Those early election rumours just won’t go away. Here’s Peter Oborne writing in the Mail today about the decision to publish this year’s Budget on 22 April:
“But there is another, more intriguing reason for the delay. Gordon Brown, acting on the advice of Peter Mandelson, wants to keep open the option of a General Election this year.
The Prime Minister hopes that U.S. President Obama’s visit to Britain at the start of April for the G20 economic summit will boost his own credibility.
He wants the budget to be held in the wake of the visit and to unveil a massive boost to public spending, like the one Obama has ordered in the U.S.
Brown believes that such a ploy will isolate the Conservatives, bereft of any plausible economic alternative, and allow him to call a June General Election, which will act as a vote of confidence. We will see.”
Myself, I can’t see Brown going through with it. But it’s yet another example of how much stock the PM’s inner circle are placing in Obama’s G20 visit. Although we at Coffee House believe those Labour hopes are misplaced, it’s difficult to think of many other occasions when Brown could conceivably reverse his party’s slide.