British PM 'upping the tempo' in general election fight

24th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Saturday he was "upping the tempo" with just under two weeks to go before the May 6 general election in which he is battling to avoid being kicked out of office.

Brown will engage more with ordinary members of the public, his Labour party said, after he was outshone by Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats in the first two of three pre-poll television debates.

"As you get nearer to election day you are always upping the tempo," Brown told reporters travelling with him to Corby, central England. "Of course we are upping the tempo. We are upping the tempo today and tomorrow."

Clegg's Liberal Democrats, for years the third party of British politics, have surged ahead in the polls following his strong performances in TV debates on the last two Thursdays.

But one out Saturday indicated that David Cameron's Conservatives were still in the lead overall.

The Daily Mail/Harris poll of 1,048 put the Tories on 34 percent, the Liberal Democrats on 29 and Labour on 26.

This backs up recent surveys which suggest Britain is heading for its first hung parliament -- where no one party has an overall majority -- since 1974.

Cameron warned of the dangers of a hung parliament Saturday while campaigning in Essex, southeast England, saying it would lead to "bickering, horse-trading and arguing" and delay the process of change.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary David Miliband launched a stinging attack on the Liberal Democrats, a contrast to recent days when Labour ministers seem to have been cosying up to the centrists amid speculation the two parties could work together in a hung parliament.

"Anti-politics is fine for opposition, but it is not sufficient for government," Miliband told the Guardian.

"There is a market for anti-politics due to the reaction to the sickening expenses scandal, but it's not a basis for running the country."

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg is taking the day off from campaigning to spend time with his three young sons, who have just returned to Britain after being stuck with family in Spain due to volcanic ash from Iceland.

Cameron was also taking a break to attend his sister's wedding.

© 2010 AFP

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