Gordon Brown announces May 6 as UK election date
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Last Updated: Tuesday, April 06, 2010, 17:46
  
London: Britain on Tuesday announced it would hold general elections on May 6 in what is being billed as one of the most hotly-contested fights between the ruling Labour led by Gordon Brown and opposition Conservatives, with opinion polls saying the verdict might throw up a hung Parliament.

"The Queen has kindly agreed to the dissolution of Parliament and the general election will take place on May 6," Prime Minister Brown, accompanied by his Cabinet members, announced on the footsteps of 10, Downing Street.

He stated this after his 22-minute meeting with Queen Elizabeth at the Buckingham Palace, amidst intense speculation that the ruling Labour party would bow out after a record 13 years in power.

The announcement sparked hectic activity across the political spectrum and corridors of power in Westminster.

Brown, whose Labour is seeking a historic fourth term in office, goes to the election with the claim that he is best suited to take Britain out of recession, while Conservative leader David Cameron promises change and undoing of the alleged mistakes made by the government.

Opinion polls have thrown up two alternatives: a clear Conservative victory or a hung Parliament. No poll in recent times has suggested a Labour victory under Brown.

In the event of Labour or Conservative not winning a majority, the Liberal Democrats will have a key say in the formation of the next government - a nightmare scenario feared by economists and financial observers.

Economy remains the number one election issue while the Brown government has also made some tough announcements in recent months on the sensitive issue of immigration.

For the first time in Britain, leaders of the three main parties - Brown (Labour), Cameron (Conservative) and Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats) - will hold three live US-style television debates before the elections.

Cameron, who promised 'real change' and a 'whole new economic model', said today: "You don't have to put up with another five years of Gordon Brown".

Insisting that the Conservative party did not have what it takes to pull Britain out of recession, Brown said: "The people have fought too hard to get Britain on the road to recovery to allow anybody to take us back to the road to recession."

According to Clegg, the election will be the "beginning of the end for Gordon Brown", and claimed Brown was "directly and personally responsible for the biggest mistakes of the last 13 years".

In his speech, Brown noted that the election date had been probably the worst-kept secret of recent years.

Over the last few months, he said, government at every time fought hard, facing the biggest world recession, to fight on behalf of hardworking families of middle and modest income.

"Over the new few weeks, I will go round the country, the lengths and breadths of the land and I will talk to the people, a very straight forward clear message: 'Britain is on the road to recovery and nothing we do should put back that recovery at risk'."

"Many big challenges and many big decisions to make over the next few months upon which our future success depends.

Get the big decisions right as we did in the last 18 months, facing the world recession and jobs prosperity and better standards of living will result.

"Get big decisions wrong and lives of hundreds of thousands of people are diminished as a result. Our economy is now moving forward but to withdraw billions of pounds from the economy will put recovery at risk," the Prime Minister said.

Brown said "unemployment has now been falling but the government that does not care to implement our plans, to help the unemployed will see unemployment rise faster again, small businesses are starting to grow but a double digit recession will hit thousands of them."

He asked the British people for "a clear and straight forward mandate" to continue the urgent and hard work of securing the recovery, building the industry for the future and creating a million skill jobs over the next five years.

"I'm also asking the British people for a mandate as we cut the deficit by half over four years through fair taxes and reduction in public expenditure."

"We will maintain and improve our frontline public services; our police, our schools and our hospitals," he said, adding he wanted to give direct guarantee to every single person of Britain - "when you need the police, when you need help for cancer care, when you need doctors at evening or weekends, when you need children to have personal tuition at school, then these public services will be there."

"We will not allow 13 years of investment and reform in our public service achievements to be put at risk," he said. Asserting that he was not a team of one but one of the team, Brown said "we will fight for fairness at all levels.

The future is within our grasp and its for a future for all. All of us, let us go for it."

"I come from an ordinary middle class family in an ordinary time and I know from where I come from and I will never forget the values, doing the right thing, doing the duty, taking responsibility, telling the truth, working hard that my parents instilled in me," he said.

Praising soldiers who have been fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan, he said his government would support them in every way.

"The mandate is also to improve public trust in our democracy and in our public life. Politics has been scarred by recent events and in the next few days I will put forward a comprehensive plan so that people of this country can be sure that there is transparent, accountable, open democratic politics pursued in our country at every stage accountable to them in the future."

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, April 06, 2010, 17:46


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