Brown rules out early UK vote as polls dip

( Reuters ) - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown ended weeks of speculation on Saturday and ruled out an early election in what his opponents called a loss of nerve after polls showed his lead over rivals had vanished.

Brown, who took over from Tony Blair earlier this year, had in recent weeks toyed with the idea of holding an early election when opinion polls showed him far ahead of his Conservative opponents after his ruling Labour Party held a conference.

That lead evaporated in the past week. The News of the World newspaper announced it would publish polls from battleground districts on Sunday that would show Brown would lose his majority in parliament if a vote were held now.

"I'll not be calling an election and let me explain why. I have a vision for change in Britain and I want to show people how in government we are implementing it," Brown said in a short excerpt from an interview aired by the BBC.

BBC journalist Andrew Marr, who conducted the interview, said Brown told him he considered holding an early vote and understood that the apparent indecision would hurt him politically in the short run.

Opponents were scathing.

"There's no doubt that people will see this as being a loss of nerve on the part of the prime minister," said Menzies Campbell, leader of the third party, the Liberal Democrats.

"This was a charade really over the last three or four weeks," he said. "I think he and others around him will look back over what happened the past few weeks and accept that this has been grossly mishandled."

Conservative commentator Michael Portillo said: "I'm afraid his reputation for competence is a thing of the past ... He was riding on a complete high with the media. He was walking on water. And now he's sunk."

The decision to back down clearly marked a victory for Conservative leader David Cameron, who had challenged Brown to call the vote even when he was trailing far behind.

The Conservatives held their own party conference last week and polls in the past few days showed Brown's lead had suddenly dwindled or even evaporated altogether.

Under British parliamentary rules, Brown must call an election by 2010, but he can hold it earlier to seek a fresh five-year mandate if he chooses.

That had seemed to be the likely outcome when Labour was far ahead, and Brown added to election fever with a flying visit to Iraq last week and by moving his government's pre-budget report forward to the beginning of next week.

In Iraq, Brown said he was bringing 1,000 troops home before Christmas. But that backfired after it emerged that half of those troop reductions had already been announced, and the Conservatives denounced the trip as a publicity stunt.

These events appeared to give the Conservatives ammunition for their criticism of Brown as an over cautious politician who agonizes over decisions.

Strathclyde University politics Professor John Curtice said allowing election speculation to run riot was the first serious mistake of Brown's premiership.

"It raises questions certainly about the people around him," he said.

