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Last Updated: Friday, 5 October 2007, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
Autumn election prospects
Jon Sopel
Jon Sopel
Presenter
The Politics Show

On the Politics Show

There is a moment as the skipper of an aircraft when you are going down the runway and have built up such speed and momentum that stopping a take off is just not possible.

No matter what. Well, that is virtually where we are now in British politics on election timing.

Gordon Brown has told his cabin crew 'cabin doors to automatic and cross check'.

The labour party shuttle has taxied onto the runway and the air control tower has cleared him for take off.

GORDON BROWN
Gordon Brown MP
Elected leader: June 2007
Age when elected: 56

If you are like me, that moment when the engines roar, your head is thrown back in the seat, and the plane really starts to accelerate down the runway, is when you always - however fleetingly - consider your own mortality. I suspect Captain Brown is locked in that moment of thought.

Am I safe to to take off; is it too late to pull out?

For the moment everything still points towards take-off and an Autumn general election: Iraq statement Monday, comprehensive spending review on Tuesday - a clearing of the political decks, to change from an aeronautical to nautical metaphor.

So which way will he go? We consider his options.

Abortion debate

Doctor prescribes
Abortion debate... explosive for the devolved governments?

Abortion is one of those issues which people feel very strongly about - either way.

Many believe passionately that the embryo is a human life from the very moment of conception - and that abortion is murder.

Others believe equally strongly that it is wrong for those with religious or other convictions to try and dictate to women what they can do with their own fertility. For forty years, abortion has been legal in Britain.

But in the next few months - irrespective of any election - there's likely to be a vote in Parliament on the issue.

Anti-abortion campaigners will not at this stage seek to ban it altogether; instead, they want to lower the upper age limit at which an abortion can be performed - currently twenty-four weeks of pregnancy.

On this narrower issue, the anti-abortion lobby appear to have public opinion on their side - as an exclusive poll for the Politics Show will reveal.

The abortion debate is particularly explosive for the devolved governments of Scotland and Northern Ireland, and is playing itself out there too, as we will be hearing.

In his Autumn Political Cartoon Gallery, Gary Barker gives his own personal take on the politics of the week...



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