[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 7 October 2007, 08:26 GMT 09:26 UK
How election fever developed
Gordon Brown interviewed by Andrew Marr
Gordon Brown tells the BBC's Andrew Marr there won't be an election

Here is a timeline of developments which culminated in Gordon Brown deciding not to hold an autumn election.

15 July: Within weeks of taking over from Tony Blair, Mr Brown appoints Cabinet Office minister Ed Miliband to work on Labour's manifesto for the next general election.

25 July: Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell says he believes there is a one-in-six chance of a general election being held in October this year, with his party on standby.

1 August: Labour vice-chairman Martin Salter says the party is "ready for an election whenever the PM calls one", and on an "election footing" - but denies there is a timetable in place

22 September: The guessing game starts in earnest when Douglas Alexander, Labour's election co-ordinator, declares that Labour is ready for a general election, whenever Mr Brown chooses to call one.

His comments come as Mr Brown arrives at Bournemouth for his first party conference as PM.

Meanwhile, housing minister Yvette Cooper says: "I think everybody is ready whenever Gordon decides to have an election.

"I'm sure he will give this a lot of serious consideration, that's the way he approaches things."

23 September: The prime minister repeatedly refuses to rule out an early election during a "curtain raiser" interview with Andrew Marr as the conference gets under way.

He declines to give a "running commentary" on his deliberations but also declines to rule out an autumn poll, insisting merely: "I think you'll find that I'm getting on with the job."

In an Observer interview the same day, Foreign Secretary David Miliband suggests that Labour is now looking forward to a second decade in power.

"We didn't solve all the problems of the world in 10 years in government. Well, this is a party that is planning how it is going to use the next 10 years to go further towards solving them," he says.

26 September: Election fever soars further when Mr Brown's closest Cabinet ally, Ed Balls, is asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme whether the bigger gamble was going to the country with Labour riding high in the polls or waiting until next year or beyond.

Mr Balls, the Children, Schools and Families Secretary, says: "It's a very interesting question as to where the gamble really lies."

But he adds: "I think the priority for him is that the country knows that his priority is delivering on their priorities."

Later that day Universities Secretary John Denham tells the BBC an early election looks "more likely than not".

He says it would be tempting to hold an election if it means that rather than having the current 60-odd Labour majority for two years the party could have a 100 majority in Parliament for five years.

And at a conference fringe meeting that night, women's minister Barbara Follett goes a step further, claiming there was an "80% chance" of an autumn election, suggesting 25 October, 1 or 8 November as possible dates.

Meanwhile, on the same day, sources close to leader David Cameron say the Tories have a 10m war chest, a draft manifesto and candidates selected in their top 200 target seats.

27 September: Any doubts that there is a real chance of a snap election being called are blown away as Labour tells those who will work for it in an election campaign to come and work for them.

The conference week ends with Labour enjoying opinion polls leads of up to 11 points, further fuelling the expectation of an early election.

2 October: Gordon Brown flies out to Iraq - and announces a cut in troop numbers a week before his long-planned statement to Parliament on Iraq. The opposition says this broke with the convention of not trying to upstage party conferences.

3 October: Conservative leader David Cameron, in his address at his party conference, challenges Mr Brown to call an election. "Let people decide who can make the changes that we really need in our country. Call that election. We will fight. Britain will win."

4 October: In a Financial Times interview, Chancellor Alistair Darling says the election date is "the prime minister's call".

But he adds: "I didn't see anything in the last three or four days in Blackpool that makes me think that the Tories have resolved some of their ideological contradictions."

Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly suggests on BBC1's Question Time that the Cabinet remains confident of beating the Tories.

"When I heard David Cameron say 'bring it on', I had one thought: 'Be careful what you wish for'," she says.

5 October: The government announces it will tell Parliament about its Comprehensive Spending Review - which sets long-term spending plans - and pre-Budget report on October 9 rather than later in the month.

5/6 October: A flurry of opinion polls taken after Mr Cameron's speech at the end of the Conservative conference suggest a much improved position for the party - with one putting it 6 points ahead of Labour in the key marginal seats.

6 October: Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he will not hold an autumn election as he wants a chance to implement his "vision" for the country.


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific