08 February 2010

Has Brown made the decision?

On an emotional Sunday we had the well connected Patrick Hennessy tell the world that Brown would be calling for the removal vans on 15 April.  Sources, presumably different ones that spoke to Hennessy, have now told The Times that the budget has been “pencilled in” for 24 March, which means the election will be on 6 May:

The Times has learnt that the Treasury and Downing Street are acting on the “working assumption” of a late March Budget, ensuring that the run-up to the election campaign is dominated by the economy and the rival plans of the main parties to slash the record budget deficit.

Although Mr Darling still formally has to announce the date, Cabinet sources say that March 24 has been heavily pencilled in. It would be followed by several days of Commons debate on the Budget in which Labour would inevitably try to lay traps for the opposition parties.

According to this analysis, the Labour party will need much more than a ‘dividing lines Budget’ to avoid defeat.

The plain fact is that Brown may have no choice about the election date, even if he is considering going earlier than 6 May.  As we discussed yesterday, if Labour’s share of the vote remains static, he has to put off the fateful day for as long as possible.

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