Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ministers Backing October Election after Exes Clean-Up; PM Prepares 'National Plan' to Get Britain out of Recession

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ministers Backing October Election after Exes Clean-Up; PM Prepares 'National Plan' to Get Britain out of Recession

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

AN October election is a growing prospect as Gordon Brown maps out his political fightback, the Standard has learned.

Arguments for "going on the front foot" with an early autumn contest are gaining support among senior ministers, including some Cabinet members whose advice will be sought by the Prime Minister.

Mr Brown is said to be preparing a "national plan" showing how Britain will climb out of recession, to be announced after the expected rout in the local and European elections. There will also be a Cabinet reshuffle to remove ministers tainted by scandal and sweeping reforms of parliamentary expenses.

One senior minister said: "The argument is that as we reform expenses this summer, we can stand with the moral authority of having cleaned up the sys-teand return to political debate about major choices facing the country.

"There is an argument that we will do best by getting back on the front foot, generating some momentum and putting the Conservatives under real pressure to admit that their cuts would mean more job losses.

"I don't know what Gordon thinks, but it is being talked about among min-isters.Mr Brown will make no decisions until the last minute but Labour Party strategists have studied all the options for election dates, including October. It is widely assumed that the Prime Minister would delay the poll until May 2010, almost the latest possible date, in the hope that the economy will show a return to growth.

The aim of Mr Brown's national plan is to show Labour has not run out of ideas and to create a debate about the big economic choices.

Downing Street strategists were encouraged this week when Mr Brown achieved his best headlines since the expenses scandal by pledging to scrap the "gentleman's club" style of running Westminster. …

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