PM fires gun on British election with budget date

14:28, March 11, 2010      

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The British government will unveil a pre-election budget on March 24, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Wednesday, fuelling expectations of a general election in May.

Brown added that Britain's economic recovery "remains very fragile" and warned of "bumps in the road" ahead.

But in a personal appeal to voters, he said he would "not let them down" in steering the economy to safety, contrasting himself with Conservative leader David Cameron, whose party threatens to oust Labour at the poll.
The budget will be held "in two weeks' time", Brown said, while the Treasury confirmed the date was March 24.

Ministers have suggested the general election will be held on May 6 and this could be confirmed days after the budget, leading into a campaign lasting five weeks or a month.

Having emerged from recession in the fourth quarter of last year with growth of 0.3 percent, the economy is expected to dominate electioneering.

The Conservatives had long held a double-digit lead in opinion polls but Labour has clawed back ground since data in January showed Britain emerged from recession, promising a close fight.

Source: Global Times
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