Labour Party on alert for early election: report

Officials in Britain's governing Labour Party have been put on alert to expect an early election, possibly as soon as October.

Labour Party on alert for early election: report

Officials in Britain's governing Labour Party have been put on alert to expect an early election, possibly as soon as October, The Times reported Wednesday, quoting a senior party official.

The daily quoted Martin Salter, Labour vice-chairman, as saying: "I can confirm that the party has been put on alert for an early election that could take place as soon as this autumn."

Salter later told Britain's domestic news agency the Press Association that there was not an official timetable in place.

But he added: "We have been put on an election footing and preparations are under way so that we are ready for an election whenever the prime minister chooses to call it."

But a senior Downing Street official, speaking on condition of anonymity, however, denied that the reason Labour was drumming up funds was because Brown wanted to call an early election.

"There is nothing to justify saying that this is because Brown is planning to spring an autumn election," the official said, after Brown returned from his first visit to Washington as prime minister.

Speculation has been rife that Prime Minister Gordon Brown will call an election within the next year even though the deadline for the next vote is not until May 2010.

Just over a month into his premiership, Labour is leading the polls for the first time in a year.

He became Britain's leader without even a vote within the Labour Party, as no prospective challengers received enough parliamentary support to stand against him.

Brown passed his first electoral test as prime minister less than two weeks ago when Labour held on to two key parliamentary seats in closely-watched by-elections. The main opposition Conservatives failed to rank more than third in either.

If he was to call a snap general election, however, Labour's already strained finances may be tested.

The party said on July 17 that it was 25 million pounds (37.1 million euros, 50.7 million dollars) in the red, despite cutting two million pounds off its debts last year.

"The finances aren't there yet but there are all sorts of discreet talks going on with bankers about loans and with donors about bringing forward cash they might have given next year to this," The Times quoted an unnamed "senior Brown ally" as saying.

A spokesman for the Labour Party was not immediately available to respond to the report.

AFP

Last Mod: 01 Ağustos 2007, 15:22
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