Britain's two main parties launch fightback

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, April 20, 2010
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The Conservatives and Labour, the two main parties in the British general election campaign, on Monday tried to wrest back control of the media agenda following the remarkable poll breakthrough of the Liberal Democrats that has turned the race for victory on May 6 into a three-horse race.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who came a poor third in the viewing public's eyes in the historic live TV debate between the leaders of the three main parties, attempted to refocus public attention on policy not personality.

Brown told journalists as he campaigned in the English midlands, "we have heard quite a lot about who people are, but not what they stand for. People will make their minds up on the basis of policy. "

The recovery of the economy is good news for Labour, but while Brown was ready to take the benefit of that he was also keen to warn that Conservative policies to cut government spending quickly were a risk to the "fragile economic recovery."

Conservative leader David Cameron told an audience of small business owners in south London that voters should vote for a party that could win and deliver change.

He said the issue was "who can actually deliver the change that the country wants, who can get the job done, who can make sure that change will actually happen -- and that is what the Conservatives offer.

"For decades, politicians in this country have basically been treating the British public like a bunch of mugs.

"Politicians have been saying to you: just give us a little bit more of your money, just let us pass one more law, let us just pass one more regulation, one more little order from on high, and suddenly we will solve all of the country's problems. It's a big lie. It doesn't work.

"The old top-down, big-government approach has failed," he said.

Meanwhile Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, whose performance in the TV debate has made him the most popular of the leaders of the three main parties, was playing down the media hype, in the hope of managing his party's expectations.

"I think this general election campaign is starting to come to life for the simple reason that a growing number of people are starting, it is only a start, to believe, starting to hope, that we can do something different this time."

He added that voters are starting to believe "that the old tired choices that they have been given by the old parties of the past no longer need to govern the way in which we run politics in the future."

The three leaders are set to meet again on Thursday for the second of three TV debates, which will cover foreign affairs.

Opinion polls since the first TV debate record a remarkable boost in the popularity of Clegg and of his party. Some of them have recorded an increase of 10 percent in his party's support and put all three parties equal in support on roughly a third of voters each.

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