Were Brown to have held the election early and lost, he would have been the shortest-serving prime minister in British history not to have died in office.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Russia planning several new business visits to Azerbaijan by year-end - official
Russia planning several new business visits to Azerbaijan by year-end - official
Azerbaijan, Russia talk cooperation opportunities in insurance sector
Azerbaijan, Russia talk cooperation opportunities in insurance sector
Kremlin hopes for EU certification of Russia's vaccine
Kremlin hopes for EU certification of Russia's vaccine
Loading Bars
Latest
Uzbek Central Bank: Food prices have risen by 14.4%
Georgian Parliament Speaker to meet Moldovan counterpart in Greece
Brussels' utopian green energy fantasies spark energy crisis in Europe — Hungarian PM
EU prioritizes digital sector development in Azerbaijan
Russia planning several new business visits to Azerbaijan by year-end - official
Russian company to implement micro-mobile transport project in Baku
First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva makes Instagram post on visit to Zangilan (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan Investment Holding, Kazakhstan National Welfare Fund sign memorandum of co-op
SOFAZ’s revenues from profitable oil and gas sale up
Executive Power of Azerbaijan’s Tovuz district opens tender for road repairs
Kazakhstan, Russia discuss gas supply issues
Russian company may set up 'smart' bus stops in Azerbaijan's liberated lands
Azerbaijan publishes updated list of servicemen martyred during second Karabakh war
IBF VP talks growing interest of investors in Azerbaijan's liberated lands (VIDEO)
SOFAZ sees increase in budget revenues
Uzbekistan's GDP growth in 9M2021 sparks promising forecast
Azerbaijan developing preliminary conceptual design of railway route to liberated Kalbajar (PHOTO)
Goldman Sachs, Freshfields working on possible Porsche IPO
Kazakhstan to liquidate emergency wells in several regions
Large-amount loans issued in Iran's services sector
Azerbaijan, Russia talk cooperation opportunities in insurance sector
Azerbaijan records surplus in state budget
Azerbaijan's Sumgayit Technologies Park, Alat FEZ sign MoU on strategic co-op
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Head of EU delegation talks financial aid to Azerbaijan, following end of Karabakh war
U.S. weekly jobless claims drop to 19-month low
Uzbek Central Bank publishes data on country's gold, currency reserves
Trade turnover between Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan grows sharply
FIMI buys Ashot Ashkelon stake from Elbit Systems for $88m
Azerbaijan confirms 2,005 more COVID-19 cases, 1,011 recoveries
Uzbek Central Bank reveals data on total liabilities of banks
Iran sees decrease in load/unload operations in Astara port
Kremlin hopes for EU certification of Russia's vaccine
Bahar Azadi gold coin price begins to rise in Iran
India enters 100-crore vaccine club to fight Covid, PM Modi says nation scripts history
Hungarian University Forum and alumni meeting in Baku
Central Bank of Iran shares data on loans issued for trade sector
Turkmenistan doubles greenhouse tomato exports to Russia
Turkey's position on opening Zangezur corridor - unchanged – President Erdogan
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 21
Georgia shares data on its top goods exported to Russia
Iran sees increase of cargo loading/unloading at its Charak port
Turkish President to attend opening of Azerbaijan’s Fuzuli International Airport
India offered humanitarian assistance to Afghans, Taliban say after 2nd meeting
'Turkic World' project aims to meet information demand - Turkish official
South Pars field revenues account for over half of Iran's state budget
Turkmenistan looks to launch new project jointly with UNDP, WB
Central Bank of Iran announces amount of loans issued in housing, construction sector
Turkmenistan interested in political stability, security in Afghanistan – Deputy FM
Iran’s CBI reveals amount of loans issued for industrial and mining sectors
India achieves the major milestone of ‘one billion’ vaccinations
Volume of loaded/unloaded cargo in Iran’s Fereidoonkenar port down
Ruling parties of Azerbaijan, Turkey to hold meeting
Iran records increase in exports to Uzbekistan
Iranian president to visit Ardabil Province on border with Azerbaijan
Uzbekistan reveals total assets for banks with/without state share
Every martyr will live forever in hearts of Azerbaijani people - President Ilham Aliyev
SOCAR discloses oil transportation volume via Baku-Supsa
Our people did not bow down during occupation, did not forget about their native lands - Azerbaijani president
Georgia-Russia trade turnover increases in 9M2021
Azerbaijan's military units in Kalbajar, Lachin undergo inspection amid coming winter (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Georgia shares data on COVID-19 cases for October 21
SOCAR’s capital investment plan fulfilled by over 63%
SOCAR reveals volume of electricity production, consumption
Iranian currency rates for October 21
Tesla's German plant hits snag as public consultation repeated
Iranian startup companies receive more loans from local banks
Activities in Iran’s Genaveh port increase
Egypt economy forecast to grow 5.1% in year to June, 5.5% in 2022/23
Pfizer vaccine very effective against Delta variant in adolescents in Israel
Iranians detained in Azerbaijan due to falsified of customs documents sent back to Iran
Exports of Iran to Tajikistan soar
Iran begins new round of power plant overhaul operations
Zangilan will become transport and logistical center of our country - President Aliyev
SOCAR fulfills oil refining plan by over 103%
Gas could lose market share to coal this winter
Russia sees record high of 36,339 daily COVID-19 cases, crisis center says
Does Europe have enough gas stocks to get through winter?
Azerbaijan considering proposals for building new modern gas-turbine power plant
Azerbaijan announces time of commissioning floating solar power plant
Azerbaijan to develop atlas of renewable energy potential
Kazakhstan eyes attracting investments in processing industry
Turkey shares data on number of cars transshipped via local ports in 9M2021
Iran to use alternative fuel for power plants
Iran shares data on grain imports from Russia
Azerbaijan updates on renewable energy projects with ACWA Power, Masdar
Iran looking to expand export to neighboring countries - President Raisi
Amount of loans issued by Iranian banks continue to grow
Iran provides several loans in agricultural sector
Oil mixed, but solid U.S. demand underpins sentiment
1 dead, 33 injured in restaurant explosion in northeast China
Iran, Kazakhstan urged to set out a new framework for bilateral ties
Number of beneficiaries receiving subsistence allowance increases in Georgia
ADB to prioritize Uzbekistan’s transformation to market-based economy through reforms (Exclusive)
COVID-19: New cases slightly up in Kazakhstan
India for including TRIPS waiver proposal in WTO’s response package
U.S. FDA clears Moderna, J&J COVID-19 boosters, backs use of different vaccine for boost
India plans to send 50,000 MT of wheat, medical aid to Afghanistan: Report
17 killed in car crash in Egypt
WHO Director General has lauded India's Covid vaccination efforts: Health Minister
All news