(Reuters) Prime Minister Gordon Brown kept election speculation alive on Friday by scheduling two major announcements for early next week, though opinion polls showed his party's commanding poll lead evaporating.
Brown will update parliament on plans to scale down British forces in Iraq on Monday while Chancellor Alistair Darling will announce government spending plans on Tuesday.
That fits in with a scenario of Brown rushing out major announcements ready to call an election in early November, two and a half years before he needs to.
But analysts believe an election is far less likely after three opinion polls showed the Labour's lead over the opposition Conservatives shrinking or even disappearing.
"Whether they will or not will depend on their own analysis of the polls and at the moment it is looking highly uncertain," said George Buckley, chief UK economist at Deutsche Bank.
Wyn Grant, politics professor at Warwick University, said Brown must weigh up whether Labour could increase its parliamentary majority in a snap poll. "I think the chances are against that," he said.
"They've created this expectation there is going to be an election, so if they back down now it looks as if they are scared of going to the country at this time. So they've painted themselves into a corner to some extent," he told Reuters.
Opposition parties raised the pressure on Brown to say whether there would be an election.