Page last updated at 11:59 GMT, Sunday, 5 April 2009 12:59 UK

Brown 'won't talk election dates'

Barack Obama and Gordon Brown
A post-G20 poll suggests Mr Brown has cut into the Conservative lead

Gordon Brown has insisted the economy is his "first priority" and refused to speculate about when he might call a general election.

The prime minister was asked in a Sky News interview if he could rule out an election this year.

He said: "I am not going to get into talk about dates. Our first priority is jobs, it's homes and it's businesses."

Mr Brown can call a general election at any time before June 2010. Polls suggest the Tory lead has been cut.

He told Sky News' Sunday Live: "We have got to show people how we can take the country through this difficulty.

"I think if you were a citizen of Britain looking at what's happening in the economy you would want our first priority to be exactly what it is.

"And that is taking this country through the difficulties, preparing ourselves for the future, getting the economy onto a growth path, recognising that it is a global recession and that we have got to co-operate with other countries."

Speculation

"Our first priority, and it is our first priority, is jobs and it's homes and it's businesses," he said.

"That's the only thing on my mind at the moment - how we can take the action that is necessary to take us through this downturn."

Mr Brown's comments came as a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times suggested that Labour had cut the Conservative lead from 10% to 7% in the wake of the G20 summit - the narrowest gap between the parties in this poll this year.

The online poll of 2,125 people on Friday and Saturday suggested Conservative support at 41%, Labour at 34% and the Liberal Democrats at 16%.

There has been speculation over recent months that the prime minister might be planning to call a snap election if the G20 summit went well, although a 2010 election is still seen as the most likely date.

Mr Brown has been wary of allowing election speculation to run after being accused by the Conservatives of "bottling" apparent plans to stage a snap election in November 2007, a few months after he became prime minister.



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