Page last updated at 18:25 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Labour manifesto 'to be most radical in recent times'

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown says he is getting on with business of government

Gordon Brown's general election manifesto will be the "most radical programme" that Labour has offered "in recent times", a party source has said.

The cabinet spent more than two hours on Tuesday discussing preparations and themes for the campaign.

The Labour source said there had been "substantive discussions" on policies but not on the timing of the election, widely expected to happen in May.

The contest was "winnable" despite a Tory lead in the polls, it was added.

The cabinet meeting follows a tumultuous week for Mr Brown, in which Labour MPs were invited by former ministers Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt to to hold a secret ballot on the prime minister's performance.

'Real contest'

The plot failed to gain high-level support and it is understood that it was mentioned only in passing, with Business Secretary Lord Mandelson paying tribute to Mr Brown's resilience and strong leadership.

A presentation on polling suggested Labour was the underdog but had made progress towards narrowing the gap.

The source said it showed the election would be "a real contest".

Chancellor Alistair Darling said the economy would be central to the campaign and he would be leading an attack on the Tories' economic policies.

On Monday, Mr Brown sought to rally a meeting of Labour MPs by saying recovery from the downturn would be the platform for victory.



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