The conventional wisdom in Westminster is that the election will be on May 6th. But a few shadow Cabinet members have told me that they think Brown will actually go in March, an idea that they have been pushing for a while. Their argument is that this quarter’s GDP figures will be quite good, boosted by the Christmas rush, and Brown would want to go to the country before, another more disappointing set of numbers came out. Second, Brown will want to avoid people seeing the effects of the new tax arranegements which will come into force in April. Finally, if the election was on May 6th, the first week of the campaign would be lost to the school holidays.
All of the above should be taken with a slight pinch of salt, the Tories have an interest in talking up the likelihood of a March poll as it helps them get their activists out. Personally, I still expect Brown to opt for a May election. I suspect that January and February will be quite rough months for businesses as many that were hoping that extra Christmas sales would see them through end up going bankrutpt and that Brown will want as much distance as possible between that and the election.