Gordon Brown has scrapped plans to hold an early general election, provoking Tory jibes that he has been forced into a “humiliating” retreat after a slump in the polls.
After studying private Labour opinion polls and focus group research, the prime minister concluded it was too risky to go to the country this autumn ”“ and indicated last night a general election might be delayed until 2009. The decision comes as a Sunday Times poll this weekend shows the Tories have swept into a three-point lead, having been more than 10 points behind only last weekend. It is the first time David Cameron’s party has been ahead since Brown took over as prime minister.
A separate poll for the News of World shows the Tory lead is even bigger in marginal seats, rising to six points ahead of Labour. Both surveys suggest there would be a hung parliament if the election were held now.