Narrowing polls give British PM glimmer of hope
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Last Updated: Tuesday, December 15, 2009, 23:29
  
London: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown got a boost from a poll on Tuesday showing his Labour Party closing the gap on the opposition Conservatives, fuelling its hopes of avoiding total election wipeout next year.

The new opinion poll also comes amid reports that Brown -- long dismissed by most commentators as a lame-duck premier on his way out -- may call elections as early as March to take advantage of an upswing in support.

"There is still a mountain to climb, but the narrower the gap the greater the chance of an earlier election," said Tony Travers, political analyst at the London School of Economics.

Under Britain's electoral system the Conservatives need to be 6-7 per cent ahead of Labour to be sure of an overall majority, he said. "So when they are in the range of 9-10 percent they are close to the danger zone," he told agency.

While current ratings would still give the Tories victory, Brown aides hope that economic recovery anticipated in the first quarter of next year will help buoy his support before general elections due by next June.

For more than a year, polls have given the Conservative Party -- hungry for power after 12 years in opposition following former premier Tony Blair's landslide win in 1997 -- in a double-digit lead over Brown's moribund Labour Party.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, December 15, 2009, 23:29


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