Page last updated at 19:46 GMT, Saturday, 24 April 2010 20:46 UK

Election 2010: Labour seeking to 'up tempo' of campaign

Labour bring Elvis impersonator out on campaign trail

Gordon Brown has attacked Conservative NHS plans - and been joined by an Elvis impersonator - as he sought to "up the tempo" of Labour's election campaign.

He urged voters to "look at the small print" of Tory health policy at a rally with supporters, before being joined by the Elvis singing "The Wonder of You".

Tories mocked the stunt and said people were "fed up of Labour scaremongering".

Meanwhile, four polls for Sunday papers suggest the Tories remain in the lead - although still short of a majority.

Labour were placed third in three of the surveys, while one showed a nine-point slump in Lib Dem support. However, the figures reveal little consistency in changes to voting preference.

A ComRes poll of 1,006 adults on Friday and Saturday for The Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror shows the Tories on 34% - up three points on last Sunday's poll - the Lib Dems in second place with 29% (no change) and Labour third on 28% (up one).

For the Sunday Times, a YouGov poll of 1,412 voters conducted on the same days put the Conservatives up two points on last week at 35%, the Lib Dems down one on 28% and Labour down three on 27%.

Meanwhile Ipsos-Mori - for the News of the World - put the Tories up four points on 36%, Labour up two on 30% and the Lib Dems down nine points since Monday, on 23%. They surveyed 1,245 adults on Friday.

An ICM survey for the Sunday Telegraph put the Tories on 35% (up two points on last Sunday), Lib Dems on 31% (up one) and Labour on 26% (down two).

When these individual results are fed into the BBC's election seat calculator, they all result in a hung parliament.

However, according to the editor of the BBC's political research unit, David Cowling, these polls suggest the Conservatives have narrowly nudged ahead of Labour as the largest single party in the Commons - albeit without an overall majority.

In Saturday's other campaign developments:

Meanwhile, BNP leader Nick Griffin was questioned about policies on issues including immigration, defence and justice by the BBC's Jeremy Paxman during a Newsnight special.

He defended his use of military symbolism, saying it was to draw attention to the fact that British troops are dying abroad and that they should be withdrawn from Afghanistan.

Earlier, Mr Brown had told Labour supporters in Corby, Northamptonshire, that health care was better because of the extra nurses, doctors, hospitals and equipment introduced under his party's government.

"Vote Conservative on May 6th and on May 7th they will start to remove the guarantees we have put in place for the National Health Service," he said.

Labour, meanwhile, was "ambitious" about its future plans for a national care service, the NHS, policing and schools, whilst addressing the national budget deficit.

Ordinary voters

After he left the podium, Labour introduced its latest campaign supporter - an Elvis impersonator who sang tunes including A Little Less Conversation, Suspicious Minds and, dedicated to Gordon Brown, The Wonder of You.

The rally in front of party faithful coincided with a bid by Labour to increase the intensity of its campaign.

Mr Brown was said to be planning to meet more ordinary voters rather than party supporters, following the criticisms from rank-and-file members, the BBC's Iain Watson says.

Labour have failed and all they offer is a jobless recovery from a weak government
George Osborne
Shadow chancellor

He will also take more question and answer sessions from undecided voters in various locations around country.

Mr Brown told the BBC "you always have to up the tempo" during a campaign.

However, Mr Lansley reacted angrily to Labour's attack on Conservative health policies and said Mr Brown was "cutting the NHS budget".

"Only the Conservatives are committed to increasing NHS spending every year and getting more money to the frontline," he said.

"We will ensure patients get the very best treatment, when and where they need it - and that includes all the latest cancer drugs that currently aren't available on the NHS.

"A Conservative government will not stop you seeing a cancer specialist within two weeks. In fact, because we will increase health spending and cut out waste in the NHS, we'll be able to help you get the care you need even more quickly."

'Fight for life'

Earlier, Mr Prescott told BBC Radio 4's Today programme Labour should avoid talk of deals with the Lib Dems amid speculation the election could deliver a hung parliament.

"If you keep on yakking about whether you are going to work with any other parties, don't be surprised if the public think that's the issue."

Asked if he thought Labour were on course to "storm ahead to a great victory", Mr Prescott said: "No they're not - but you've got to fight for it and put your case."

Shadow chancellor George Osborne also warned of a hung parliament, saying that only a majority Tory government would deal with public debt and improve the economy.

"Labour have failed and all they offer is a jobless recovery from a weak government," he added.

Meanwhile, in his campaign speech, David Cameron said the Tories would not allow an unelected prime minister to hold office for longer than six months.

Mr Cameron said three of the last five prime ministers, including Mr Brown, had been unelected - although Tory John Major won his own mandate 18 months after taking over the role.


He also outlined plans to select parliamentary candidates through postal primaries, create an agency to prosecute economic crime and reform corporate criminal liability laws to make companies accountable for their actions.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary David Miliband has accused Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg of peddling a form of "anti-politics".

He told the Guardian that Mr Clegg's core argument "that we have had 65 years of failure in this country" is a myth and claimed a Labour vote was the "only way to keep progressive politics governing this country".

Mr Clegg said he agreed that you could not govern on a platform of "anti-politics" - but said what the Lib Dems were proposing was to govern in a "different" way.

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