering a general election on May 6.


By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent

Published: 2:41PM BST 06 Apr 2010

Mr Brown travelled to Rochester in Kent, while David Cameron, the Conservative leader, toured Birmingham and Nick Clegg, for the Liberal Democrats, travelled to Watford.

Earlier, the Prime Minister stood on the steps of No 10 and confirmed the “worst-kept secret” in politics.

He said: "The Queen has kindly agreed to the dissolution of Parliament and a General Election will take place on May 6." . . .
Rest of Article at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/electio ... trail.html
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Post by racehorse » 04-15-2010 06:21 AM

Snip:
-

General Election 2010: Conservatives lead in 100 key seats, Telegraph poll shows

The Conservatives are on course for a convincing election victory after a new poll for The Daily Telegraph showed the party is leading Labour by 12 points in crucial marginal constituencies.



By Andrew Porter, Political Editor

Published: 10:30PM BST 14 Apr 2010

On the eve of tonight’s first ever leaders’ television debate, the most comprehensive survey of swing seats since the campaign began showed David Cameron comfortably ahead.

The poll by Crosby/Textor was carried out in 100 marginal seats; 80 held by Labour and 20 by the Liberal Democrats.

43 per cent of voters questioned said they would vote Conservative, 31 per cent Labour and 20 Lib Dem.

Labour have dropped five points since the 2005 election in these seats, while the Tories have gained seven points, the poll showed.

The results suggest the Conservatives are much more likely to achieve an outright majority at the election than previously thought.

One recent poll indicated that the Tory lead had narrowed to just three points, making a hung parliament the most likely result.

However, it is in the marginal constituencies - where pollsters believe the election will be won or lost - that the Conservatives have concentrated most of their efforts.

This latest poll appears to suggest that the strategy - masterminded by Lord Ashcroft - is paying off.

The new poll also predicts that turnout in the marginals is likely to be better than many have predicted with 65 per cent of those questioned saying they would definitely vote.

A high turnout is likely to favour the Conservatives who need to win 117 seats from other parties to secure an overall majority. The party needs a national swing of almost seven per cent to achieve this.

As part of the unique poll for the Telegraph, Crosby/Textor told voters who their candidates are before asking them who they would vote for.

This gives a more accurate result because in marginal seats voters are more likely to be loyal to individual MPs than parties.

The poll found that the Tories would pick up 74 of the 100 seats from Labour. However, they would not pick up any of the seats held by Liberal Democrats. . . .
Rest of Article at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/electio ... shows.html
-

Crosby/Textor poll for the Daily Telegraph

The poll for the Daily Telegraph shows the Conservatives ahead in swing seats.
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Post by racehorse » 04-19-2010 12:01 PM


General Election 2010 poll: Nick Clegg's success built on an already incoming tide

Liberal Democrats have shored up their core support while appealing afresh to uncommitted voters, writes John Curtice.


By John Curtice

Published: 8:00AM BST 18 Apr 2010

It was always there in the background. A nagging question. 'Why aren't the Liberal Democrats doing better?'.

The circumstances seemed ideal for a third party resurgence. An incumbent Labour government that has been deeply unpopular for much of the last five years.

An opposition Conservative party that had apparently not 'sealed the deal'. Faith in the political establishment shattered by the MPs' expenses scandal.

Never had the classic Liberal cry of a 'plague on both your houses' seemed potentially more appealing than now.

Yet the Liberal Democrats had spent the last five years ditching not one leader, but two – and ended up with a relative unknown who seemingly was struggling to make much impression.

Moreover, as evidenced in Wednesday's manifesto launch, the party seemed intent on fighting the campaign on the basis that it was supposedly taking the most responsible approach to cutting the budget deficit – hardly, it seemed, the voice of protest.

Still, even before Thursday night's leaders debate there were beginning to be signs that the Lib Dems might finally be stirring.

In polls conducted wholly or mostly between Monday and Wednesday, the party's average poll rating reached 21 per cent, up two points on the previous week, and as high as it has been at any time since 2005.

Yet the warning signs were ignored. In the Granada studio David Cameron and Gordon Brown started, as ever, to slug it out with each other.

Nick Clegg seized his chance, his appeal summed up by the one-liner, "the more they argue with each other, the more they sound exactly the same".

All five instant polls of viewers' reactions found that far more people thought the Lib Dem leader had performed best than reckoned either of his rivals had.

Moreover, Mr Clegg scored above all on restoring trust in politics – that explosive issue that has already helped to blow away many an incumbent MP's career.

Today's ICM poll for The Sunday Telegraph – much of it conducted just before the leaders' debate, though some afterwards – confirms that Nick Clegg's success built upon an already incoming tide.

At 27 per cent, the party's rating is up by six points on last week.

The Tory lead over Labour, meanwhile, is down from eight points to five – confirming another poll trends in what has been a disappointing week for Mr Cameron.

On these figures the Tory leader cannot even be sure of winning the most seats, let alone securing an overall majority.

Two patterns in particular seem to lie behind the Lib Dem surge. First, more of those who said they voted Lib Dem in 2005 now say they will stick with the party again rather than switch to either the Conservatives or Labour.

Second, the party is picking up more support than before from those who said they did not vote last time.

In short, the party has shored up its core support while appealing afresh to uncommitted voters.

This clearly raises questions about whether the surge will prove sustainable. Previously uncommitted voters might be here today but easily gone tomorrow, especially when their memory of Mr Clegg's performance on Thursday begins to fade.

But we have seen third party surges sustain themselves through to polling day. During the 1983 contest the then SDP/Liberal Alliance added six points to its tally.

Ukip came from nowhere in the 2004 European election campaign, eventually grabbing third place.

Still, there are two more debates and three weeks of campaigning yet to come. Last week ensured the spotlight is now shone on Nick Clegg and his party. But it remains to be seen whether they wilt or prosper.
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John Curtice is Professor of Politics, Strathclyde University.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/electio ... -tide.html
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Nick Clegg leaves the Shrigley Hall Hotel in Pott Shrigley, Cheshire, as early polls from the first prime ministerial election debate saw him come out on top- Photo: PA


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Post by racehorse » 04-22-2010 01:40 PM

Unfortunately this important debate will not be available on BBC America which is carried on most American cable systems. However, it will be available on BBC World News which is also carried by a few American systems (including mine :) ). The debate will start in about 20 minutes (3 ET/2CT/1MT/12PT ). It will perhaps be critical in determining whether David Cameron and the Conservatives win an outright electoral majority. Another strong performance by Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg (or less likely Labour's Gordon Brown) would make the prospects of a "hung Parliament" very probable which many feel would be a disastrous outcome.

Snip:



General Election 2010: TV debate is ‘make or break,’ says David Cameron

Tonight's general election leaders’ TV debate will be a “make or break moment” for the Conservative campaign, David Cameron has admitted.


By Christopher Hope, in Exeter

Published: 12:31PM BST 22 Apr 2010

The Tory leader also hinted at his tactics at the second live televised debate, insisting he would not be looking to launch personal attacks on Nick Clegg.

The strong performance in the first debate by Mr Clegg last week saw a surge in support for the Liberal Democrats, turning the election into a genuine three horse race.

Speaking exclusively to The Daily Telegraph in Exeter before setting off for Bristol where the debate will be held, Mr Cameron said he was looking forward to tonight, insisting it was a big challenge.

But he added: “I am bit nervous. Switch on the television and people say ‘this is make or break time. You think, ‘I had better not screw it up then’.

“But it is an exciting challenge. The main thing is to keep calm and see the big picture.” . . .
Rest of Article at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/electio ... meron.html
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Post by racehorse » 04-22-2010 02:07 PM

racehorse wrote: Unfortunately this important debate will not be available on BBC America which is carried on most American cable systems. However, it will be available on BBC World News which is also carried by a few American systems (including mine :) ). The debate will start in about 20 minutes (3 ET/2CT/1MT/12PT ).


[/B]

The debate is also being shown on CSPAN 3. :)

It is on NOW!
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Post by racehorse » 04-22-2010 11:10 PM


Cameron exposes Labour lies to snatch TV debate victory

By KEVIN SCHOFIELD Political Correspondent

Published: Today

PASSIONATE David Cameron stormed to victory in last night's TV election debate - as he SAVAGED Gordon Brown over Labour's campaign lies.

The Tory leader set the second debate alight by SHAMING the shaken PM in front of the nation for his grubby tactics.

The outburst forced Mr Brown on to the backfoot and he again trailed in last.

Last week's winner Nick Clegg was badly rattled throughout and came second.

Mr Cameron mocked him for claiming for a £2.49 cake pan on his Commons expenses.

He said: "Frankly, Nick, we all had problems with this, whether it was moats or politicians claiming on phantom mortgages or kitchens and cake tins.

"Don't anyone put themselves on a pedestal on this."

The Tory boss scooped 36 per cent of votes in The Sun's YouGov poll, Lib Dem Mr Clegg 32 and Mr Brown 29.

Fired-up Mr Cameron said Labour claims that his party would scrap a raft of old people's benefits were "pure and simple lies".

He insisted the Tories would KEEP the free TV licence for old people, the pension credit, winter fuel allowance and free bus passes.

Labour leaflets have claimed the Conservatives would scrap all those benefits.

Mr Cameron also pledged to protect free eye tests for the elderly.

Challenging Mr Brown to withdraw the smears, Mr Cameron said: "I think it's disgraceful.

"You shouldn't be frightening people in an election campaign. You really should be ashamed of yourself."

Squirming Mr Brown, who often referred to hastily-scribbled notes, said he had not personally authorised the leaflets shoved through letter boxes throughout the country.

But Mr Cameron accused a weary-looking PM of "sounding frankly desperate".

He said it was time for a "clean break after 13 years". And he added: "I think the Conservatives are best placed to offer that.

"If you vote Conservative, you know you'll get fresh new leadership from a new team on May 7."

The fuse on the row was lit in February when Gordon Brown told his party's conference that families faced an end to free bus passes for the elderly and free prescriptions under the Tories.

That was followed by a sustained campaign of scare stories and leaflets put out by Labour's ruthless election machine.

Mr Cameron - who got a standing ovation as he walked into a nearby Bristol bar for a Guinness after the TV clash - also exposed Labour's shameful scare tactics over Tory plans for the economy.

He accused Mr Brown of telling voters that Conservative vows to block Labour's planned National Insurance rise would send unemployment soaring.

He dismissed the charge, saying: "The worst thing you could do is put a tax on every single job in our country. That's why over 1,100 business leaders have said, 'Don't do this'.

"The threat to our recovery is not cutting waste - it's the jobs tax."

A confident Mr Cameron also lambasted his two rivals for bickering over immigration.

Mr Brown said the Lib Dems' plan for an amnesty for illegal immigrants would lead to foreigners flocking to these shores.

But Mr Cameron dismissed both Labour and the Lib Dem claims.

He said: "The only way we'll get real change and real action, sensible action, on this issue is from a Conservative government.

"I think the country wants and deserves firm immigration control."

Analysts said around eight million viewers saw the Tory leader's commanding performance in the debate on Sky News.

Shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove said: "David showed passion and intellect."

Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt added: "David offered a voice of genuine leadership."
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http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/ne ... ctory.html
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Post by racehorse » 04-22-2010 11:26 PM

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Post by Corvid » 04-23-2010 10:41 AM

James Murdoch.

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