Britain set for election on May 6

By Calvin Palmer

After weeks of speculation, Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown is expected to confirm tomorrow that the General Election will take place on May 6.

A Labour Party official said the Prime Minister will travel to Buckingham Palace to ask Queen Elizabeth II for permission to dissolve Parliament. An election has to take place by June 3.

For the dour and uncharismatic Brown, the election could spell the end of Labour’s grip on power. But after 13 years of Labour rule, some pundits believe change is in the air.

Harold Wilson took office as Labour Prime Minister in 1964 after a campaign that used the slogan “After 13 years of Tory misrule.” The Conservative Party leader David Cameron will probably accuse Labour of the same.

It is likely to be the most closely contested election for two decades.

Brown’s platform for re-election will likely warn voters that they cannot afford to trust the Conservatives, arguing that people have worked too hard to let Tory policies set the country “back on the road to recession”.

Cameron, by contrast, will stake his claim to power by championing “the Great Ignored”.

Labour has been trailing by as much as 10 points in the opinion polls, although one published in The Guardian on Sunday had the gap between the two major parties as only four points.

In the course of the campaign the Tory leader will spend a record £18 million ($24.3 million) trying to win the 117 seats that he needs to command a majority in the House of Commons.

The bulk of the election war chest will be concentrated on wooing an estimated 100,000 crucial voters in the key marginal constituencies.

Labour Party strategists admit they are the underdogs in the election but described their mood as “resilient and determined”. They believe that Cameron has made a strategic error in “putting politics before economics” with his policy on National Insurance.

Cameron faces a daunting challenge, like Barack Obama, he is an untried and inexperienced. The challenge facing Cameron is daunting. The scale of the turnaround required for him to take office has not been achieved by the Conservatives for 80 years.

Recent opinion polls suggest the General Election may result in a hung Parliament, in which no party has an absolute majority, for the first time since 1974.

Cameron said on Sunday that a hung Parliament would damage British interests and create uncertainty at a time of economic difficulty.

Well he would say that, wouldn’t he?

[Based on reports by The Daily Telegraph and Associated Press.]

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