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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 October 2007, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Petition quip backfires on Brown
Gordon Brown
Mr Brown announced on Saturday there would be no autumn poll
The number of people signing an online petition calling for a general election has leapt from 26 to 10,956 since Gordon Brown mentioned it on Wednesday.

Mr Brown said the petition, on Downing Street's website, proved there was no "clamour" from voters for an election.

He said at prime minister's questions that this justified his decision not to hold a poll in the autumn.

No 10 refused to comment on the rise in signatories, but a spokesman for the Tories said: "Over to you, Mr Brown."


The petition calls for "a general election in 2007 to allow England its right to a democratically-elected leader".

"In order to effectively run the country, a prime minister needs the approval that comes with an election," it adds.

"The current prime minister has not been tested by an election. This compromises his ability to govern effectively as he has no mandate for change."

One of the early signatories, Andrew Constantine, of the English Democrats party, which campaigns for an English parliament, said: "I was disappointed that Mr Brown bottled it. We were gearing up for a campaign."

A screen grab of the online petition
The online petition has been given a "closing date" of 26 January
At prime minister's questions, Mr Brown mentioned how few people had endorsed the document.

This followed criticism from Conservative leader David Cameron for "dithering" over whether to call a snap ballot.

"He talks about a clamour for an election," Mr Brown said. "I looked at the Downing Street website this morning. Certainly there is a petition calling for an election.

"It is signed by 26 people and not one of them are the Conservative front bench."

The prime minister indicated there would be no election until at least 2009 in a BBC interview recorded on Saturday.

This followed several weeks of speculation about whether he would announce a poll, something he does not actually have to do until 2010.

Earlier this week, Mr Brown dismissed claims he had not been brave enough to call an election, saying: "I wanted to get on with my job of putting my vision of what the future of the country was to the people of the country."

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